Zion Williamson will not be on Pelicans come NBA Draft: Bill Simmons

Zion Williamson’s future with the Pelicans gets murkier with each passing day as the 2023 NBA Draft rapidly approaches.

“The Zion thing is a real, real subplot,” Bill Simmons said on his podcast previewing potential player movement ahead of Thursday’s draft. “I had somebody tell me yesterday that I trust that [Zion] will not be on the team on Thursday.”

The oft-injured former top pick has played just 114 games in his three-year NBA career, while New Orleans vice president David Griffin has said that his health struggles are “on him.”

Zion Williamson has been the subject of trade rumors for weeks.
Zion Williamson has been the subject of trade rumors for weeks.
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All eyes are pointing toward the draft, where the Pelicans have looked to trade up, potentially using Williamson or co-star Brandon Ingram as trade bait to land projected top-three pick, Scoot Henderson.

“It is extraordinarily out there about how much the Pelicans are interested in Scoot Henderson,” ESPN insider Brian Windhorst said on the “Hoop Collective Podcast“, while carefully noting that this is so widely known that he is skeptical about potential ploys by New Orleans to misdirect the league of their true intentions.

And rumors can end up being just that – rumors.

But if Williamson ends up being moved, signs would seem to point toward a potential deal centered around Williamson and Henderson should he fall to pick No. 3.

NBA insider Kevin O’Connor and Simmons’ fellow Ringer podcaster explained that league sources told him the Trailblazers would prefer Williamson over Ingram in return for a trade involving their third-overall pick.

Windhorst also said on his Friday podcast that it is “surprising to me how out there it is in the league that the Pelicans are discussing Zion business.”

Whether the Trail Blazers or Hornets, who own the second pick in the draft, have actually discussed Williamson or Ingram isn’t known.

Williamson has also been embroiled in some off the court drama surrounding girlfriend Ahkeema, who is pregnant with the Pelicans star’s daughter, and ex-porn star Moriah Mills — who claims to have been carrying on a relationship with him.

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard
Getty Images

Scoot Henderson could be the linchpin for the NBA Draft Thursday.
Scoot Henderson could be the linchpin for the NBA Draft Thursday.
NBAE via Getty Images

Portland star Damian Lillard, who has plenty of trade rumors circling around him, has made it known that he wants the team’s No. 3 pick traded in an attempt to compete for a championship rather than rebuild.

Should Henderson fall to three, the Trail Blazers would theoretically have the opportunity to pair Lillard with Williamson and make a run in the Western conference.

Regardless of what happens, expect to hear plenty of the Lillard-Williamson combo ahead of Thursday’s draft, as their futures could become intertwined.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
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