Report: Pelicans exploring trading up to No. 2 pick to pair up Zion Williamson with RJ Barrett
Having snagged the No. 4 overall selection as a prime asset in return for Anthony Davis, the Pelicans could boast the first and second overall selections in the 2019 NBA Draft, giving them an immense upper hand over the other 29 teams, but most importantly, Zion Williamson’s Duke teammate RJ Barrett.
Barrett is currently slated to go No. 3 to the New York Knicks, but New Orleans plans to leave no stone unturned, hoping to pair these two close friends in what could be a fast turnaround of the rebuilding season they’re expecting to undergo after trading their talisman player.
If successful, point guard extraordinaire Ja Morant could slide from his consensus slot at No. 2 to the No. 3 selection to the Knicks, which would open a whole different strategy entering the season, considering the Knicks got young point guard Dennis Smith Jr. as one of the return pieces for Kristaps Porzingis.
Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly content with either Morant or Barrett on his team after facing the disappointment of missing out on the first overall selection in the draft after amassing the worst record in the league last season:
“The Knicks have a good problem to have — Pick 3 in a three-man draft,” said an NBA executive close to the situation. “They just have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, the Pelicans could have Duke 2.0 on their hands by pairing a smooth operator in Barrett and a rim destroyer in Williamson, giving them a bright future ahead, even if it means losing some compensation in the process.