Report: Blazers talking Zion Williamson trade

Trade chatter before Thursday's NBA draft connects Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (left) with New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson is among multiple trade targets the Portland Trail Blazers discussed in pre-draft meetings this week with NBA free agency right around the corner.

Portland owns the third overall pick in the draft on Thursday and interest in the selection has been “high as expected,” ESPN reported.

According to reports, the internal discussions involving trade offers and potential targets included Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He turns 24 in July, but he finished last season watching from the sideline while dealing with a hamstring injury that originated in January. He played in only 29 games in 2022-23 and has just 114 games played in his career.

When Williamson is on the floor, he routinely dominates, averaging 25.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game with a few highlight-reel dunks thrown in for good measure.

Various outlets rate the likelihood of Williamson being available with degrees of confidence.

ESPN reported Brandon Ingram, but not Williamson, could be dealt. But The Ringer and ESPN said the Blazers could attract the Pelicans’ interest if point guard Scoot Henderson, who played in the G League last season, is on the board at No. 3 on Thursday. That would likely mean the top two picks were Victor Wembanyama — a shoo-in to the Spurs at No. 1 — and Brandon Miller of Alabama at No. 2. The Charlotte Hornets could pick Henderson second, but they already have LaMelo Ball at the position.

The Miami Heat, who were in the running for Bradley Beal, have been connected to trade rumors involving the Blazers and All-Star point guard Damian Lillard.

Lillard indicated he plans to stay with the Blazers, a declaration that could inspire the team to pursue another high-level co-star such as Williamson.

Lillard is scheduled to earn $45.6 million for the 2023-24 season. Williamson will be in the first year of his rookie supermax extension that pays him $33.5 million.

–Field Level Media

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