3 Pelicans that earned untouchable status, 3 that should be cut loose

The Pelicans should be active in trade talks this offseason.
New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram
New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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Untouchable: Zion Williamson

The number one overall draft pick in 2019 is special. Fans saw his elite scoring and playmaking ability this season. There is nobody like Zion. The 6’6 big man is an explosive athlete and must take his conditioning seriously if he wants to maximize his potential. He already has a lengthy injury history, but this season provided a glimmer of hope.

Williamson played a career-high 70 games in 2024 after appearing his just 114 contests in his first four NBA seasons combined. The injury risk is real, and the Pelicans were bitten by it again at the worst time. Zion is elite and locked up through 2028, but can he stay on the floor when his team needs him the most?

The two-time All-Star turns 24 in July. He should be years away from his peak, but only if he stays healthy. The Pelicans are not trading Zion for an upgrade. They should look to build around him. It means they need shooting, defense, and scoring. Williamson will find open teammates when he collapses the defense, but New Orleans must put those talents around him.

Keeping Zion should mark the end of an era for another All-Star in the Big Easy, and David Griffin must trade him to maximize the franchise’s return.