Joel Embiid Should be Considered an MVP Candidate
It is only January and a lot of people are talking about either James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the MVP, but what about Joel Embiid?
The NBA's trade deadline (Feb. 7) is fast approaching and playoff contenders, such as the New Orleans Pelicans, are looking to add talent for a potential postseason run before it's too late. The Pelicans are willing to fork over a first-round pick in a trade and have shown interest in Orlando Magic guard/forward Terrence Ross, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News.
Ross is averaging a career-high 13.3 points and 2.2 three-pointers per contest for the rebuilding Magic (17-24). The sharpshooting swingman has posted a 52.7 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and is the only player who consistently scores off Orlando's underwhelming bench.
Deveney notes that the Magic would prefer to move Jonathon Simmons, who plays the same position as Ross and is under contract for $5.7 million ($1 million guaranteed) next season. Simmons, who is averaging just seven points in 20.7 minutes per game with a dreadful 21.7 percent shooting from three-point territory, has not lived up to expectations since signing with Orlando in 2017. Teams are reportedly much more eager to trade for Ross, the better player.
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference with a mediocre 20-22 record. They have won their past three games, though, and still feel they can reach the playoffs for the second straight season. They trail the eight-place Los Angeles Lakers by 2.5 games.
It's imperative for the Pelicans to show their commitment to winning to superstar big man Anthony Davis, the subject of ceaseless trade rumors. Davis can opt out of his current deal in the summer of 2020.
Ross would add scoring to a Pelicans' bench that needs all the help it can get. Orlando will surely seek an unprotected first-round pick from New Orleans. That is the only way a deal would be truly worth it for the Magic.
In order to make the deal possible, the Pelicans may have to part ways with forward Solomon Hill, who is signed through the 2019-20 season and makes roughly $12.5 million annually. Ross has an expiring contract worth $10.5 million. The salaries are close enough for the deal to be financially acceptable by the league's trading standards.