Which 2017 Free Agents Should the Pelicans Keep an Eye On?

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Nov 22, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) tries to block the shot of Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Priority #2: Gordon Hayward

Hayward is an rising NBA star who would be a perfect fit next to Anthony Davis.

At 6’8″ and about 230 lbs, Gordon could hold down the three and four spots and provide the Pelicans with versatility and consistent scoring.

Gordon averaged 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists last season on 43% from the floor, 34% from deep, and 82% from the line. He can shoot, dribble, pass, run the pick and roll, rebound, and slash to the rim like very few players his size.

Hayward has been stuck on a respectable Utah Jazz team the past few years, but he hasn’t gotten to play with any star power. Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert are nice, but the chance to team with Anthony Davis would be far more intriguing.

Hayward is also a perfect fit next to Jrue Holiday. When Jrue is handling the ball, Gordon could space the floor and allow Jrue to set him up for easy baskets. Meanwhile, Gordon is such a good play maker himself that Jrue could sit back and share the playmaking duties with him while spacing the floor just as well.

How do the numbers work out?

Gordon is going to receive a full 30 million per year max contract this summer, meaning the Pelicans will need to clear significant space if they want to keep him, Jrue, and AD.

Jrue will get 20+ million this summer, but his cap hold is just 16. Him, AD, and Hayward alone are going to take 70 million to retain. After that, the Pelicans can keep Buddy (3), Moore (8), Frazier (2), Ajinca (5), but will have to make a choice between keeping Hill (11) or the combination of Quincy (3), Dante (3), and Galloway (5). They probably choose the 2nd option since depth will be a greater need.

Jrue-Buddy-Hayward-AD-Ajinca with Frazier/Galloway-Moore-Quincy-Dante off the bench presents the Pelicans with a clear “big three” and a great supporting cast to back them up.

Next: Free Agent #3: The Perfect Frontcourt