Duke basketball: Juicy trade rumor involving NBA Blue Devil

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Cam Reddish may end up playing alongside a former Duke basketball teammate.

As the NBA trade deadline (March 25 at 3 p.m. ET) is now less than 48 hours away, the chatter across the league is now hot enough to grill a hamburger.

And one of the names reportedly popping up in talks between teams just so happens to be the most recent lottery pick courtesy of the Duke basketball program.

The name is Cam Reddish.

A 6-foot-8, 220-pound small forward, Reddish went No. 10 overall to the Atlanta Hawks at the 2019 NBA Draft.

That was seven spots behind former Duke basketball star RJ Barrett to the New York Knicks and nine picks back of the third one-and-done Blue Devil from the 2018-19 squad in top overall selection Zion Williamson to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Speaking of Williamson — not to mention fellow Bayou Blue Devils Brandon Ingram and JJ Redick — NBA insider Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer suggested this week that Reddish could wind up reuniting with the 2021 All-Star power forward who has scored 20-plus points while shooting better than 50 percent from the field in 20 straight games.

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Noting one potential exchange between New Orleans (18-24) and Atlanta (22-21), O’Connor spelled out some of what he has been hearing in regards to an upcoming free agent who may prove too expensive to keep in Louisiana:

"“There’s skepticism around the league that the Pelicans will move Lonzo Ball ahead of the deadline, but that won’t stop teams from trying. League sources say the Bulls and Hawks are both in pursuit…New Orleans is asking for at least one good first-round pick or a young player. Talks with Atlanta have revolved around Cam Reddish.”"

How a deal could benefit the franchise centered on Duke basketball products

Kevin O’Connor continued by exploring why the swap might have to make sense for the New Orleans Pelicans given their clear long-term investment plans when it comes to their two youthful Duke basketball alums in 20-year-old Zion Williamson plus 23-year-old and 2020 NBA All-Star small forward Brandon Ingram:

"“The fact that the Pelicans are even exploring trades involving Ball, who’s only 23 years old, speaks to the odd position the franchise is in. On paper, it makes sense to keep Ball’s adaptable skill set. But it’s hard to rationalize locking him into a large contract alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram when this core is losing so many games.”"

Lonzo Ball, a 6-foot-6 point guard out of UCLA who came off the board No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers at the 2017 NBA Draft, is averaging 14.2 points, 5.6 assists, and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 42.5 percent from the field, including a career-high 38.5 percent beyond the arc, in his second season with the Pelicans.

Meanwhile, Cam Reddish, who hasn’t been on the court since late February due to right Achilles soreness, is averaging 11.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in his sophomore campaign while hitting 36.5 percent of his attempts from the field, including a putrid 26.2 percent from downtown. To be fair, though, the 21-year-old is a strong defender for his age, averaging 1.3 steals.

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In other words, and with no offense to the potential-laden Dukie, it would seem as though the Atlanta Hawks might need to throw in either another promising player or future draft pick to the New Orleans Pelicans if they are to have any chance at making the Ball-Reddish deal a reality in the next two days.