Zion Williamson’s perilous status with the New Orleans Pelicans is one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA.
There is a reason why his flirtation with the New York Knicks has gotten louder and more blatant over the past year.
Between Williamson’s clashes with now-former head coach Stan Van Gundy and all the leaks about his general frustration that have come from his team, it’s clear that things aren’t going great in The Big Easy.
More evidence of that fact emerged this week.
According to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, Williamson’s frustration with the Pelicans is very real – and it dates back to something that happened his rookie year.
“Throughout his rookie season, Williamson had grown increasingly frustrated with the Pelicans for the number of hoops they required him to jump through to return from the knee injury he suffered in the preseason,” Clark wrote.
“The team initially provided a return-to-play timetable of six to eight weeks, but it took more than three months for Williamson to get back on the floor. When he was finally given the thumbs up to play, he was placed on “burst” limits, which he detested. The way Williamson’s return was handled caused significant tension between him and the team’s medical staff, sources said.”
Williamson is a unique talent, but also a polarizing one. NBA legend Charles Oakley offered a very controversial opinion of him recently – one that was then echoed by Hall of Famer Karl Malone.
Even Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t seem fully sold on Williamson yet.
Jake Paul is ready for war. https://t.co/PmklEb92K8
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 22, 2021
Clearly the Pelicans would much rather retain Williamson than lose him, but at a certain point you have to weigh the risk of him walking for nothing in two years.
This is a situation worth monitoring. If the relationship between Williamson and the Pelicans doesn’t improve over the next year – there’s a very good chance it’ll get a lot worse from here.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.