5 Pelicans who definitely won't be back, 2 who shouldn't return next season

These Pelicans could be wearing a different uniform to start the 2024-25 season.
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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Shouldn’t be back: Zion Williamson

The two-time All-Star’s happiness in the Big Easy has been questioned. He just finished the first season of a five-year rookie max extension. It seems unlikely Zion would request a trade, but should New Orleans explore his market? The 23-year-old played his way into better shape this season and appeared in 70 games. Teams would certainly be interested, and this could be the Pelicans' moment to sell high, despite him missing their entire playoff series versus the Thunder.

In their biggest game of the season against the Lakers and the Play-In Tournament, Williamson looked like the best player on the floor. He was outplaying LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but Zion injured his hamstring in the final minutes. It helped LA secure the win, and the Pelicans star was quickly ruled out for multiple weeks. The injury ended his season.

Can New Orleans count on Zion in the biggest games? He has appeared in just 184 games in his first five seasons. Twice he has played 60-plus games, and three times the 6’6 big man appeared in fewer than 30. Nobody is built like Zion, and it may result in him struggling to stay healthy. The New Orleans Pelicans should trade the 23-year-old if they can get a superstar return of draft capital and young talent.

It is a crossroads offseason in the Big Easy. Do the Pels make a blockbuster trade or try to improve on the margins? It will be fascinating to watch, so please stay tuned.