New Orleans Pelicans News: McCollum Hasn’t Spoken To Williamson Yet, Cash Named Finalist For Hall of Fame, More

New Pelican C.J. McCollum & Zion Williamson Haven’t Spoken Yet

The New Orleans Pelicans further bolstered their playoff chances by acquiring Portland Trail Blazers standout guard C.J. McCollum in a blockbuster move ahead of the trade deadline.

The trade was completed on Feb. 98. In a surprise, however, McCollum revealed over the weekend that he and Pelicans’ franchise star Zion Williamson have yet to speak to one another.

“I haven’t had conversations with him directly,” McCollum told the NBA on TNT crew Saturday (via Mason Ginsberg of Bourbon Street Shots). “I’ve spoken with some people close to him & look forward to sitting down with him sooner than later. I know about as much as you do right now but I’m gonna get to the bottom of it.”

The Pelicans are sitting just outside of the play-in territory with a 33-26 record. They’re two games behind Portland for the 10th seed and final play-in berth.

Several major sportsbooks launched in the state of Louisiana last month.  Those in LA are able to place their bets with the available mobile sportsbook giants in the state such as Caesars, BetMGM and DraftKings.

Williamson has yet to play in 2021-22 as he continues to recover from offseason surgery on his fractured foot. The franchise continues to hold out hope that Williamson will eventually return to the court this season.

In five contests with the Pelicans, McCollum has averaged a whopping 28.4 points, 5.4 assists and six rebounds per game. If Williamson is able to return at some point this season, the new duo of he and McCollum will make New Orleans an ultra-difficult playoff opponent for anybody.

New Orleans has missed the postseason in each of the last three years. They have one just two postseason series’ since their inception in 2002, the opening round against the Dallas Mavericks in 2008 and the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2018.

Pelicans’ Swin Cash Named A Finalist For 2022 Hall of Fame Class

Swin Cash, the Pelicans’ Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development, has been named a finalist for this year’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class.

One of the greatest WNBA players of all time, Cash won three league championships: Two with the Detroit Shock (2003 and 2006) and one with the Seattle Storm (2010).

Cash, a four-time WNBA All-Star, also guided the UConn Huskies to national championships in 2000 and 2002. She also shined on the international stage, leading Team USA to gold medals at the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics.

Cash retired from basketball after the 2016 season. In 2019, the Pelicans hired Cash for the major front office role.

She is one of the 11 finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame class. The other finalists in the Women’s Committee are Lindsay Whalen and coaches Marianne Stanley and Leta Andrews.

In the North American Committee, the finalists are Manu Ginobili, Michael Cooper, Tim Hardaway, Marques Johnson, longtime referee Hugh Evans and coaches George Karl and Bob Huggins.

NBA Executives Reportedly “Bracing For” Williamson To Seek Trade

Although Williamson has only been with the Pelicans for three seasons, the top selection of the 2019 NBA Draft has been heavily mentioned in trade rumors.

According to Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated, NBA team executives “”are already bracing (and/or plotting) for the next disenchanted star to ask out”. Beck stated that the speculation is  “focused on” Williamson, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard.

Over the years, there has been a massive wave of disgruntled stars seeking (and receiving) trades to a team that they believe will better build around them. The list includes Anthony Davis (another former Pelican), Chris Paul, James Harden, Kawhi Leaonrd, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving.

The Pelicans aren’t strangers to trading away franchise stars. Ahead of the 2011-12 season, they dealt the aforementioned Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.

In the 2019 offseason, they honored Davis’ trade request and sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Davis formed a super duo with LeBron James and guided the Lakers to a championship in his first season with the franchise.

Williamson, of course, hasn’t formally requested a trade from the Pelicans. But if the franchise struggles to build a winner around the young phenom, nobody should be surprised if he seeks a trade down the road.

Huynh Nguyen

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