Lakers Are a Possible Landing Spot for Former No. 1 Pick, Says Analyst

Zion Williamson

Getty Zion Williamson may be available for trade.

The Los Angeles Lakers likely need to make sweeping changes this offseason to have a chance at contending during the 2022-23 season. There have been rumblings that Zion Williamson could be the next NBA star to push for a trade. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd sees the Lakers as a potential fit for Williamson if the Pelicans opt to explore trades for the former No. 1 pick.

“If you went to Zion and said, ‘hey, do you want to be here?'” Cowherd explained on the March 21, 2022 edition of “The Herd.” “And he said, ‘no’ just say, ‘hey man, keep it quiet for six weeks and I’ll move you or keep it quiet for however [long].’ The key in this whole thing is if he’s not happy, and there’s arguments to be made he’s not, let’s come to an agreement. Okay, we’re gonna move you. Do not tell anybody outside of maybe your dad or your mom and we’ll move you. …I think there’s a lot of teams, like I don’t know the Lakers, who are looking for an explosive marquee player. I don’t know, I’m just throwing it out there.”

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A.D. Is the Lakers’ Biggest Non-LeBron Trade Asset

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Co-host Joy Taylor pushed back on the idea that the Lakers have enough assets to offer the Pelicans in a deal. Outside of LeBron James, the Lakers’ biggest trade asset is Anthony Davis who ended up in Los Angeles by pushing for a trade out of New Orleans.

“You have to have assets to get him,” Taylor responded. “Whoever is going to trade for him, you have to give them [Pelicans] something. You got to make it worth it.”

The chances of the Lakers landing Williamson would likely depend on a third team being involved as neither Davis or the Pelicans are likely interested in a reunion. Williamson still has two years remaining on his four-year, $44.2 million rookie deal and is eligible for an extension this offseason.

Pelicans Expected to ‘Strongly Explore Trades’ for Zion: Report

Williamson has yet to play a game in 2021-22 and has battled injuries in each of his first three NBA seasons. The star played just 85 games during his three years in New Orleans. The Boardroom’s insider Jordan Schultz sees the Pelicans moving on from Williamson this offseason.

“Just on the big picture here, I don’t know if Zion Williamson ever plays for the Pelicans again,” Schultz noted during a March 23 interview on the “Dan Patrick Show.” “He’s played 85 games in his career, If you don’t trade him this summer, what are you going to get for him long-term? And if you don’t believe he’s going to stay healthy, what are we talking about here?

“…I think there’s a very good chance he will not be back and they will trade him this summer or at least strongly explore trades, yes.”

Would the Lakers Have an Interest in Zion?

Aside from the Lakers not having a viable trade package, would the team have an interest in Williamson? When he was on the court last season, Williamson had a phenomenal stretch averaging 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 61 appearances during his All-Star campaign.

The challenge is the Lakers are already dealing with injury woes with Davis, who still likely has more trade value than Williamson. Schultz estimated that a Williamson trade begins with a lottery pick, which is challenging for the Lakers given their lack of draft capital.

“You can get, right now, a lottery pick, no question about it,” Schultz added. “You drafted him No. 1, do you get that back? Absolutely not, he’s still very young. He averaged 27 points a game last year, he was terrific. You remember he was shooting threes and he was passing and you thought, ‘okay, I can see it.’ You can still get a lottery pick for him.”

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