Currently, Zion Williamson is one of the most talked about players in the entire NBA. He has been wrapped up in some drama after being caught in a love triangle, and there is a chance that he could be joining a new team for the 2023-24 season.
The New Orleans Pelicans are in a very difficult spot with Williamson. When he is on the court, he is an All-NBA caliber player in only his third year. He has the potential to be a franchise player that could one day lead a team to a championship. Williamson is only set to turn 23 next season and has already proven himself as an unstoppable force in the paint and has Hall of Fame potential.
However, there is an enormous red flag surrounding him. That being his inability to stay on the court. Through four seasons in the NBA, he has already missed an entire season due to a foot injury. Along with this, he has only played in 34% of the Pelicans’ regular season games since drafting him. No matter how talented Williamson is, if he can not remain on the court, he will never be able to lead the Pelicans to a deep playoff run.
As a result of this, there is a strong chance that the Pelicans could move on from him during the offseason. They have already begun shopping him around, and with the potential that he has, there have been plenty of teams interested in acquiring him. However, many are split on if trading him is the right move for the Pelicans.
There is a very clear reason to trade Williamson. The Pelicans know more than any other team about his health and the effects of the injuries he has already suffered through. If New Orleans’ medical staff believes that he will continue to struggle with availability through the remainder of his career, it would be in the Pelicans’ best interest to trade him.
With them being such a small market team, they do not have the luxury of being a free agency destination. As a result of this, they can not afford to let someone with the trade value of Williamson away on their bench. If they are able to swap him for another star player to put alongside Brandon Ingram, there is a strong chance that New Orleans can still be a playoff-caliber team.
However, if they choose to keep Williamson for another season and he suffers another serious injury, few teams would likely be willing to take a chance on him. With this potentially being the last chance they have of getting back a massive haul for the former first-overall pick, now could be the time to move on from Williamson.
If Williamson is able to get through the 2023-24 season healthy, there is a chance that the Pelicans could be the top team in the Western Conference. Last season before he got hurt, the Pelicans were the top seed in their conference. However, after Williamson was sidelined for the season, they would collapse to being a play-in team.
It is clear that he is capable of leading New Orleans to being one of the league’s top teams, and to individually being one of the best players in the league. Last season, he averaged 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game while shooting an extremely efficient 60.8% from the field and 36.8% from three.
If he managed to shake the injury bug once traded from the Pelicans, this could end up being one of the worst trades in recent history.
As risky of a move as it may be, the best move for the Pelicans would be to move on from Williamson and live with the results. If they do not trade him and he gets seriously injured again, they will have to give him up for pennies on the dollar, or he will walk in free agency.
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