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First Luka. Now the Athletic reports Pelicans making Zion and his family unhappy



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 2 months ago '07        #1
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Bkjj11  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x72
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First Luka. Now the Athletic reports Pelicans making Zion and his family unhappy
 

 

Parting ways with Stan Van Gundy after just one season is not the biggest problem facing the New Orleans Pelicans. They have been unable to put together the right elements to make rising star Zion Williamson and his family happy, and multiple sources have told The Athletic that certain family members want Williamson on another team.

For months, sources from all NBA corners have pointed to the Pelicans as a heap of dysfunction. There was a growing unease between Van Gundy and his players, and Van Gundy and the New Orleans front office, which came to a head Wednesday with the veteran coach and organization agreeing to part ways with three years left on his contract. Most of the attention, however, from numerous sources across the league, has centered on Williamson’s family members’ thinly veiled unhappiness with the Pelicans, and whether those feelings seeped into the player’s own views.

At his end of season press conference, his frustrations were made evident. “It’s disappointing. I’d be lying to you if I said anything else,” Williamson said, when addressing the team’s performance this year. “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 control Williamson’s contract situation for at least three more years after making him the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft. Those who know Williamson well say he just wants to win and compete at the highest level. They say he remains focused on basketball and helping New Orleans win next season. Over his first two seasons, Williamson has already established himself as an All-Star forward whose affable, carefree and passionate style on the court makes him a fan-favorite. A franchise that three seasons ago had to deal with Anthony Davis’ trade demands, which began with grumblings from Davis’ father, the Pelicans know not to misread the tea leaves here. No one as young and as inexperienced as Williamson has tried to force their way out via trade before. Across the league, however, it has become common practice among veteran NBA stars to do just that.

During the training camp portion of the NBA’s season restart at Disney last season, Williamson was dealing with a minor leg injury, to the point where it had forced him out of portions of Pelicans practice. Shortly after that, he left the bubble for what both the team and player would only say was an “urgent family medical matter.” Neither the team nor family ever disclosed what the issue was. Two sources with knowledge of Zion’s absence said there was an issue, but questioned the urgency to leave the bubble, which kept him away from the team for about a week.

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. Among the targets of their criticism was Van Gundy, who they felt was too rigid and demanding as head coach, but also with the organization, 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.

When the Pels traded J.J. Red*ck to Dallas in March, it not only upset Red*ck but also is said to have irritated Williamson. Red*ck had asked to either be traded before the season or to stay in New Orleans all season for family reasons and proceeded to blast the organization and executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin on his podcast after the trade. Red*ck was a veteran with whom Williamson had grown comfortable in their two seasons together, and the dysfunction Red*ck accused the Pelicans of harboring is said to have stoked some of Williamson’s own feelings with regards to the direction of the franchise.

“I don’t think you’re going to get honesty from that (New Orleans) front office, objectively speaking,” Red*ck said after the trade, echoing the exact line of criticism people close to Williamson had levied against the Pelicans. “That’s an opinion. I just don’t think you’re gonna get that. I don’t think what happened with me is necessarily an isolated incident. It’s not something where I would expect certainly the agents who worked on this with me to ever trust that front office again.”


After a game at Madison Square Garden in April, Williamson was asked about playing his first game as a pro in New York. He flashed that multi-million-dollar smile and said: “I’m glad you asked that, actually. New York is the Mecca of basketball. I love playing here. I’ve played here in college. This is my first time playing here in the pros. This atmosphere, whether they are cheering for you or booing for you, it’s amazing. Honestly, outside of New Orleans, obviously, I think this might be my favorite place to play outside of New Orleans.”

After Williamson said it, Pelicans officials were quick to point to “outside of New Orleans” as evidence he didn’t actually want to leave.

Van Gundy, 61, who has now served as a head coach for four teams and compiled a 554-425 record over 13 seasons, informed his coaching staff in a face-to-face meeting Wednesday that he would not return. a*sistants said they were going through pre-draft workouts and not expecting this news.

On a late-season bus trip, Van Gundy was venting frustrations to an a*sistant after a loss. According to Van Gundy, someone who overheard the conversation reported back to Griffin that Van Gundy was so frustrated that he might not return. Also, leading up to the final weekend of the regular season, a meeting between Van Gundy and Griffin did not go well — with dozens of sources chatting about it after it happened.

Van Gundy guided the Pelicans to a 31-41 record in his lone season. He was hired to replace Alvin Gentry, who was fired after the Pelicans didn’t make the playoffs in Williamson’s first pro season. Throughout the season, Van Gundy’s coaching style grated on the roster, creating questions about whether he was the proper hire for a young, up-and-coming team.

