The New Orleans Pelicans have been one of the best surprises in the entire NBA this season after starting out the year with an abysmal 1-12 record in their first 13 games.
Even more impressive, they have done so without their face of the franchise Zion Williamson.
Earlier this season, they traded for veteran guard C.J. McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers, and he has fit in seamlessly playing with 2020 NBA All-Star Brandon Ingram.
I believe that the Pelicans should move Williamson in a deal to acquire All-Star guard Damian Lillard.
The Pelicans had Williamson for last season, and the former Duke superstar was an All-Star and averaged an incredible 27.0 PPG on over 61% shooting from the field.
However, the team with Williamson and Ingram went just 31-41, which did not even qualify them for the play-in tournament (they were the 11th seed).
Williamson has also only played in 85 games through his first three seasons due to injuries, and has not appeared in a single game so far this year.
The Pelicans clearly have found momentum with Ingram, McCollum and all of their role players.
They are in a series with the Phoenix Suns and down 3-2, but nobody was giving them any kind of chance to win, and they are showing that they belong.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard is on the Trail Blazers, who have no shot at contending as the roster is currently constructed and he will be 32-years-old next season.
Swapping the two stars (and salary fillers to make the deal work) could be the best outcome for both parties.
The Pelicans could reunite Lillard and McCollum, who had played together for nearly a decade and made a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2019, while the Trail Blazers could begin their rebuild with a 21-year-old All-Star.
Lillard and McCollum have never played with a third star anywhere near the caliber of Ingram.
He could be the missing the piece for the star duo to make a legitimate run at their first NBA Finals.
They also avoid the long-term injury risk that Williamson carries, which could hamper any plans that the franchise has to make a deep run in a postseason in the future.
The hypothetical deal could be one of the most win-win trades in league history.