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Zion Williamson expected to be traded by the draft

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Bill Simmons dropped a surprising report, as people around the league expect the New Orleans Pelicans to move Zion Williamson by Thursday (day of the NBA Draft).

Williamson is one of the most dominant players in the league when he is on the floor. This season, he averaged 26 points, seven rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 steals. He shot 60.8 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three.

The problem with Williamson is his availability. He only played 29 games this season and has missed a significant chunk of games throughout his career.

Despite his injury history, the former number-one overall pick is still a great player and a team could take a chance on him.

With that said, here are some teams that could be in the mix for Williamson.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers are at a big decision point for their franchise. Portland could trade Damian Lillard or commit to building a competitive roster around him. Shams Charania reported that Lillard wants to say with Portland, which means they could make a big move ahead of the draft.

The Blazers own the 3rd overall pick in the draft, and the Pelicans are interested in moving up to draft Scoot Henderson.

It was also reported that the Blazers would prefer Williamson over Brandon Ingram in a potential trade with the Pelicans. They value Williamson, who would be great in the pick-and-roll with Lillard and on dribble handoffs.

Lillard can shoot the lights out, and with Williamson's ability to attack the rim, they would be a formidable duo. It would all come down to the health of Williamson.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder are another team that could take a chance on Williamson. Oklahoma City is in a great position as they are a young team on the rise, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander had a phenomenal season, making All-NBA First-Team.

Gilgeous-Alexander is a great building block as their lead guard. They have other young guys on the rise and a plethora of draft picks over the next few seasons.

If the Thunder feel like Williamson is a star to pair with Gilgeous-Alexander, they have the draft capital to make an offer.

Oklahoma City is a sneaky team to look out forward, as Williamson could be traded in the next few days.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets could be in the mix for Williamson, but it's not as likely. It was reported that Charlotte, who holds the 2nd overall pick, would prefer Brandon Ingram over Williamson in a potential trade.

New Orleans may contact the Hornets and try to persuade them, as they want to move up the board for Henderson.

LaMelo Ball, a great all-around guard, leads the Hornets. However, Charlotte has been unable to build a competitive team around him. Ball could use another star, and Williamson would be a great pick-and-roll partner.

If the Hornets decide to trade the 2nd overall pick, they would be a team to look out for in the Williamson sweepstakes.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets are another team that has the ammo to acquire Williamson. It was reported earlier this offseason that Houston wants to make a win-now move and speed up the rebuild.

The Rockets have multiple young players like Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr that New Orleans may be interested in. They also hold the 4th overall pick in the draft.

While Houston isn't the favorite to land Williamson, don't count them out.

New York Knicks

The Knicks have long been linked to Williamson. Coming out of the draft in 2019, Knicks fans were desperately hoping to win the lottery to land Williamson.

Some fans went as far as to make Williamson Knicks' jerseys. New York is a big market, which means Williamson could also be interested in landing there.

The Knicks have multiple first-round picks that they could offer. They may trade two-time All-Star Julius Randle, as he is in trade rumors after his inconsistent play in the playoffs.

New York is often linked to stars, and Williamson could be an option for them this offseason.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are another team, like the Trail Blazers, in a spot where they need to decide the next step for their franchise.

Do they keep trying to build a better roster in hopes of dethroning the favorites in the Eastern Conference? Or do they hit the reset button and retool with young pieces to build up a great team for a few years down the line?

Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are two stars that could be moved this offseason. LaVine would likely be preferred in a Williamson trade, as he is far younger.

LaVine would also be a good scoring shooting guard next to Ingram at small forward for New Orleans. Williamson would get a fresh start in Chicago and could be the star they build around. They could retool the roster instead of running back the same roster that hasn't gone far.

If New Orleans is looking for an All-Star caliber player instead of a draft pick in return for Williamson, Chicago has LaVine to offer.

A Williamson trade could go down this week, right after yesterday's blockbuster trade where the Phoenix Suns acquired Bradley Beal. It will be an offseason full of excitement, and it will be interesting to see if Williamson is moved before the NBA Draft on Thursday.


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