Zion Williamson is in the middle of an apparent rift between the Pelicans and his family.
Some of the New Orleans star’s family members are unhappy with the organization and want the 2019 No. 1 pick to join another team worthy of his star power, according to The Athletic.
Zion turns 21 in July.
Members of the Williamson family were reportedly vocal this season about their resentment toward the team — including former coach Stan Van Gundy, whom the Pelicans announced Wednesday they parted ways with, following a disappointing 31-41 run.
According to The Athletic, the Williamson family feels that Van Gundy was “too rigid and demanding as head coach.” They reportedly believe the Pelicans aren’t up to Zion’s standards.
The latter complaints were heard by a number of league execs outside the Pelicans organization and, according to The Athletic, were confirmed by Pelicans officials.
Williamson even developed his own frustrations with the organization over its handling of JJ Redick, who was furious after he was traded to the Mavericks because he believed the team would honor his wish to pick a situation that was best for his family.
Despite his family’s alleged issues with the team, “those who know Williamson well say he just wants to win and compete at the highest level” and “remains focused on basketball and helping New Orleans win next season.”
Williamson is locked into his contract in New Orleans for at least the next three seasons.
The 20-year-old had Knicks fans dreaming big after his first NBA game at MSG in April as he gushed about the building.
“I’m glad you asked that,” Williamson said with a grin. “New York is the mecca of basketball. I love playing here. I played here in college [at Duke]. This is my first time playing in the pros. This atmosphere, whether they’re cheering for you or booing you, it’s amazing. Outside of New Orleans, obviously, this might be my favorite place to play. I can’t lie to you.”
Williamson, who signed with Jordan Brand in summer 2019, averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists this season.
New Orleans’ new coach will be Zion’s third in his first three years in the league, which some would argue is a hinderance to his development.
New Orleans has a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.