Knicks: Retired NBA star pushing blockbuster deal for Zion Williamson

New York Knicks, Zion Williamson
Dec 30, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Former Boston Celtics All-Star Paul Pierce delivered a bold take regarding the New York Knicks’ need for a superstar and what he thinks they should give up to get one.

Paul Pierce: Knicks Trade Package of Randle, Barrett Too Good For Pelicans to Refuse

Pierce sat down with his former teammate Kevin Garnett on his Showtime “KG Talk” series and said that a Knicks offer of Julius Randle and RJ Barrett to the New Orleans Pelicans for Zion Williamson would surely garner serious consideration:

“A couple of first-rounders with Barrett and Randle, yeah, I think they would,” Pierce said of the Pelicans’ potential reaction to such a deal. “Randle is what New Orleans needs: they need a consistent 20-10 guy in that spot, which Zion is if he’s healthy, but Randle’s healthy.”

Williamson brings MVP-caliber value when on the floor. Moreover, you know what you’ll get from him on a nightly basis. His career 25.8 points and seven rebounds per game have been a rock for the Pelicans. Further, Williamson took his playmaking skills to the next level last season, averaging 4.6 dimes a contest.

The former No. 1 overall pick dominates in the paint and is as efficient a high-volume scorer as there is in the NBA today. Though he only played 29 games in 2022-23, he had the Pelicans riding high as the No. 4 seed in a very competitive Western Conference before going down.

The key is his health. Williamson has missed 204 of a possible 328 regular season games. His weight has impacted his lower body, costing him much time in the early portion of his career. If his injury woes remain a thing of the past, Williamson’s talent alone would be worth a roster haul. Do the Pelicans have a need for the Knicks’ stars in return?

Pelicans Equipped With Scoring and Draft Stock For the Future

Pelicans general manager David Griffin has allocated seven first-round draft picks over the next three years. The Knicks have additional draft stock to entice Griffin with, and Randle and Barrett have the scoring punch to make up for Williamson’s departing value. But their updated resumes leave question marks

Randle has been All-NBA in two of his last three seasons but has not carried that over into the 2023-24 campaign. He is shooting an abysmal 27.1 percent from the field and has conjured up frustration from head coach Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks fan base at large.

Barrett has become a much more efficient 20-plus point scorer and his game has shown maturation early. However, with Randle and Barrett paired next to CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram in New Orleans, three mouths to feed becomes four.

Randle’s production when lined up next to Williamson’s looks like they are on par. But, Griffin would have to assess whether Randle can overcome playoff struggles as well before going through with such a trade.

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