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RUMOR: Pelicans not making any major trades as they evaluate core with Zion Williamson

Pelicans, Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans don’t intend to make any major trades before the NBA’s Feb. 6 trade deadline, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Team president David Griffin wants to evaluate the team’s young core for an extended period of time now that No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is back in the lineup.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said as much on Thursday after Williamson debuted against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 17 of his 22 points during a 3-minute, 8-second spurt in the fourth quarter of the loss.

The Pelicans were at first believed to be listening to offers regarding guard Jrue Holiday and sharpshooter JJ Redick, but now they’re viewed as key pieces that can help Williamson grow, and ones they must evaluate this season now that he is healthy, despite his recent minutes restriction.

Even at 17-28, the Pelicans are still only four games behind the eighth-seeded San Antonio Spurs and could make a serious run in the second half of the NBA season, towards a possible playoff spot in the Western Conference. Getting Williamson back in the lineup changes their calculus significantly, as what had previously looked to be a lost season suddenly feels much more promising.

Getting to the postseason would not only be an overachievement for a really young team like the Pelicans, but it would also allow for a more comprehensive understanding of what pieces must be added around Williamson and which of them must go in the summer. With this many young players under contract, Griffin will have plenty of options for future moves.

Allowing the current roster construction to stay relatively intact would give Griffin a true feel of how he should build from here on out, hoping to put complementary players around the likes of Williamson, Brandon Ingram and potentially Lonzo Ball.