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#pounditThursday, August 6, 2020

Zion Williamson

Pelicans exec raves about Zion Williamson’s condition

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson will be one of the most anticipated participants in the NBA’s planned restart in Orlando, and he seems to be ready for the task.

Speaking this week with ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Andrew Lopez, New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin raved about the No. 1 overall pick’s condition roughly a month before the resumption of play.

“Zion has been diligent about taking care of himself,” said Griffin. “He’s in a good space physically and mentally.”

The 19-year-old Williamson missed the first several months of his rookie season due to a meniscus tear. When Williamson returned, he averaged a stout 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game but only got to make 19 appearances before play was suspended in mid-March.

Some reports suggested that the NBA made certain to include Williamson and the Pelicans, who were outside the playoff picture, in Orlando. Regardless of whether that was ultimately true, Williamson looks poised to make the most of his extra airtime.

Zion Williamson’s former agent accidentally sent subpoena to dentist in Indiana

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent is trying to get the NBA star to testify as part of a high-profile lawsuit, but it does not seem to be going well at all.

The attorneys for Gina Ford, Williamson’s former marketing director, filed a subpoena Wednesday meant to be sent to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. According to Dana O’Neil of The Athletic, it was instead sent to the offices of Douglas J. Kosek, a dentist in South Bend. The confusion seems to stem from the fact that Kosek started an NCAA LLC in February.

When informed that NCAA headquarters were in Indianapolis and not South Bend, one of Ford’s attorneys, Larry Strauss, responded “Gosh, is that where it is located?”

Another co-attorney, Alvin Pittman, said that the missent subpoena was likely a “clerical error.”

“It must be a clerical error,” Pittman told O’Neil. “We are unaware of everything that gets done. We don’t do all of the typing. Obviously, this is a mistake we need to look into.”

Obviously. This isn’t exactly a huge endorsement of the competence of Ford’s lawyers or the plausibility of her case. She has alleged that Williamson illegally accepted benefits while playing for Duke, including luxury cars and a house. She has even threatened to subpoena Mike Krzyzewski, not to mention Williamson himself.

For now, it’s been ruled that Williamson won’t have to answer any questions under oath for now. If Ford’s lawyers can’t figure out where NCAA headquarters are, he may never have to at this rate.

Zion Williamson will not have to answer questions in lawsuit, for now

Zion Williamson

There has been a new development in the legal case between Zion Williamson and his former marketing agent, Gina Ford.

In 2019, Williamson filed a lawsuit in North Carolina against Ford, alleging that his marketing agreement with her company, Prime Sports Marketing, was invalid under the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Ford is not a registered agent in North Carolina and therefore, Williamson’s team believes a contract Williamson signed with her in North Carolina would be void.

Ford filed a suit in Florida saying that Williamson is not protected under the Uniform Athlete Agent Act because he took improper benefits while at Duke, which would make him an ineligible player according to NCAA rules.

Earlier this month, a Florida 11th Circuit Court judge ruled that Williamson would have to give discovery, and therefore answer questions about his eligibility.

Williamson’s legal team filed an appeal and was granted a stay on Wednesday.

The court said that the originally filed lawsuit in North Carolina will be handled first before they enter discovery on the case in Florida. Legal analyst Daniel Wallach has previously said he does not think Williamson will have to face discovery about his eligibility. This ruling helps support that idea.

Williamson, who became the No. 1 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans, broke his contract with Prime Sports Marketing to sign with Creative Artists Agency.

Zion Williamson limited edition rookie card sells for nearly $100k

Zion Williamson

It appears Zion Williamson rookie cards are already worth a lot of cash — to some people, at least.

As noted by Darren Rovell of The Action Network, a Williamson rookie card recently sold on eBay for $99,800. The card, at least as depicted on the listing, is both signed and numbered and one of just 99 produced.

How hot a property is Williamson right now? There’s chatter that the NBA is going out of its way to try to get him into the playoffs this year. That’s real star power, for better or worse.

Disclaimer: An eBay auction being won for a certain price does not mean the winning bidder paid the money. Please note that card collecting is rife with scams where markets for certain cards can be fixed.

