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#pounditFriday, July 23, 2021

Report: Zion Williamson’s family wants him out of New Orleans

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson’s rookie deal with the New Orleans Pelicans runs through 2023, but some in his inner circle might not even be able to wait that long.

Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, and William Guillory of The Athletic released an explosive report Thursday about the Pelicans in the aftermath of head coach Stan Van Gundy’s firing. The report stated that certain members of Williamson’s family want him on another team. It also said Williamson’s family has “thinly-veiled unhappiness” with the Pelicans and voiced some displeasure with the organization for much of the season, particularly for their perceived failure to live up to the standard for a star like Williamson.

Van Gundy was allegedly one of the targets of criticism from Williamson’s family, who believed he was too rigid and demanding. The Pelicans also reportedly irritated Williamson himself with their handling of guard JJ Redick’s departure. Redick is described as a a veteran whom Williamson had grown comfortable with.

The former No. 1 overall pick Williamson had a phenomenal individual season. He finished the year with 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game on a stout 61.1 percent from the field. But the Pelicans could not even qualify for the play-in tournament, finishing 31-41. They did not fare much better when Williamson was a rookie last season either, going 30-42 under former head coach Alvin Gentry.

We recently heard that Williamson himself was unhappy with Van Gundy’s coaching style. But even with Van Gundy now ousted, it sounds like the Pelicans still have a lot more work to do to tide over Williamson’s camp.

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