There are rumors swirling about Zion Williamson in New Orleans right now, and they are less than pleasant.
This was posted on tiger droppings anonymously by someone and let's just say I can't refute any of it pic.twitter.com/NfwMrpzjJ8
— Shamit Dua (@FearTheBrown) September 22, 2021
Now, let’s make something clear first: Tiger Droppings is a message board, and you can usually take whatever is said on there with a grain of salt. However, the original poster is pretty plugged in with the Pelicans, and this isn’t the first report we’ve heard of Zion being unhappy in New Orleans. I’m a pretty big fan of the Hawks as currently constructed, but you can’t deny that Zion Williamson is one of the supreme talents in the NBA, even at 20 years old. I don’t care how much he weighs, the guy can play ball.
Fun fact: Zion Williamson had a higher PER in his rookie season than LeBron and Shaq! pic.twitter.com/fprpP3Z8eA
— Pelicans Nation (@PelsNationCP) September 22, 2021
And of course, who could forget about this?
Zion appears to be fond of the Hawkspic.twitter.com/onK8768Tka
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 14, 2019
So, what would it take for the Hawks to get Zion? Let’s be honest — almost everything. It cost a lot to get Anthony Davis, and he wasn’t 20 years old. The Pelicans can say they aren’t trading Zion as much as they want, but if he wants out, this is the NBA. He will get his way. So what should the Hawks offer?
Two of These Three Young Franchise Pieces
G/F Cam Reddish
F/C Onyeka Okongwu
This is pretty obvious, any of these three guys are a logical starting point for Zion. It would potentially even require all three, which is where I would balk if I was the Hawks. Atlanta would create a serious need for wing presence by moving Hunter AND Reddish, and Okongwu. Zion, Danilo Gallinari, Jalen Johnson, and John Collins is a bit of a logjam. That sort of makes these teams awkward trade partners, but one of the wings paired with Okongwu is a solid start.
A Couple Building Blocks
F Jalen Johnson
F John Collins
It would suck to part with Jalen Johnson, but I could see him being a piece the Pelicans would be very interested in — especially after his Summer League performance. Kevin Huerter could make sense for them as well, but I think the Hawks want to keep him around. Atlanta just re-upped with John Collins, but he would really move the needle in a Zion trade. Regardless, I could see two of these guys being needed to make something work along with two of the players mentioned above.
Any of them
I love how well Travis Schlenk has drafted. He has yet to make any big blunders and selected two of the biggest steals of the 2021 draft. However, when Zion is on the table, the more draft picks and less players you can part with, the better.
I’m convinced the Hawks can win a title as they’re currently constructed, but the potential opportunity to add a 20-year-old that’s already one of the best players in the league doesn’t happen every day. The Hawks have the depth and young assets to make it happen. If the Pelicans ever seriously consider moving Zion, you can bet Travis Schlenk will make a very enticing offer.