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Report: Zion Williamson's Family Members Unhappy, Want Pelicans Star on New Team

Adam WellsJune 17, 2021

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Zion Williamson is set to play for his third different head coach in three seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, and some members of his family are reportedly looking to get the 20-year-old superstar away from the organization. 

Per Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and William Guillory of The Athletic, certain members of his family "want Williamson on another team."

The report also noted that sources around the NBA are paying close attention to "Williamson's family members' thinly veiled unhappiness with the Pelicans and whether those feelings seeped into the player's own views."

Despite the apparent unhappiness from some members of Williamson's family, it was reported that people who know the Pelicans star well "say he just wants to win" and "remains focused on basketball and helping New Orleans win next season."

Stan Van Gundy is described as one of the "targets of criticism" from Williamson's family for being "too rigid and demanding as head coach." 

The Pelicans solved that problem Wednesday by announcing a parting of ways with Van Gundy after a 31-41 record this season. 

New Orleans hired Van Gundy in October to replace Alvin Gentry, who was fired after going 30-42 in 2019-20. 

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There were some issues in New Orleans that became public during the season. JJ Redick, who the Pelicans traded to the Dallas Mavericks in March, said on his podcast not long after the deal that he doesn't trust the Pelicans front office for how it handled his situation. 

"Truthfully ... I think I was a little naive thinking I was in Year 15 and I attempted to do things right throughout my career. But in terms of this front office, yeah, it's not something where I would expect certainly the agents who worked on this with me to ever trust that front office again."

ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t NBC Sports' Dan Feldman) reported in February that Redick wanted to be traded to a team in the Northeast, close to where he has a family home. 

Per The Athletic, Williamson took note of Redick's comments about New Orleans' front office because it "stoked some of (his) own feelings with regards to the direction of the franchise."

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. 

Williamson was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He has averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in 85 starts for the Pelicans over the past two seasons. 

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