The New Orleans Pelicans should probably just rip off the adhesive bandage and trade Zion Williamson now. There is currently no timetable for his return to the court this season and the Zion-less Pelicans are off to a 8-21 start. There is no reason for optimism.
Even if Williamson does get healthy, this season is lost. The Pelicans could climb into the play-in tournament, in theory, but their ceiling is currently get destroyed by the Phoenix Suns or Golden State Warriors who have a combined 10 losses this season. Rough math says the Pelicans have already lost twice as many games.
That takes us to next season when he will become eligible for his big rookie extension. Will he become the first person to turn down the money? Or maybe worse for the Pelicans - will he sign it?
If Zion can't get and stay healthy, which is a serious concern, how much money do the Pelicans really want to pay him? Maybe the time has come for them to trade him and let that be someone else's problem.
So the question becomes, is Zion's value too low to trade him now? Well, that depends on his future health and fitness. If Zion is healthy, whomever he's playing for is smart. If Zion can't stay healthy, we're all losers because we missed out on one of the most unique and special athletes maybe ever. And the team holding the bag would be stuck paying one of the biggest health-related busts in NBA history.
So why not trade him? There have to be some teams out there that would take this shot. Zion Williamson still has to be worth some first round picks, right? Heck, there are two good teams in the Eastern Conference who also employ star players and they have no idea if they’ll ever play for them again. Seriously? Who plays first this season? Zion Williamson, Kyrie Irving or Ben Simmons?
Pelicans fans will be disappointed, maybe even angry, if the team moves on from Zion, but how much fun are they having right now anyway? The only thing they have to lose is a generational talent and they might have already done that. They just don’t know it yet.