METAIRIE, La. — The Pelicans sent No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel and New Orleans’ 2014 first-round pick to Philadelphia Thursday night in return for guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick of this year’s draft, an NBA source confirmed.
The ’14 first-round pick sent to the 76ers is protected; should New Orleans earn a top five pick next season, it would stay with the Pelicans.
Holiday was an All-Star this past season after averaging 17.7 points and eight assists in his fourth season in the NBA out of UCLA.
For much of the first round, chaos reigned after multiple trades were reported but weren't confirmed by teams or the NBA. The moves overtook social media, sending fans and media alike into mass confusion.
It started when Cleveland surprised many by taking UNLV’s Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 overall.
The chaos continued moments later when New Orleans selected Noel at No. 6. But as general manager Dell Demps answered two questions about Noel, NBA reporters tweeted that he had been shipped to Philadelphia.
Trades, however, can't be confirmed until the NBA approves them, a laborious process in today's fast-paced living, and the Pelicans remained quiet.
Regardless of where he ends up, Noel will forever be known as the first player taken after New Orleans changed its mascot to the Pelicans from the Hornets.
However the night shakes out, New Orleans needs players.
Including last year’s draft, the Pelicans have only three players they’ve selected on their roster since 2003. All three – Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Darius Miller – were taken in the 2012 NBA draft.
The Pelicans franchise had never picked No. 6 before, selecting No. 5 twice and No. 8 once. In all, including its time in Charlotte, New Orleans has had 13 all-time lottery picks.
But while they haven’t had luck picking late in the lottery, the Pelicans have hit on their previous top half picks. Included in that group are Larry Johnson, Anthony Davis, Alonzo Mourning, Baron Davis and Chris Paul.
Thursday marked the third time in the past four years New Orleans has had a position in the draft lottery.