Just a day after the New Orleans Pelicans fired head coach Stan Van Gundy after just one season, Zion Williamson’s family members have reportedly become critical of the organization and want to see the 20-year-old Pelicans star out of New Orleans.
According to Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and William Guillory of The Athletic, certain members of Zion’s family “want Williamson on another team.”
“The Pels made changes to their support staff to fit Williamson’s wishes over the offseason, and he returned in much better physical condition. But for most of this season, certain Williamson family members voiced displeasure with the organization,” the report read.
“Among the targets of their criticism was Van Gundy, who they felt was too rigid and demanding as head coach, but also with the Pelicans, which they claim did not live up to what they felt should be the standard for a star like Williamson. Numerous opposing league executives had heard the complaints, and they were confirmed by Pelicans officials.”
The news arrives after the Pelicans have missed the playoffs in each of Williamson’s first two NBA seasons. Zion seemed to exhibit his own frustration at an end-of-season press conference.
“It’s disappointing,” Zion told reporters in May. “I’d be lying to you if I said anything else,” he said. “It’s very disappointing. But the best thing we can do is regroup, come together as a team, come together as coaches this offseason, talk and do what we need to do to be better next year. It’s not much to it, we just gotta be better.”
The Pelicans still have Williamson under team control for at least three more seasons, assuming they don’t agree to an extension when he’s eligible to sign one next summer and extend him a qualifying offer after the 2022-23 season.