Is a blockbuster deal for Zion Williamson in the Knicks’ best interest?

Zion Williamson, knicks, julius randle
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson shakes hands with New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) after overtime at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won in overtime 122-112. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

With New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson being circulated in trade rumors, the New York Knicks are once again linked to the superstar after missing the opportunity to draft him in 2019.

With the Pelicans struggling to be a consistent playoff contender, there is talk around the league about the possibility of the Pelicans launching an unprecedented rebuild and moving the star forward elsewhere.

Sportsnaut’s Jason Burgos listed the Knicks as a potential suitor for Williamson, with a heavy deal that would send Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, All-NBA forward Julius Randle, and two first-round picks to New Orleans in exchange for the forward.

“The New York Knicks’ interest in Zion Williamson has been long documented. While many Knicks fans will have flashbacks of Amare Stoudemire in a deal for Williamson, his upside is undeniable. Furthermore, it may also be their best chance to finally move Julius Randle. A former Pelican who might appeal to New Orleans now due to his durability over the last few seasons,” Burgos wrote.

Should the Knicks pursue Zion Williamson?

First things first, when Williamson is on the court, he is undeniably a superstar-level talent with tremendous upside and great capabilities to score on the interior and dominate.

However, staying on the court has been Williamson’s biggest problem in his short career.

Despite making an average salary of over $38 million, Williamson has played in just 114 career games since being drafted in 2019, and has played over 29 games in a single season just once, which was in 2020-21 when he played 61 games. He also missed the entire 2021-22 season with a foot injury and missed a large portion of his rookie season with a knee injury.

This past season, Williamson was dominant in 29 games, as he averaged 26/7/4 with a 65.2% true shooting percentage, and the Pelicans were at one point leading the Western Conference. However, Williamson suffered an oblique injury at the midway point of the season, and he last played in a game on Jan. 2, and the Pelicans fell to the play-in, where they would lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox
Jul 5, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (left) against New York Knicks center Kevin Knox during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For the Knicks, adding Williamson would not only give them a superstar, but it would also give them a dominant interior presence who can score at a very high level on good volume which would make the Knicks a more efficient offense. He would also be paired with rising star Jalen Brunson, and those two could form a deadly pick-and-roll combination that would torture opposing defenses.

However, the aforementioned injury history is a real concern, and trading an overhaul of durable assets for a player that has struggled to see the court is an extremely risky endeavor. While the very high upside may be worth that kind of haul, the Knicks need to be sure they are getting the player as advertised, and that most importantly, he can stay healthy.

Will the Knicks’ big blockbuster deal be a trade to bring Williamson to the Big Apple? Only time will tell.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_

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