Sources indicated that Brandon Ingram, an All-Star under Gentry, was not a fan of Van Gundy’s coaching style. Ingram openly talked about the way Van Gundy used Williamson and him in certain offensive sets and how they rarely worked together to get each other easier looks.

Van Gundy was also unhappy for large portions of the season, exasperated over how much difficulty he was having getting the young core to buy into a commitment to defense. Van Gundy and his wife relocated to New Orleans from central Florida, where they lived full time after his job with the Detroit Pistons ended following the 2018 season. He was working as a TV analyst for TNT when the Pelicans hired him in October.

Two potential in-house candidates to replace Van Gundy are a*sistants Fred Vinson and Teresa Weatherspoon, though Griffin said during his news conference Wednesday that her candidacy was “premature.” If hired, of course, Weatherspoon would not just be the first woman full-time head coach in the NBA, but in any major American men’s professional sport. Outside candidates likely to get a look include Chauncey Billups, currently a Clippers a*sistant, and Jacque Vaughn, an a*sistant in Brooklyn.

Vinson, who is interested in the job, is the longest-tenured coach on the staff, having worked in New Orleans since 2010, and gained notice recently for the work he’s done with Ingram and Lonzo Ball on their jump shots.

“When I came here, my shot wasn’t working,” Ball said after a win over Houston in April where he hit a career-high eight 3-pointers. “Pretty much all the credit goes to Fred (Vinson). We have been grinding ever since and now you can see the work paying off.”

Along with their search for a new head coach, the Pelicans have some major decisions this summer concerning two of the better young players on the roster.
Ball and Josh Hart could be heading into restricted free agency, and both will be looking for lucrative new deals after the growth they’ve shown during the past two seasons in New Orleans.

Ball and Hart were traded to New Orleans as part of the blockbuster Davis deal in 2019 and were given an opportunity to play substantial roles as core pieces next to franchise cornerstones Williamson and Ingram.

Hart has become one of the loudest voices for a young team that has lacked forceful leadership, and his presence was severely missed during the final 25 games of the regular season as he recovered from thumb surgery.

Ball has also developed a strong bond with Williamson and Ingram over time, and both franchise players lobbied for him to return next season during their end-of-season pressers in May — something to consider if indeed Williamson’s happiness in New Orleans is in question.

“It’d be dope. Me, Brandon and Zo, the three of us have a great relationship,” Williamson said. “I really would want Zo to come back. He knows that. But you know, like I said, the reality of the situation is Zo is a grown man, so he’ll make the decision that’s best for him. The only thing I can say is, I hope he stays.”
Ingram added, “In my exit meeting, I talked a lot about (Ball and Hart), especially Zo. I think he’s a generational talent in his passing ability. The things he sees on the basketball floor that nobody else sees, how he can manipulate the game and on the defensive end, his anticipation.”

The Pels will also look to see if they can trade either Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams or both. The two aging vets will tie up $35 million in cap space next season.


Last edited by Bkjj11; 06-17-2021 at 10:16 AM..
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 2 months ago '20        #2
5ive04our  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x127
Props total: 70607 70 K  Slaps total: 15204 15 K
“Some family members want Zion on a new team”


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 2 months ago '06        #3
WigzBeenSplit  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x5
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Awwwww sh*t


Zion to the nix!
+5   

 2 months ago '15        #4
Cooley High  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x3
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You know what you need to do Zion
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 2 months ago '16        #5
Supreme God  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x12
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I think everybody knows it's only a matter of when, not if Zion leaves. Pelicans a breeding ground for high picked talent to develop best they can in a trash organization, before a good team finally gets them out of there.

It's also an Instagram league now. Old school hard coaching and developing isn't allowed now.


