zion williamson knicks
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As the Knicks entered what could be a pivotal offseason for the immediate future of the franchise, there’s been one big thought on the minds of many. Could Joel Embiid leave Philly and land at Madison Square Garden? It doesn’t seem likely, but maybe we were focusing on the wrong noteworthy player. Maybe we should be talking about Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans are reportedly focused on trying to get Scoot Henderson in this month’s NBA Draft. New Orleans currently holds the 14th overall pick. If they want a legitimate chance of landing Henderson, then they’ll need to move up on the draft board. So, could that mean the Zion era is on the verge of being done?

It seems like a possibility. The mere thought of him becoming available has sent many into overdrive when it comes to hypothetical trades. SNY’s Ian Begley broke things down from a financial perspective and provided a couple of hypothetical trades himself.

Now, it’s worth noting that he put together the following two trade packages based solely on the financial side of the equation to satisfy league rules.

Williamson is set to make $33.5 million next season, which will be his age-23 campaign. According to Begley, that means any team who acquires him would need to send $26.6 million worth of player salaries back to New Orleans. With that in mind, here are the two packages Begley proposed that would work within those rules:

  • Evan Fournier ($18.8 mil), Obi Toppin ($6.8 mil), and multiple first-round picks
  • Julius Randle ($25.7 mil), Jericho Sims ($1.9 mil), and multiple first-round picks

Begley also noted that he did this under the assumption that Derrick Rose’s option would be declined, while Miles McBride’s would be picked up.

So, if these were two legitimate trade packages the Knicks could offer, which one would you choose? Fans seemed to be quite finished with Randle after New York was eliminated by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but he also was named to the All-NBA Third Team.

Williamson played in just 29 games last year after missing all of the 2021-22 season. But when he was on the floor, he was productive. Zion averaged 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 steals when healthy.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.