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Teams are waiting for Zion Williamson to request a trade

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Recent reports reveal that New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson might need a second surgery on his injured foot. To recall, the former first overall pick went under the knife in September 2021 to repair a fracture on the fifth metatarsal on his right foot.

Keeping an eye on Zion

After reports on his second surgery came in, analysts and fans compared Zion to Greg Oden — the 2007 first overall pick who saw his promising career derailed after a slew of injuries. Pelicans fans fear that Williamson may suffer the same fate. However, a recent rumor suggests that despite questions about Williamson's health, teams are still interested in his services. They are waiting for Zion to request a trade.

"The teams that have a star are feverishly doing everything to keep them happy. The rest are plotting to poach them. Around the league, team executives are already bracing (and/or plotting) for the next disenchanted star to ask out, with speculation focused on Zion Williamson in New Orleans, Damian Lillard in Portland and Donovan Mitchell in Utah," per Sports Illustrated.

If Zion requests a trade, then the team who would acquire him will either be tagged the dumbest organization in the NBA or the smartest of the pack. After all, given the limited knowledge of his health, there's no assurance if he'll indeed make a full recovery and dominate. So even if he remains healthy for one entire season, will this be a guarantee that he'll be injury-free for the next three to five years?

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Does Zion have enough leverage?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it would be interesting to parse out the reasons why Zion would suddenly ask for a trade from the team that picked him. We can compare it to the Kawhi Leonard-San Antonio Spurs fiasco a few years ago.

To recall, Leonard and the Spurs medical staff had a little tiff in the 2017-18 NBA season about the Klaw's quadricep injury. The medical staff deemed Leonard ready to go. But Kawhi didn't feel in peak form. This led to tension between the two parties, with Kawhi ultimately requesting a trade. 

The difference between Kawhi and Zion is that the Pelicans forward doesn't have the leverage Leonard did. Yes, he's the first overall pick and did well in the first 85 games of his career. But he hasn't led the team to a single playoff appearance, let alone a title. At this point, Williamson may even end up as a draft bust due to his injuries.

As such, if a trade does go down, then it wouldn't be because Zion wanted out. It would probably be because the Pelicans have had enough of him and want to move forward. So it seems too early to give up on Williamson. Especially since he averaged an impressive 25.7 points on 60.4 percent shooting, as well as 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists across 85 games. It is not as if he did a Greg Oden and averaged just 8.0 points in 105 games.

Whatever the case may be, the Williamson saga is becoming one of the most exciting narratives to follow. Legions of NBA fans are rooting for Zion to be healthy. They don't care if he'll continue to don the Pelicans jersey or not. As long as he continues playing ball, everyone will be happy. (Except Pelicans fans, the few left in New Orleans)

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