Zion Williamson has proven to be something of an enigma throughout his short NBA career.
When he is active and playing, Williamson is one of the most impressive and influential young players in the league. Last year, before getting hurt, he averaged 26 points, 7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
Unfortunately, he just doesn’t end up playing very much.
Since being taken with the first overall pick in 2019, Williamson has played in more than 30 games just once in four seasons.
Last year the New Orleans Pelicans signed Williamson to a five-year, $194.3 million contract extension with a clear mandate: get in shape, get healthy and start living up to the lofty expectations that were set for you.
Unfortunately, between his nonstop health woes and recent female drama, it seems like New Orleans is growing tired of all of the baggage that accompanies Williamson.
This week, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst revealed that the Pelicans have explored the prospect of moving on from their one-time assumed franchise player.
“The Pelicans have had some cursory discussions,” he said.
That aligns with a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Tuesday that New Orleans is very interested in moving up to select Scoot Henderson in this year’s NBA Draft.
— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) June 13, 2023
If the Pelicans do opt to move Williamson, according to NBA insider Rafael Barlowe, the Houston Rockets are a team to watch.
“In my conversations, the name Zion Williamson has come up as a potential trade target for Houston,” he wrote.
“The Rockets hold the No. 4 pick in the draft, are already one of the youngest teams in the league and are potentially interested in moving the pick for a win-now player (or players).”
The problem here is that Henderson will not be around by the fourth pick. He will likely go somewhere in the top-three, with Amen Thompson remaining as the top prospect available by the time it’s time to select with the fourth overall pick.
But obviously there are some workarounds.
If the Rockets were to give up the No. 4 pick, some combination of a future first-rounder and a young star like Jalen Green or Alperen Sengun, all of that could be roped into a larger deal with either the Charlotte Hornets or Portland Trail Blazers.
Houston is one of the few teams in the league with enough salary cap available to accept Williamson’s contract. And given James Harden’s waffling on whether he wants to return to the Rockets or remain with the Philadelphia 76ers, this could prove to be a pretty solid Plan B.
The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/LI01w5yRhI
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 14, 2023
The only question is whether they will be able to find a deal that is beneficial to them.
Williamson’s stock is at an all-time low right now, and it may not be the best time to sell.
Will the Rockets be able to make something happen for Williamson? Will another squad jump into the fray? One way or another, this promises to be an interesting summer for all parties involved.