If the New Orleans Pelicans trade NBA star Zion Williamson, rest assured it’s because they were forced to do so. While the young phenom has battled injury throughout his career, he’s flashed far too much promise for the organization to cut ties with him willingly.
If Williamson forces a trade, it sets quite the precedent. We have not yet seen a superstar orchestrate his exit during his rookie contract. Still, in this era of (star) player empowerment, the possibility cannot be ruled out.
In that event, the Pelicans can expect quite a haul. Over the 61 games in which Williamson suited up in 2020-21, he averaged 27.0 points on 64.9% shooting from the field.
That blend of volume and efficiency is almost unheard of. A healthy Zion Williamson has the potential to be one of the best offensive players in the NBA.
That’s the type of player teams will throw the kitchen sink at. The Pelicans don’t want to find themselves in a situation where they’re parting with Zion. Any team would rather continue to gamble on his health, eventually rounding into form.
If he does force their hand, here are three blockbuster trades for Zion Williamson, we’d love to see this offseason.
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: F Obi Toppin, G Alec Burks, 2022 First-Round Pick (NYK), 2023 First-Round Pick (NYK – Swap), 2024 First-Round Pick (NYK), 2025 First-Round Pick (NYK – Swap), 2026 First-Round Pick (NYK)
New York Knicks Receive: F Zion Williamson
We call this the Harden model.