New Orleans Pelicans: What’s next without Zion Williamson?

Injured Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Injured Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

On Saturday, the news broke that Zion Williamson will be out for the “time being” due to soreness in his right foot that he received surgery on this offseason. The New Orleans Pelicans are sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference waiting for their star to return.

This is not a good sign at all as Zion has been pushed back week after week. The situation keeps getting worse from a fan’s perspective. At first, Zion and David Griffin said that they were hopeful for the start of the season, but that turned into 2-3 weeks which turned into another 2-3 weeks.

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Zion was cleared for practice on November 26th, but that was short-lived as he felt more soreness in the right foot. Now there is no timetable for his return. There has been no clarity from both parties to the fans.

What’s next for the New Orleans Pelicans and Zion Williamson?

The big question is, what’s next for the Pelicans now? Tanking, in my opinion, is not the best solution. Even if they are projected to get a top two pick in the NBA Draft, I still want to see the Pelicans win some games and play basketball. There are many guys on the Pels team that want to play and want to win. It is not fair to those other players who put their hearts on the floor to tank. There is still plenty of basketball left to be played, but without Zion, it could be a long season. That is why the Pelicans should go shopping for some trades.

The NBA Trade Deadline this season is February 10th, 2022. If the Pels are still hanging around the play-in they could be buyers and try to add talent. The Pels could be busy this season with trades in hopes of getting themselves in position for success when (and if) Zion Williamson comes back. Even with a tricky salary cap, the Pelicans will be able to draw some attention from younger stars because of the team’s core and bright future.

It is time to be realists and to accept that Zion might not be back this season (even though we all hope), so it is time to keep moving on and think about what will satisfy the team and fans. In the end, it’s time to play basketball and the Pelicans will do just that, with or without Zion Williamson.

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