Pelicans Notes: McCollum, Zion Injury, Deadline, Richardson

In his latest diary entry for Andscape, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum touches on several interesting topics, including Zion Williamson‘s rehab setback, the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations (McCollum, the NBPA president, says those talks are going in “the right direction”), and his own health.

As McCollum explains, he has been battling a right thumb injury that has affected his ability to dribble, shoot, and catch passes. With the All-Star break around the corner, the veteran guard is somewhat relieved that he won’t be part of the festivities in Salt Lake City and will get a week to rest the injury.

“I was talking to (All-Star center Domantas) Sabonis, as we both are playing with thumb injuries,” McCollum wrote. “I’ve been playing with a splint for a few weeks now, and he actually fractured his thumb completely. So, I was looking at his thumb, he’s looking at mine. At least I get a week off. Yeah, I need a week off instead of going to go play in the All-Star Game.

“I don’t think that I’ll need surgery after the season, fingers crossed. I’ll get another image in two weeks, I believe. As of right now, I’m not under the impression that I’ll need surgery when the season’s over.”

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • William Guillory of The Athletic takes a look at seven key questions related to the latest news on Williamson, who is expected to be out for several more weeks as he recovers from his right hamstring injury. Guillory believes Williamson’s extended recovery timeline probably affected the Pelicans’ aggressiveness at the trade deadline, though he’s skeptical that the club would have been willing to offer the pieces necessary to land an impact player like OG Anunoby or Mikal Bridges even if Zion were due back soon.
  • The Pelicans’ approach to the trade deadline made it clear that the team isn’t quite ready to go “all in” yet, writes Christian Clark of The belief is that New Orleans will be willing to surrender first-round picks and go into the tax when the time is right, but the club gave up only second-round picks and shed some 2023/24 salary at last week’s deadline.
  • The Pelicans’ lone deadline addition, Josh Richardson, made his debut in Oklahoma City on Monday and head coach Willie Green liked what he saw from the veteran swingman, who had a season-high five steals. “J-Rich was good,” Green said, according to Clark. “You could see his veteran savviness on the floor. Makes great decisions defensively. I thought he changed the game with steal after steal. That’s a part of what we wanted when we acquired him.”
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