The New Orleans Pelicans have struggled this season, and one reason for that struggle has been the absence of their star forward, Zion Williamson. Williamson has been recovering from a broken foot.
Is this lack of progress just the beginning of a slow exit out of New Orleans? Does he even want to be there anymore? What do they have to offer him anymore? Is this just a ploy to move on? It is something to consider.
I recently heard from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that; “He [Zion] was working extremely hard to get back to helping the Pelicans win games.” It is also said that he is still weeks away from a return. But even then, he would need full practices under his belt to even get some kind of chemistry or to mesh with teammates before he can play in live games. Zion has been unable to participate in practice yet this season.
Zion is already in his 3rd season and has only played in 85 games with the ball club. But within just those 85 games, he has averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists a game in just a short amount of games played. So the future does look very bright for the young and up-and-coming possible Mega Star.
The Pelicans have the 2nd-worst record in the NBA right now. At 2-12, with that type of record, the hope for any turnaround in their season may already be lost. You have to start asking yourself, or maybe he is even asking himself, “What’s the point of returning to a team that won’t even be competing for a playoff spot?” Do you even want to risk him re-injuring himself? Either way, it has league personnel, once again, giving them something to speculate as the 2022 extension talks between Zion and the Pelicans start to heat up. Until an extension sets in stone, rival front offices will have their hands full, trying to prepare for a possible Free Agency Frenzy in 2024. Even with that said, the Pelicans owe it to themselves to attempt a similar sign and trade scenario as they did with Anthony Davis a few years back. Either way, they are going to have to start planning on something because the time is running out — if they want to keep what might be the future of the NBA on their team.
We all know that Zion will be something special, but will the Pelicans do what is necessary to keep him? Only time will tell.
By Aviel Greenwald
NSPN NBA Beat writer