Report: Devonte’ Graham Is Headed To New Orleans For 4 Years, $47 Million In A Sign-And-Trade

Report: Devonte’ Graham Is Headed To New Orleans For 4 Years, $47 Million In A Sign-And-Trade

Two years ago, Devonte’ Graham was one of the league’s young breakout stars, averaging 18.2 points and 7.5 assists per game for the Charlotte Hornets, but after drafting LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier’s continued emergence in Charlotte, Graham’s place with the Hornets became a question mark.

The Hornets extended the qualifying offer to Graham on Sunday, as expected, but it was reported that a hefty offer sheet for Graham (coming off averaging 14.8 points and 5.4 assists in 2020-21) might be enough to make Charlotte balk at bringing him back. Graham is a terrific three-point shooter (north of 37 percent the last two seasons) and a quality distributor, but his finishing inside the arc leaves plenty to be desired (he shot 38 percent on twos last season). Any team signing him will have to be bullish on his ability to continue improving as an all-levels scorer, but just three seasons into his career, there’s plenty of time for him to build on his skillset.

The team that will take a swing on Graham’s potential is the New Orleans Pelicans, who saw Lonzo Ball go to Chicago in a sign-and-trade and were unable to get into the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes. As such, they turned their attention to Charlotte’s RFA point guard, and inked him to a 4-year, $47 million deal that seems like solid value. In return, they will send a 2022 lottery protected first round pick to Charlotte, who recoups an asset as they let their guard walk to greener pastures.

To give up a first round pick is a bit surprising for the Pelicans, but they have plenty after the Jrue Holiday trade and if the expectation is to make a leap into playoff contention, then making it lottery protected at least saves you from losing the pick if they were to fall short of that goal.

Graham gives them some serious shooting on the perimeter, but as mentioned he is not a downhill creator. That issue is mitigated by having Zion Williamson, who can handle the downhill attacking better than most anyone in the league, and spacing the floor further around him is paramount to his continued development and improvement.