Zion Williamson Says He Apologized to CJ McCollum for Not Reaching Out After TradeApril 29, 2022
If there was ever any tension between Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum, it seems to be water under the bridge at this point for the New Orleans Pelicans teammates.
In February, ESPN's Malika Andrews reported McCollum said Williamson eventually reached out to him after the guard was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Pelicans—but only after he revealed during an interview with TNT that the two had not spoken.
"Honestly, I was focused on rehabbing around that time," Williamson told reporters Friday. "I texted CJ shortly after to apologize about that. Like I said, I was mentally not in a good space. Mr. McCollum, he was cool about it."
Williamson also joked that he called McCollum "Mr. I'm gonna get to the bottom of it."
McCollum's interview with TNT was during the All-Star break, when Williamson was also in the headlines because former Pelicans teammate JJ Redick said on ESPN's First Take that his fellow Duke product had been "detached" as a teammate and should have initially reached out to McCollum:
First Take @FirstTake
.<a href="https://twitter.com/jj_redick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jj_redick</a> is concerned with how "detached" Zion Williamson has been from the team. <br><br>"This is a pattern of behavior that we are seeing again and again with Zion." <a href="https://t.co/EmE6BeBvjv">pic.twitter.com/EmE6BeBvjv</a>
Redick was a teammate of Williamson's during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
Christian Clark of NOLA.com also reported in February that Williamson had been "uncommunicative with his New Orleans Pelicans teammates while he’s been away from the team rehabilitating his fractured right foot."
However, things seemed to have turned in a positive direction in New Orleans since these reports.
While Williamson did not play this season, the team overcame a 3-16 start and rallied to make the play-in tournament. They then won two straight against the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers to make the postseason, where they pushed the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games in a competitive first-round series.
A group that includes McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, Herbert Jones and Jose Alvarado looks like one that can win in the future, especially if a potential star like Williamson is healthy and added to the mix.
The power forward seemed excited about that future Friday when he told reporters he "couldn't sign it fast enough" when asked about a possible contract extension.
The ceiling in New Orleans is much higher with him in the fold, and that comment was surely a welcome sign for the franchise hoping to develop into a legitimate Western Conference contender in the near future.