Rumor: Pelicans pull players back in trade talks in order to make playoff push
The New Orleans Pelicans will get rookie Zion Williamson on the floor for the first time this season on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. Aside from the excitement surrounding the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft taking the floor, Williamson’s debut has also been used as a signal by the New Orleans front office to have “really pulled back in trade talks among all their players,” per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, citing an interest that the team wants to see how its full allotment of talent meshes.
Two players heavily speculated to have been up for discussion in terms of trades were guards Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick:
On @SportsCenter, Woj says the Pelicans have “really pulled back in trade talks among all their players.”
Woj adds that the Pels want to make a serious playoff push and see how Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick play alongside Zion before considering making any sort of move… pic.twitter.com/WJlQ6d3m0u
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 21, 2020
Holiday just returned from a seven-game absence, and he has averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 assists and 4.9 rebounds this season. He has two more season under contract, with the final season being a player option. Redick, one of the league’s preeminent sharpshooters, has shot 46 percent from long range this season and has especially found his offensive rhythm after a rocky start.
The Pelicans will enter play Wednesday with a 17-27 record. They sit just 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, although there are three additional teams ahead of them in the standings.
Even as Brandon Ingram has blossomed into an electric scorer who may be rewarded with his first All-Star Game appearance this season, the Pelicans have been waiting for everything to mesh. Whether or not Williamson is the piece that brings it all together remains to be seen, but it looks as if New Orleans is content with finding out.