By Ed Daniels, Clarion Herald Sports
The reporting began moments after the Pelicans won the NBA draft lottery.
Zion Williamson, college basketball’s player of the year and the presumed first pick, was allegedly unhappy about the result.
On Twitter, an ESPN reporter wrote that Zion quickly was whisked out of the room after the Pelicans won the lottery.
The narrative that somehow Williamson didn’t want to play for the Pelicans and would perhaps even consider going back to Duke was later shot down by Zion’s stepfather.
National reporters, and, of course, ESPN, were salivating over the possibility that Williamson would play for the Knicks or perhaps the Lakers. After all, those are major TV markets with stellar organizations.
But the Knicks haven’t won an NBA title since 1973, and have won one playoff series since the 1998-1999 season. And, since 2012, they are on their fifth head coach. Since 2011, they have had three general managers, including Steve Mills, twice. In 2014, the hiring of soothsayer Phil Jackson was supposed to vault the Knicks into contention.
How did that work out?
The Knicks of course, are owned by James Dolan. Dolan was lambasted for having a fan ejected from Madison Square Garden. The fan had the temerity to tell Dolan to sell the team.
The incident prompted a New York state senator to question why the Knicks get $50 million in tax breaks. Why not invest that money in Penn Station?
The Lakers are of course, the Lakers. They are that symbol of NBA greatness that over the past six years has averaged 27 wins a season. The Lakers have won one playoff game since their last championship in 2010.
This offseason, the Lakers wanted Tyronn Lue to be their head coach, but when Los Angeles reportedly tried to dictate who was on his coaching staff, he declined.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans have hired a respected basketball man, David Griffin. Guard Jrue Holiday is on their team, and New Orleans should get a plethora of assets in an Anthony Davis trade.
Those assets plus Williamson and Holiday would appear to be a pretty solid nucleus.
And, there should be no question that Davis should be traded. In late January, when Davis and his agent tried to force a trade to the Lakers, any bridge for him to return to New Orleans was on very shaky ground.
Davis wearing a “That’s all Folks” T-shirt to the home finale and then saying that someone else picks out his clothes, was not a good look. If he thought the shirt was inappropriate, he should have chosen another.
What I would tell Williamson is this: Even after Anthony Davis requested a trade, some Davis jerseys could be spotted at the Smoothie King Center. And, despite a smattering of boos, he also heard cheers.
We are a warm, welcoming city. Bring us a championship, like Drew Brees did with the Saints, and you are iconic for life.
And, oh by the way, the food and the music are out of this world.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.