The Toronto Raptors need to go all-in for Pelicans defensive stud Herb Jones

If New Orleans is open to trading Herb Jones, Toronto must do whatever it takes to entice a deal.
Brooklyn Nets v New Orleans Pelicans
Brooklyn Nets v New Orleans Pelicans / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

There have been rumblings of the New Orleans Pelicans exploring possible trades for Herb Jones, as it could soon become costly to pay him, Trey Murphy (who also awaits a long-term extension), and their main duo of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. If these reports are indeed true, then the Raptors need to do whatever it takes to outbid other teams around the league for his services.

A win-now trade after selling Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby? Well, the Raptors might not make all four selections they currently have in the 2024 class, and the free agent pool isn't very deep this offseason. Jones would help them improve quickly.

Jones possesses many defensive intangibles that any team across the league would be more than happy to add to their roster. Given Toronto’s loss on the defensive end after trading away OG Anunoby, Jones could serve as the ideal OG replacement for their young core of the future.

Pelicans' Herb Jones would fit perfectly in the Toronto Raptors system

Jones is averaging an efficient 10.7 points on the season, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, to go with a block and a steal per game. 

Add in the fact Jones is on a team-friendly deal worth $54 million over four years, and the situation is near perfect for the Raptors to make a push for such an impactful player given their newly acquired surplus of assets. Toronto has likely the 31st pick (by way of Detroit) in this year’s draft via the OG Anunoby trade and their three first-round picks from the Pascal Siakam deal. 

To match salaries, Toronto could offer Thaddeus Young’s expiring $8 million contract and a mix of two or three draft picks for Herb Jones. If the Pelicans need more impactful players to help them for a playoff push this season, then Toronto could offer one of Bruce Brown, Chris Boucher, or Gary Trent Jr, all of whom are rumored to be available for trade, to go with a pick or two.

There is still room for an equitable deal to be reached as Toronto looks to rebuild with a top-notch defensive player. Size on the perimeter is essential in today's game, and Jones provides that.

Whether or not Jones is actually on the Pelicans’ trade block remains to be seen, but Toronto has the right pieces to make a fair deal. A player of Jones’ archetype and skill level does not come by often.

While he’s not going to be an offensive force by any means, what Jones brings on the defensive end could be the missing puzzle piece for a Raptors squad that has struggled mightily as the 18th-ranked defense this season.