Much of the chatter in recent days has centered around the Houston Rockets potentially landing Zion Williamson in a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The talks remained in the exploratory stages, but it was clear that the Rockets registered some level of interest in the 2019 top pick.
It had been reported that the Rockets had a potential deal on the table that would’ve landed them Williamson and the 14th pick in next week’s draft in exchange for Williamson, giving more credibility to the reports. And speaking of credibility, this report didn’t just come from some run-of-the-mill “source.” Yahoo Sports put out the report, and we know how credible they’ve been over the years and the reporters they have on their payroll.
Based on the latest report on that front, any deal involving Williamson and the Rockets is seemingly dead, at least based on ESPN’s Jonathan Givony’s latest comments on the Lowe Post.
“I’ve been told New Orleans is not trading Zion. They were the number one team in the West last year when Zion went down with the injury. If he’s healthy, which he rarely is, but when he’s healthy, he is easily one of the best players in the NBA. So I don’t see it happening. I think New Orleans has made some calls, just to see what it would take to get to one, get to two, but I don’t think it went past that.”
For starters, we have to consider the possibility that the Pelicans might be doing a little bit of conjuring, which is par for the course whenever trade talks are taking place. The Pelicans certainly have to create the belief that they don’t want to get rid of their prized asset, because it benefits them if a team believes such reports and offers the farm.
Did the Pelicans kill all hope of the Houston Rockets acquiring Zion Williamson?
Regardless of whether they actually want to admit it, they’re bound to be frustrated with Williamson’s inability to stay healthy, as he’s missed more games than he’s played in. And they’ve legitimately shown the ability to contend in the Western Conference without him.
What probably happened is the Pels reached out to the Charlotte Hornets with interest in acquiring the second overall pick, offering Williamson, which would’ve certainly been tempting for Hornets’ decision-makers, as pairing Williamson with LaMelo Ball would be a sight to see (so long as Williamson is on the floor). The Hornets probably have trepidation with paying $194 million over the next five years to someone who’s work ethic has been in question.
The Rockets caught wind of the fact that the Pelicans were dangling Williamson to move up and get the second pick from Charlotte and reached out to New Orleans to try and figure out what it would take to get Williamson in Houston. But although the Rockets view Amen Thompson as an equal to Scoot Henderson, the Pelicans probably share a much different view on the prospect (understandably so).
And outside of the fourth pick, the Rockets don’t have much to offer that would intrigue the Pels (at least that the Rockets would want to part with for the oft-injured Williamson). So that could be that on the Williamson front.
If nothing else, the franchise has shown to their fans that they’re willing to swing for the fences in attempts to acquire elite-level talent that would propel them into phase two of the rebuild.