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Speculation that Zion Williamson gets traded before 2023 NBA Draft is intensifying

There are many around the NBA that believe Zion Williamson actually getting traded by the New Orleans Pelicans is as possible as ever, and it could come in the next week.

Zion Williamson’s tenure with the New Orleans Pelicans has been extremely frustrating for the organization. After taking him with the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the former Duke star has played over 60 games just once. He has missed an entire season (2021-2022) and only managed to play in 29 games this season due to a lingering hamstring injury.

Related: NBA power rankings for all 30 teams heading into the summer

Yet, what makes the situation so disappointing is the 22-year-old’s talent is absolutely undeniable. When he is on the floor, he is an elite talent that can make a major impact on every game he’s in. That is why he is a two-time All-Star despite playing in barely over 100 games during his four-year career.

However, the relationship between Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans has been strained in that time as he has squabbled with training staff and the front office on how to best handle his various injuries. It is why he could now be on the trade block after a couple of years of speculation.

Zion Williamson stats (’22-’23): 29 games, 26.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.1 SPG

zion williamson
Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, it was reported that the New Orleans Pelicans are “aggressively” trying to move up in the 2023 NBA Draft with the belief being they want to land G-League star Scoot Henderson. However, moving up into the top three to get him would require a strong return. Meaning the Pelicans might need to part with a boatload of draft assets or one of their young stars. Some around the league believe Williamson could be a piece in a blockbuster deal.

On Tuesday, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst reported on what he is hearing about Zion Williamson and the Pelicans’ attempts to get Henderson.

“It makes you really not take too far of a leap to wonder, and the league is certainly wondering if the Pelicans are going to make for the first time truly, Zion Williamson available ahead of next week’s draft to get up to that level in the top five. … I think it’s fair to say based on my conversations there’s an eye being kept towards whether the Pelicans would make Zion Williamson available trying to get into that top end of the draft.”

– Brian Windhorst

Considering the recent drama, the injury history, and the organizational desire, Williamson being moved in the next week looks like a very strong possibility.

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