The New Orleans Pelicans are 18-32 and sit 12th in the Western Conference.
For all intents and purposes, their 2021-22 NBA season is over. All focus now is on building for the future.
Although he has been out for the entirety of this year, Zion Williamson remains the Pelicans’ franchise centerpiece.
As such, the front office is very serious about pairing him with talent that will accentuate his strengths and hide his weaknesses.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, New Orleans has its eye on one potential star that could work well with Williamson.
“As Jake Fischer recently wrote, the emergence of Anfernee Simons could lead the Portland Trail Blazers to trade veteran CJ McCollum,” he wrote.
“He also noted the New Orleans Pelicans are ‘the destination most often linked to McCollum.’ According to sources close to the Pelicans, the team is heading into the deadline as a buyer focusing on the 2022-23 campaign.
“Zion Williamson, who has yet to play this year with a foot injury, is eligible for an extension this offseason. The team apparently views McCollum as the potentially ideal veteran scorer and leader to play alongside Brandon Ingram and Williamson.”
Just two weeks ago, the Pelicans released a somewhat disconcerting update regarding Williamson’s health. Many wondered whether this would finally be the straw that broke the camel’s back and spur New Orleans to start a exploring a post-Zion future.
By now, everyone has seen the photos and knows the weight concerns that surround Williamson. At times he looks fat as ever; then on other occasions he looks comparatively thinner. No matter which ones you buy, the trouble remains the same: he is constantly hurt and it’s most likely due in no small part to his body mass. And no matter what the team tries to do to make him skinnier, it never seems to work.
The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/vORaHcKHGk
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 30, 2022
Will acquiring McCollum somehow fix that core issue? It’s hard to see how it possibly could.
Obviously the Pelicans are very worried that Williamson will eventually leave them to join the New York Knicks. But at this juncture, planning for that scenario wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you’re the front office.