Wow! What a week for the New Orleans Pelicans and their fans! A sense of reform or rejuvenation and a high level of excitement has once again made its way across the area’s athletics scene — the same way the Saints did 10 years ago during their Super Bowl run.
Pelican fans across the area have waited a long time for this. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin and General Manager Trajan Langdon seem to have done more in the past month than former G.M. Dell Demps did in nine years with the team.
After getting the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, there was little doubt that former Duke forward Zion Williamson would be selected to play in New Orleans. And after weeks of speculation Griffin and Langdon made that a reality by taking Williamson No. 1 overall.
Not even a week prior, they unloaded disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis to the Los Angles Lakers for a haul including forwards Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram, guard Lonzo Ball and a bevy of draft picks including the fourth overall in this year’s draft.
And only hours before selecting Williamson, the No. 4 pick was traded to Atlanta for the 8th, 17th and 35th selections. But another important piece to that trade is the fact that the Hawks also received the loaded contract of Solomon Hill, giving the Pelicans some much-needed cap space.
Because the Davis to LA trade can’t be made official until July 6, all of the pieces involved in the trade including the draft picks (Jaxson Hayes at No. 8, Nickeil Alexander-Walker at No. 18 and Marcos Louzada Silva at No. 35) have yet to join the Pelicans.
But when they do, it will only add to a now loaded young roster led by veteran guard Jrue Holiday. In fact since Williamson was selected Thursday evening, Griffin has reiterated on numerous occasions that this is not Zion’s team and that it indeed will be led by Holiday.
Another interesting aspect about this week is the assurance of Zion’s feelings towards his new home. During Zion’s introductory press conference Friday at the team’s facility in Metairie, his stepfather squashed any rumors that Williamson did not want to play for the Pelicans. He told the media that New Orleans is where Zion wants to be and that he is excited to suit up for the Pelicans.
And based on the reaction from many who attended the team’s draft party when Zion was officially taken first overall, the feeling is mutual.