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Pelicans in the news: Zion Williamson caught shooting jumpers, Jrue Holiday’s name in pertinent trade rumor

Zion inching closer to a return, Jrue inching out of New Orleans?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

While the New Orleans Pelicans may be sitting a lowly 6-21 in the win/loss column, fans far and wide will continue to tune in whenever Zion Williamson’s name is uttered or NBA trade rumors linked to the team start leaking from reputable sources.

Today we were blessed with both!

During this morning’s shootaround, Zion was caught on camera shooting a few baseline jumpers.

While ESPN’s Andrew Lopez later tweeted out that Zion isn’t a full participant in shootarounds yet, his teammates sound very eager to get him back. Reading that this roster is excited about his return is reason enough to be hopeful about better days ahead — even at some point this season.

In case you missed it, Zion’s recovery timeline is entirely dependent on his body and that’s been the case for some time now. While the news initially centered around an 6-8 week timeframe back in October, Griffin has been steadfast in saying that Zion will return to the court once he’s passed certain metrics: “if we get outside of that, it will be because he hasn’t met the metrics for return-to-play that are laid out for him and every player on our team.”

Williamson is the future and if he gets a chance to show off some of that dominating play we witnessed during preseason before the 2019-20 schedule concludes, fans, teammates, coaches and front office personnel will all sleep better at night sooner rather than later.

On the other side of the news spectrum, The New York Times’ Marc Stein stirred the social media pot by connecting JJ Redick and Jrue Holiday to trade rumors.

While there was always a strong expectation that executive vice president David Griffin would entertain moving his veterans before the trade deadline if the team wasn’t in playoff contention, Holiday had previously been considered an untouchable piece of this roster — like Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are currently regarded. According to Stein, that’s changed and I think that’s a good thing for all parties.

Holiday deserves to spend at least some of his prime years in the playoffs while the Pelicans need to refocus their longterm goals after this 12-game losing streak has eliminated any remaining doubt that this team should be kept together for next season at all costs. Holiday, for as talented as he is on a basketball floor and a wonderful human off the court, it may not be enough to justify his salary on future cap sheets or when considering his fit on Zion’s timeline.

One thing worth noting at this point in time: do not expect Griffin to jump at the best offer for either Redick or Holiday before this trade deadline. Unless either player comes to him and demands out, it is in the Pelicans best interest to wait for an overwhelming offer for either guard. One can always wait for this summer, when the offers could be higher as teams are freer by nature to agree to a deal. Also, both players are highly valued commodities in this Pelicans’ locker room, and without surefire replacements for next season, could ideally be brought back next season — when the Pelicans should look to be competitive again with Zion in the fold.

For more on this topic, including the mention of several potential landing spots for Jrue, please give our short emergency podcast at the link below a listen!