Zion Williamson isn’t enough to keep Anthony Davis in New Orleans.
Soon after New Orleans landed the No. 1 overall pick (Williamson), Shams Charania reported Davis is standing by his February trade request. The addition of one Zion Williamson won’t make Davis’ relationship with the Pelicans any better.
And it shouldn’t. The Pelicans had Davis for seven years and couldn’t put together a winning formula around him. What would Zion Williamson do for Davis and the Pelicans? Williamson is Julius Randle without gravity. Left-handed and all. Williamson is obviously good at basketball, but how much better is a Davis/Williamson duo than a Davis/Randle duo? And why should Davis trust the Pelicans to make it work? Again, New Orleans had seven years with one of the NBA’s best players and couldn’t find a way to win. Landing Williamson is big for fan excitement in New Orleans; for Davis, it should change nothing. He needs a big market and a fresh start, far away from that franchise.
New York, Los Angeles and Boston will all make a run at Davis. The Lakers lack the pieces to put together an attractive offer, so New York and Boston have the early edge. The Knicks will now try to use the third pick in a deal with New Orleans, which might actually work if Williamson has a say in things. His old Duke teammate and best friend, RJ Barrett, is expected to go third, and a trade would pair the two of them together with the Pelicans. It would take several other players from New York in the mix to complete a deal, including Kevin Knox, but it isn’t a crazy idea. Boston probably has the most to offer, but it has its own superstar to deal with first.
This is all uninformed speculation at this point with plenty of time ahead for it all to play out this summer. For right now, we know via Tuesday night’s lottery that Zion Williamson is going to New Orleans to replace Anthony Davis as the face of the Pelicans. In the months ahead we’ll see how the drawing of the Pelicans envelope will affect the futures of Davis, Julius Randle, Darius Miller and Kevin Knox. Randle is a free agent, so he will be on the move unless New Orleans wants two of him. Knox will be thrown into the Knicks’ attempt to get Davis out of New Orleans. And Darius Miller is an unrestricted free agent who is well liked in New Orleans, but that entire roster may get turned upside down before training camp.
One more post-lottery thought… How mad is the NBA right now? Zion Williamson to the Pelicans and Ja Morant to the Grizzlies? That’s a worst case scenario for the league.