New Orleans Pelicans’ $190 Million Star Zion Williamson Can’t Stay Healthy. Time To Cut Him Loose

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Seth Roy Contributor
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Zion Williamson is expected to miss the postseason due to a lingering right hamstring injury. 

The two-time All Star has been out injured since Jan. 2 after straining his hamstring in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Williamson pulled down a rebound and pushed the basketball up the floor before his hamstring gave out.

Over three months since the injury occurred, NBA insider Shams Charania reported on Friday that Williamson’s season is now likely over. Charania said in a tweet that it is “unlikely” the basketball superstar will play in next week’s Play-In Tournament, and that the team is taking caution with his comeback throughout his rehab. 

As fun as it is to watch Williamson play and dunk all over people, you have to imagine that he’s on thinner and thinner ice with New Orleans’ front office based on how much time he’s missing. I can’t imagine that the Pelicans are too thrilled to be paying Zion over $190 million to sit on the sidelines in street clothes. 

In the four years that Williamson has been in the NBA, it seems like he’s spent more time being injured than actually being on the floor helping out his team. (RELATED: REPORT: Ben Gordon Arrested After Allegedly Threatening Juice Shop Patrons With Knife)

In Williamson’s rookie season in 2019, he played in only 24 games of the 82-game regular season due to a right knee injury. He followed up his rookie campaign by playing in only 61 games during the 2019-2020 campaign and then missed all of last season due to foot injury, according to Pro Basketball Reference

The six-foot-six power forward led New Orleans to a 23-14 record before his unfortunate injury happened. Before he got hurt, Williamson had the Pelicans sitting firmly in the third seed in the Western Conference playoff standings. He was averaging 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Since he’s been out, New Orleans has gone 18-25 and is now in the eighth spot in the postseason standings, according to ESPN. Without Zion in their lineup, the Pelicans would be lucky to even qualify past the play-in round.

That said, I wouldn’t blame Pelicans ownership for switching out Williamson during the offseason. If they got rid of him right now they’d likely get a lot of assets in return for him. I don’t know how many more seasons the Pelicans should keep Williamson around for, just for him to be injured in the most crucial moments of the year again. 

If I were a part of New Orleans’ front office, I would be at my wit’s end with Williamson. Giving him a $190 million contract extension seems to be one huge mistake on their part. It’s in their best interest to trade him now while his trade value is high and get as many draft picks as possible for him.