Last edited by Supreme God; 06-17-2021 at 10:32 AM..
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 2 months ago '05        #6
blah blah blah  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x24
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All leflabbys fault. n*ggas quitting after 1-2 years wanna take the easy route and team up
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 2 months ago '04        #7
ATLDOPEBOI24 
Props total: 19443 19 K  Slaps total: 2615 2 K
Go somewhere where you have a complete team around a you and not just for name and history sake.
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 2 months ago '07        #8
Bkjj11  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x72 OP
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 blah blah blah said
All leflabbys fault. n*ggas quitting after 1-2 years wanna take the easy route and team up
rent free. sleeper cell isis a*s
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 2 months ago '05        #9
Tha TC  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x3
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David Griffin is fu*king up from reading the article everything points right back at him. Anyone who's halfway competent knew that SVG was a horrible hire. Dude is getting by off of his last name.
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 2 months ago '10        #10
tallulahmademe 
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Hate it when people throw sh*t at the wall.
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 2 months ago '15        #11
Preacher Mane  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x3
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I don’t even care anymore. fu*k it.
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 2 months ago '10        #12
TheGift 
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it begins
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 2 months ago '05        #13
blah blah blah  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x24
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 Bkjj11 said
rent free. sleeper cell isis a*s
Sleeper cell crip wannabe terrorist
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 2 months ago '05        #14
Tha TC  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x3
Props total: 30506 30 K  Slaps total: 1482 1 K
SVG cost himself a championship because of ego potentially yes it’s a big if… but Skip to my Lou had to take a back seat to Jameer 5’9 Nelson . Jameer got his a*s torched.
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 2 months ago '08        #15
Main Event  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x3
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lol these n*ggas soft. take ya lumps
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 2 months ago '07        #16
Bkjj11  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x72 OP
Props total: 160944 160 K  Slaps total: 26941 26 K
 blah blah blah said
Sleeper cell crip wannabe terrorist
ill add that next time

 2 months ago '07        #17
N.O.4Life  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x6
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 5ive04our said
ďSome family members want Zion on a new teamĒ


Athletic out here asking his little brother for quotes and sh*t

NBA really need to do something bout these trash a*s reporters

If this sh*t is false or taken out of context, Imagine being that fam and have to go to games in New Orleans

Reporters donít give a fu*k tho. They just in it for the clicks I guess
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 2 months ago '20        #18
finding formula 
Props total: 1940 1 K  Slaps total: 196 196
 Tha TC said
SVG cost himself a championship because of ego potentially yes itís a big ifÖ but Skip to my Lou had to take a back seat to Jameer 5í9 Nelson . Jameer got his a*s torched.
I hear this a lot, but Alston wound up playing almost 30 minutes a night in the finals and wasn't great by any stretch in them

 2 months ago '20        #19
5ive04our  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x127
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 N.O.4Life said
Athletic out here asking his little brother for quotes and sh*t

NBA really need to do something bout these trash a*s reporters

If this sh*t is false or taken out of context, Imagine being that fam and have to go to games in New Orleans

Reporters donít give a fu*k tho. They just in it for the clicks I guess
LBJ went through the same thing in Cleveland with coaches. Crazy to see a person unhappy with an organization which is tailored around him.

 2 months ago '15        #20
donnyyy  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x6
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I love how they always try to vilify players family members as if they're evil and selfish and just wanna use their family for ill gain.


JJ Redd*ck told them about the organization not long ago.

 2 months ago '16        #21
BxCastro 
Props total: 25997 25 K  Slaps total: 3293 3 K
fu*k Zion family they dont play

Develop a mid range jumper this summer and stop bi*ching
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 2 months ago '15        #22
donnyyy  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x6
Props total: 17288 17 K  Slaps total: 2102 2 K
 N.O.4Life said
Athletic out here asking his little brother for quotes and sh*t

NBA really need to do something bout these trash a*s reporters

If this sh*t is false or taken out of context, Imagine being that fam and have to go to games in New Orleans

Reporters donít give a fu*k tho. They just in it for the clicks I guess
You knew it was coming though.

They're looking for their next cash cow so they wanna suggest dude going to a big market like they always do.

Build a guy up only to try to get him traded. Looking at their future "reporting" where they can constantly pump him up for clicks on the daily but only in a bigger market.

It's pathetic and i agree with you, but the NBA is too interested in money to stop it.

 2 months ago '04        #23
strahan2004 
Props total: 978 978  Slaps total: 325 325
He'll come to the Knicks and there's nothing you can do about it... Prophecy.

 2 months ago '04        #24
Kadroan  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x16
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 5ive04our said
LBJ went through the same thing in Cleveland with coaches. Crazy to see a person unhappy with an organization which is tailored around him.
Eh, tailored around him? I don't think so. Zion should be surrounded by shooters 1-5.

Instead of getting a dinosaur like Adams, they should have gotten Horford and a 3&D SG not washed Bledsoe

 2 months ago '20        #25
5ive04our  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x127
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 Kadroan said
Eh, tailored around him? I don't think so. Zion should be surrounded by shooters 1-5.

Instead of getting a dinosaur like Adams, they should have gotten Horford and a 3&D SG not washed Bledsoe


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