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NBA insiders claim Zion Williamson trade will be ‘difficult’ due to severely diminished value

While the speculation of a Zion Williamson trade soon has grown loud in recent days, it seems moving the young star could prove very difficult for the New Orleans Pelicans.

The saga of Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans is back in the NBA headlines this week. After a few years of rumors that the organization might consider trading the two-time All-Star, that possibility now seems to be as real as it’s ever been.

Related: 4 ideal Zion Williamson trade scenarios, including a move to Trail Blazers

The cause for renewed talk of a Zion Williamson trade is after reports came out earlier this week that the Pelicans are hot for 2023 NBA Draft prospect Scoot Henderson and are working the phones in an attempt to trade up to a top three spot in next week’s event.

If New Orleans wants to acquire such a high-value selection, they will need to give up some key assets, and that could include Williamson. However, despite his immense talent, there are many around the league who are not high on adding him due to his long history of injuries and some questions about his character.

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

zion williamson
Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

During a Thursday edition of ESPN, “Get Up” NBA analyst and ESPN radio host Alan Hahn spoke about the diminished value Zion Williamson has around the league.

“I’ve checked in with a lot of different coaches and front office people around the league, and some scouts as well about him. And they all have the same reaction we see in New Orleans. It is, when he’s on the court he is special, but you can’t rely on him to be there. And there are a lot of questions about his motivation to be on the court. So, if you’re New Orleans, you have to wonder if it’s motivation to play basketball for anyone, or for us. … One way or another, you can’t wait any longer [on a trade].”

– Alan Hahn

That is why it will not be as easy as some might assume to trade Zion Williamson before the NBA Draft or at some point during the summer. Furthermore, the New Orleans Pelicans’ decision to give him a max extension (five years, $194 million) last year only makes matters worse. ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst also spoke about the market for 22-year-old during Thursday’s “Get Up.”

“I think trading Zion is going to be difficult because his value is not good right now,” said Windhorst. “He’s barely played over the last two seasons. When he has played he’s looked great. There’s obviously a disconnect in the relationship here. There’s not a great relationship between Zion and the organization. … I’m not sure they’re going to be able to move him for a satisfactory deal.”

Zion Williamson only played in 29 games last season and has only taken to the floor a little over 100 times during his four years in the league after being the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.