Zion Williamson’s former agent says house, luxury cars prove Duke paid Pelicans star

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has been accused of accepting illegal benefits while at Duke, and the latest court documents filed by his former agent claim the life of luxury Williamson’s parents were living during the New Orleans Pelicans star’s lone season with the Blue Devils is proof of that.

Williamson is involved in a lawsuit with his former marketing agent, Gina Ford of Prime Sports Marketing. Ford is suing Williamson for allegedly breaching his deal with her agency to sign with Creative Artists Agency. Williamson’s attorneys filed a motion last month to try blocking a legal inquiry into the former Duke star’s college eligibility, and the motion was initially denied. Three days later, a different judge ruled in favor of Williamson and granted the 19-year-old a temporary stay that states he and his attorneys do not have to answer questions under oath.

Ford is still trying to make the case that Williamson and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski should be forced to answer questions under oath. In Ford’s latest filing, she cited the fact that Williamson’s parents went from paying less than $900 a month in rent before Zion arrived at Duke to living in a $950,000 house that cost nearly $5,000 per month while Williamson was playing for the Blue Devils.

Ford also pointed to the three luxury cars that were registered in Williamson’s parents’ name.

Williamson’s attorney, of course, fired back and ripped Ford’s latest filing.

Williamson’s family had previously been accused of taking illegal benefits before Ford filed her lawsuit.

The ultimate goal from Ford is likely to threaten Williamson and Duke to the point where a settlement seems like the best option. That would be a sure way to protect damaging information from becoming public. If Williamson and Duke have anything to hide, that is still a possible — if not likely — outcome.

Judge rules Zion Williamson must answer questions under oath about Duke benefits

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has been accused by his former marketing agent of accepting illegal benefits while at Duke, and a judge ruled this week that the New Orleans Pelicans star must answer questions about the allegations under oath.

Williamson is involved in a lawsuit with his former marketing agent, Gina Ford of Prime Sports Marketing. Ford is suing Williamson for allegedly breaching his deal with her agency to sign with Creative Artists Agency. Last week, Williamson’s attorneys filed a motion to try blocking a legal inquiry into the former Duke star’s college eligibility. A Florida state court judge denied that request on Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Florida 11th Circuit Court Judge David Miller ruled that Williamson must answer under oath any interrogatories and requests for admissions from attorneys representing Prime Sports Marketing. Williamson’s legal team is expected to file an appeal.

Ford is trying to prove that Williamson took illegal benefits while at Duke and therefore was ineligible for the NCAA and is not protected by North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act. This is not the first time Williamson and/or his family have been accused of taking improper benefits.

If Williamson is forced to answer inquiries under oath and the allegations are true, it could be even more problematic for Duke than it is for the 19-year-old.

NBA trying to expand playoffs to get Zion Williamson in?

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson seems to be basketball’s next big star, and the NBA may be trying to maximize his exposure.

Speaking Thursday on “The Hoop Collective,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that some around the league believe the NBA’s proposed plan for an expanded postseason is designed to get Williamson and his New Orleans Pelicans in.

“I’ve already heard people in this league say this is an elaborate game to get Zion Williamson into this bubble,” said Windorst, per Real GM. “I’ll tell you one thing: that scenario gets Zion Williamson in. Look, I’ve just heard.

“I’m not saying the NBA is going this route, I’m just saying I’ve already heard this scenario that no matter what happens, the cutoff line will be the Pelicans,” Windhorst added. “They’ll be in. It will be the first time in the history of the NBA that the league kicked the ball into the fairway for New Orleans.”

Recent reports suggested that the NBA was considering a World Cup-style group stage format for the playoffs (which you can read more about here). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that such a format would include the 16 playoff teams, plus those on the cusp such as Williamson’s Pelicans.

The Pelicans were tenth in the West and 18th in the league overall at 28-36 before the season was suspended. New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said earlier this month that Williamson may have certain restrictions if play does resume, but having the No. 1 overall pick present in any way would obviously increase the buzz surrounding the playoffs even further.