The Atlanta Hawks are in full offseason form, announcing the hiring of Nate McMillan as the permanent head coach, General Manager Travis Schlenk speaking on John Collins’ contract situation, while owner Tony Ressler gave some a scare with what seemed like double-sided comments (they were anything but).
Of course, this extended downtime also means the rumor mill is churning with full force. One of the most popular names being bandied about is New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.
He’s reportedly upset that J.J. Redick was traded and the uncertainty around a couple of other teammates, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, for next season. There was also said to be some disenchantment with former Head Coach Stan Van Gundy, leading to his ouster after one year.
It also doesn’t sound like he’s the only one in his circle that isn’t too fond of the goings-on down in the bayou. And the voices are important.
There are said to be family members who want him on another team, which has naturally led to massive speculation. The most popular destination in any mock scenario has been the New York Knicks. They were all set to take him (or trade the pick to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis) in 2019 only to lose out on the pick altogether and fall to third overall.
New York also rosters his college teammate in R.J. Barrett, further fueling the fire. But let’s not forget this little gem from the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery:
The Atlanta Hawks possibly pursuing a trade for Zion Williamson is a complicated issue
The words of Schlenk and Ressler, regarding the luxury tax and being “good” versus “great”, immediately come into focus. As does Collins, who should be rightfully looking to cash in as he heads into restricted free agency.
Does it make sense for the Hawks to try and pull off a trade for Williamson, presumably at the expense of Collins? Would the Pelicans take whatever package they could put together?
Given the NBA’s complex salary-matching rules, is a trade even possible?