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Are the New York Knicks preparing for a trade for New Orleans's Zion Williamson?

by Michael Hanich | January 20, 2022 at 5:04 p.m.

The NBA and their fans thrive off rumors and trade speculations. Most of them are wild, but some make sense in the long scheme of things.

With the 2022 NBA trade deadline coming up on Feb. 10, rumors have already begun to swirl.

One move NBA fans might enjoy involves the New York Knicks looking to add a familiar big three.

On Jan. 13, the Knicks traded their former first round selection, point guard Kevin Knox, and a protected 2022 first round NBA Draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for guard/forward Cam Reddish, shooting guard Solomon Hill, a 2025 second round NBA Draft pick and cash considerations.

Reddish rejoins his former Duke teammate in small forward R.J. Barrett. Barrett was the third overall pick by the Knicks in the 2019 NBA Draft, while Reddish was the tenth overall pick by the Hawks.

The Knicks could be in a position for one more trade for a fellow 2019 draftee and former teammate of both Barrett and Reddish, as signs have indicated that the team could go and trade for New Orleans Pelicans forward/center Zion Williamson.

Williamson was the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after a solid year with the Duke Blue Devils. He formed a special bond with Barrett and Reddish while they were in college. One conversation they would have together, when asked by media outlets during their Draft process, was how they would like to play for the Knicks. Williamson has stated numerous times that he would love to play for the Knicks, on top of other teams in the league.

Last April, Williamson was asked about his experience playing at Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks.

Williamson responded, "New York is the Mecca of basketball. I love playing here. The atmosphere, whether they cheer or boo for you, is amazing. Aside from New Orleans, New York is my favorite place to play."

This was said after the Pelicans' 122-112 overtime loss to the Knicks on April 18, 2021. New Orleans had come into the game as a 1.5 point favorite.

The Pelicans have not been to the NBA playoffs since the 2017/2018 season.

Since then, the Pelicans have accumulated an overall record of 94-132, not counting the current season. Last season was a disaster with Stan Van Gundy as head coach; NOLA's overall record for the season was 3-41. Gundy was unable to utilize the talent in the locker room and take proper command of his players, ultimately serving to add negativity to the franchise. Gundy wasted the high-caliber impact of Williamson's first All-Star season when he averaged 27 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game.

Williamson has not played yet this season after requiring surgery to repair a summer-time fracture in his right foot. He is continuing to rehab away from the facility, which should be concerning to the franchise, as he is distancing himself from the team. The Pelicans currently have one of the worst records in the NBA with an overall record of 16-28.

The Pelicans on Thursday were set to hit the road to play against the New York Knicks (22-23).

The Pelicans have relied on small forward Brandon Ingram and center Jonas Valanciunas to be impact players for the team, but it has shown to be not enough. The Pelicans need more consistent contributors outside of Ingram and Valanciunas.

If there is a potential deal to send Williamson to the Knicks, the Pelicans could benefit from gathering a collection of the Knicks' current stars. Solomon Hill would the first player to start in the package for Williamson. If the Knicks need to use draft picks, they can use the potential protected first round picks picks by Charlotte and Atlanta along with their own first round pick. The Knicks may have to throw in their star player of Julius Randle, a former Pelican, to finalize the potential deal.

This will be a situation that Zion, the Pelicans and the Knicks may have to think about. The Pelicans need to figure out whether they can keep their star or if they need to trade him on good terms before the relationship sours. Williamson probably wants to reunite with his former teammates, but he also wants a chance to enjoy his own NBA career. Finally, if the Knicks want to become a legitimate title contender again, they might need to find a way to trade for the All-Star.

Print Headline: Are the New York Knicks preparing for a trade for New Orleans's Zion Williamson?


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