ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony appeared on fellow ESPN colleague Zach Lowe’s podcast this week (“The Lowe Post”). And as far as fans of the New Orleans Pelicans are concerned, he had this to say about the whole Zion Williamson fiasco:
"“I’ve been told New Orleans is not trading [Williamson],” said Givony on the The Lowe Post. “And no interest in trading Brandon Ingram. I would be very surprised if anything ended up happening there at two or three.“They were the No. 1 team in the West last year when [Williamson] went down with the injury. If he’s healthy, which he rarely is, but when he’s healthy, he is easily one of the best players in the NBA. So I don’t see it happening. That was pretty much shut down to me as a possibility of [Williamson] to Charlotte.”"
Givony also added that, from what he understood, a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers was also off the table for the Pelicans. “They haven’t even spoken with Portland. I think New Orleans has made some calls, just to see what it would take to get to one, get to two, but I don’t think it went past that.”
This information is particularly surprising given the other two major pieces of news surrounding the Pelicans this week. First, we have the reporting from Marc Stein that suggests that the Pelicans would rather prefer to move Williamson than Ingram and would indeed be open to moving Williamson for a chance to move up in the draft (to nab the highly-coveted G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson).
The other piece of the pie here was the news that broke out on Thursday that the Pelicans would be letting go of assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon. This is notable because she was considered to be one of Williamson’s closest associates within the organization.
It seems counterintuitive to let go of someone so close to your franchise player if you plan on keeping said player around for a long time (his contract extends through the 2027-28 season).
Why are Stein and Givony hearing different things? Why did the Pelicans let go of Weatherspoon? What does this all mean for Williamson’s future in New Orleans? These are questions we will (hopefully) receive some more clarity on in the coming days.