Easy and not-so-easy offseason decisions for the Pelicans

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Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson talks to assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans’ roster for next season is almost set, with 14 players already under contract.

The more-distant future is not as clear, as the Pelicans have several options and extensions to make decisions on this offseason, some of which are easy, and some that aren’t so easy.

Most of the offseason is going to focus on the NBA Draft, as the Pelicans have a top-10 pick coming that they could use to keep adding young talent to the pipeline or to try and trade for a reliable veteran.

They also have a guard problem with three undersized players in Devonte’ Graham, Jose Alvarado and Kira Lewis Jr., as there will not be minutes for all of them.

The New Orleans Pelicans will have a clearer understanding of what their needs are post-draft, and here are the guys whose fate in the Crescent City will have to be decided.

Let’s start with the easy ones.

New Orleans Pelicans: Offseason decisions

The No Brainers

Tony Snell (Unrestricted free agent)

Veteran Tony Snell, who came over in the CJ McCollum deal, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

I am sure he’ll get a job at the end of someone’s bench eventually, but it won’t be the Pelicans’, as Snell couldn’t crack the rotation and wasn’t impressive when he did play.

I’ve often said that Snell’s nickname should be “The Invisible Man,” as he is one of the only players I’ve ever seen play 30+ minutes without scratching the scorecard.

Fare thee well, Mr. Snell.

Zion Williamson (Rookie extension)

Zion Williamson’s extension was certainly complicated by his injury-plagued season, and will likely cause the Pels to try and work in some team options and incentive-based bonuses. It’s possible that they will make a 4+1 (team option) offer for Zion to see if they can get him on a max that doesn’t have a fully guaranteed five seasons. It’s far more likely that they have to give him the max and they should, as he is still just 21-years-old and has superstar potential.

The Pelicans may be a Zion away from contending, so he isn’t going anywhere. I do think he’ll have to settle for some amount of compromise, but he’ll get the max.

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