4 Zion Williamson trade destinations if Pelicans implode

If the New Orleans Pelicans decide to trade Zion Williamson, these teams should take a strong interest.

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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3. Thunder can cash in picks on Zion Williamson

Speaking of teams with a ton of picks to trade, the Oklahoma City Thunder literally cannot use all their draft capital. There's something to be said for maintaining a steady stream of affordable, team-controlled talent as the young core ages into max contracts, but the Thunder have the ammo to swing a major trade without sacrificing their best players. Sam Presti would be borderline irresponsible not to consider the possibility.

There's a strong chance any Zion trade comes at a discount relative to his actual talent. The off-court, effort-based concerns are real. OKC has built up a young core of spunky, ultra-competitive dudes who genuinely play for each other. There's risk in bringing Zion and all his uncertainty into that environment.

Even so... it's Zion Williamson. At the end of the day, a talent of that magnitude only comes around once in a blue moon. Zion can legitimately change the trajectory of a franchise. At full power, Williamson is one of the 10 or 15 best players in the world. His constant, unstoppable rim pressure can sustain an offense. Place him next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the NBA's best slasher, and Chet Holmgren, one of the NBA's best stretch fives, and the Thunder are cooking with gas.

Defense is a concern with Zion, as he has never fully realized the inherent potential of his athletic gifts on that end of the floor. OKC happens to be one of the most complete defensive teams around. Williamson would be nestled between Holmgren's rim protection and several All-Defense candidates on the perimeter. Williamson can explode for weak-side blocks or blow up passing lanes on occasion, so he's not a complete one-way zero. For OKC, the reward greatly outweighs the risk.

The Thunder are already in the title contention zone. Adding Zion might push OKC into league-wide favorite territory.