Grade the Trade: Pelicans ditch Zion Williamson in mock deal with Mavs, Blazers: Grade for Pelicans
Just as adding Williamson would be a risk for the Mavericks, trading Williamson for Lillard would be a big risk for the Pelicans.
Incoming: Damian Lillard, JaVale McGee
Outgoing: Zion Williamson, Larry Nance Jr., Two first-round picks
At his best, Williamson is a top-15 player, but at Lillard’s best, he’s a top-10 player. Plus, with the reports of the relationship between Williamson and the Pelicans deteriorating, this could be a way for them to move on.
As noted, Lillard has made it clear that he only wants to play for the Heat, so this could be a risk. However, if McCollum could convince him to accept a trade to New Orleans, it could be the best team the duo has ever been on together.
With Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III, and Jonas Valanciunas already in place, the backcourt of Lillard and McCollum would have solid defenders and shooters all around them.
The Pelicans have a ton of firsts, including their own, one from the Lakers, and some from the Bucks, so draft capital shouldn’t be a huge issue for them.
The only thing holding this back from being a near-perfect grade is the fact that Lillard may not welcome a trade to New Orleans. Other than that, this is a solid deal for the Pelicans.
Potential starting lineup: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones, Jonas Valanciunas