The latest buzz out of New Orleans is that Zion Williamson’s family wants him traded from the Pelicans.
Let’s look at four ideal trade scenarios — all cleared by RealGM’s trade checker — in which the Pels could actually get a decent haul back in a Zion-centered blockbuster.
Zion Williamson to New York Knicks
Pelicans get: R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle and three first-round picks
Knicks get: Zion Williamson and Eric Bledsoe
The New York Knicks only have two trade chips to play, and they should absolutely use both of them to land Williamson should the opportunity come to pass.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has transformed New York into a defensive juggernaut, but its short-lived playoff run showed how limited the team is on offense.
Randle reuniting with Brandon Ingram in New Orleans after being teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers would be a pretty neat narrative. Plus, Barrett is a better basketball fit with the Pelicans if they decide to keep restricted free agent Lonzo Ball.
Taking on Eric Bledsoe’s unsavory contract is necessary for the salaries in this trade to work, but he’s a nice depth piece on a Thibodeau-coached squad. Williamson is the main attraction of course, and is well worth two more first-round picks, too.
Can you imagine Zion in Madison Square Garden rocking a Knicks jersey? It’s glorious.
Zion Williamson to Memphis Grizzlies
Pelicans get: Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Grizzlies get: Zion Williamson and Kira Lewis Jr.
The 2019 draft’s No. 1 pick changing teams with the second pick? That’d be absolutely bonkers, yet if the Memphis Grizzlies wanted to, they could pull it off.
Ja Morant is an excellent point guard who has all the makings of a legitimate superstar. The question is, does Memphis want the next great floor general, or a true original, one-of-one type of transcendent talent like Williamson?
Injuries are at least part of the equation when it comes to Williamson, and the same can be said at this point for Jaren Jackson Jr., who played in just 11 games this past season. Jackson has serious skill, though, and would be a fantastic fit as a more traditional stretch 4 in a hypothetical Pelicans starting five with Steven Adams, Ingram, Ball and Morant.