NBA Trade Rumors: Should the Pelicans trade Zion Williamson?

NBA Zion Williamson (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Zion Williamson (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

NBA Trade Rumors: Should the New Orleans Pelicans trade Zion Williamson this offseason? 

Considering everything that the New Orleans Pelicans have had to overcome this season, it’s tough to say that this season has been a disappointment for the franchise.

After confusing inactivity during the offseason after missing out on the big-name guard free agents, the Pelicans corrected a huge mistake by acquiring C.J. McCollum at the NBA Trade Deadline.

The trade has paid dividends as the Pelicans have continued to climb (albeit slowly) up the standings in the Western Conference. Currently, the Pelicans are in 10th place in the West but are just a half-game back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the 9th seed.

Either way, it will be an uphill battle to qualify for the postseason for the Pelicans. However, the turnaround that this team has made since their 3-16 start to the season is admirable.

Heading into the offseason, though, the big question regarding the Pelicans will revolve around Zion Williamson. He has yet to play this season and is well on his way to missing his full third season in the league.

On the surface, that’s not ideal. Overall, Zion has missed significant time in two of his first three seasons and that leaves the Pelicans will a big question during the offseason: Will the team commit to Zion long-term?

Zion is eligible for a huge extension this offseason (5-years, $181 million) and if he refuses to sign or if the Pelicans don’t offer the extension to him, he could test free agency after next season.

All in all, it’s a big decision for not only the Pelicans but also for Zion.

It’s unlikely that Zion would decline that type of money, especially considering the injury issues that’s he’s battled through the first three years of his career. However, nothing is ever certain in the NBA.

Add in the whispers that Zion could be plotting his exit, and I don’t think we can cross anything off as a possibility in this situation. But in today’s player-empowerment movement in the NBA, players always seem to be able to find themselves out of the situation regardless of contract status.

Meaning, could there be a situation where the Pelicans extend Zion and then a trade happens? Absolutely. As unlikely as it may seem.

But I can’t help but think how rash of a move trading Zion would be from the Pelicans’ point of view. Even more so after acquiring McCollum at the trade deadline.

At the very least, the Pelicans need to find out what they have in this potential big three. The last thing the Pelicans need is to is blow up their current core without finding out what types of possibilities it actually has.

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There’s a lot of balancing that needs to take place over the next couple of months from the Pelicans. Securing Zion’s future with the team seems like it needs to be the biggest priority heading into the offseason.