The New Orleans Pelicans potentially have a huge problem on their hands with franchise cornerstone Zion Williamson.

He was not included in a recent email to season ticket holders and was called out by former Pelicans guard JJ Redick as a “detached” teammate after Williamson never reached out to CJ McCollum in wake of the latter’s trade to New Orleans. He has reached out since, but a storm is brewing around the Pelicans regardless.

If Williamson became available, many, many teams would have interest in trading for him. One such squad? The Charlotte Hornets, who could be one player away from soon establishing themselves as annual contenders.

2 reasons why the Hornets must trade for Zion Williamson this offseason 

Transition from potential playoff team to perennial championship contention 

Right now, the Hornets are still a potential playoff team. They are ninth in the Eastern Conference, with a 30-31 record. They should be around the play-in come season’s end based on the form of the roster. However, that should not be good enough for their front office and for team owner Michael Jordan. The Hornets have a great young core centered around LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. Ball has entered the league as a certified bucket-getter and playmaker, but Bridges is the one who’s surprised the league this season.

If they were to add Williamson to this mix, the Hornets would have a formidable Big Three for years to come.

Bridges is 23, Ball is just 20 and Williamson is set to turn 22 this July. They’re all impact players right now, with their best basketball coming down the line. That trio should work well together, too. Ball would facilitate and score, Bridges would be the primary wing scorer, while Williamson would be able to dominate in the middle and in the pick-and-roll.

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Of course, this is all based on speculation and the premise that both Ball and Bridges would be untouchable in any trade talks for Zion Williamson. That leaves the Hornets limited in terms of what they can offer. They would likely look to unload either Gordon Hayward or Terry Rozier in any Williamson deal, but would have to include at least one younger player plus a few picks as well. Thus, the depth of the Hornets could be an issue should they trade for Williamson, but that should not concern them. Just the thought of these three guys playing together sounds too good to turn down.

Expertise in winning of Michael Jordan

While Jordan is the owner of the team and sometimes sits close to his players, his role with the franchise is not always so hands-on. That is mostly due to the Hornets falling well short of championship contention throughout his tenure. If they pull the trigger for Williamson, however, Jordan could be much more involved with his franchise.

One thing that cannot be denied about Jordan’s legacy in this league? He’s a winner.

Obviously, the six-time champion cannot join the team and play on the court. The Hornets must learn how to win and do so consistently on their own, which might be a tall task for the young players on the team. However, having the player widely considered to be the greatest of all time in basketball in your corner will help in that regard. It is also well known that Jordan had to learn to win himself, making his first NBA Finals appearance in 1991, seven years into his career.

If Jordan can impart that expertise on his team, especially one with Williamson in the roster, the Hornets could be very good, very fast.

Of course, all of these things are predicated on the Pelicans actually shipping Zion Williamson. There will be tens of teams to come calling in that scenario, some with better trade packages for Williamson than Charlotte can. However, no team will trade for Williamson unless he’s willing to commit long-term.The Hornets have a great young core, play in the nominally weaker conference and have Michael Jordan as the owner.

If Williamson becomes available, the Hornets should be on the phone right away.