Pelicans are burning: Zion's environment wants him to leave the team

As Shams Charania has revealed, Zion's problems with the organization are a fact and the player's family wants him out of New Orleans.


The Pelicans are in trouble. Structural, sporty and of all colors. Nothing and nobody is capable of sustaining a project that does not seem such and that is leaving an irrepressible string of corpses since Anthony Davis packed his bags and headed to Los Angeles. The brand new signing David Griffin, who replaced the maligned Dell Demps and closed the signing that his predecessor had failed to complete. And what seemed like a good horde of young talent has come to nothing, first with Alvin Gentry and then with Stan Van Gundy. And, in between, the arrival of a Zion Williamson who, in theory, came to change everything, but has been immersed in a disaster of epic dimensions, typical of an organization that does not have a clear plan for the future, and whose past It barely covers, in New Orleans, and like the Pelicans, eight years of existence and two short-lived playoff appearances (20115 and 2018) .

The last few days have precipitated events. Stan Van Gundy was fired after just one year in office and three more on his contract to go; and all, weeks after Zion's public statements at the end of the regular season without even contesting the play-in, those in which he said how disappointed he was. Many analysts have warned that the star's patience is finite, and the player's own smiles when asked about New York in his first game there and he answered that the Big Apple was "the mecca of basketball." Zion has averaged 27 points, more than 7 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season, in which he has played his first All Star. But the disaster of the franchise on the track has caused his impatience to intensify.

According to Sham Charania in an extraordinary article in The Athletic, the problems were already present during the past year, when he left the bubble alleging personal problems without his family or the franchise giving clues about what was happening. Williamson's theoretical anger prompted Griffin to make changes in an attempt to please him, and the star responded by arriving in great physical form at the training camp. But during the course, complaints have leaked out in the rigid style of Van Gundy, one of the moves aimed at pleasing Zion. And not only did they talk about the coach, but also about the organization, which in the opinion of the player's environment, did not behave with following the star status that in theory corresponded to him.

Problems worsened during the season, especially with the transfer of JJ Redick, with whom Zion had a close relationship. The star did not like this move, and his anger was compounded by further problems with Van Gundy, whose relationship with Griffin left much to be desired. Nor were the players especially happy, specifically a Brandon Ingram who wanted more prominence in attack. Ingram's blackout, which came in the Anthony Davis trade, came with the arrival of Zion last year and has intensified in the present. Neither Gentry nor Van Gundy managed to find their place in the game scheme alongside Zion, who monopolized the area and even raised the ball. Ingram was All Star last year, but in the present he has not had the desired prominence nor has he managed to be the player whose future was looming bright just a few months ago.A very uncertain future

Right now, nothing is known about the Pelicans, unless they have no direction or coach, that Zion is angry and that the project, if it can be called that, is hanging by a thread. Fred Vinson and Teresa Weatherspoon, assistants to a Van Gundy who promised his wife that his last job would be the Pistons and later moved with her to New Orleans, are two candidates for the bench. Billups and Jacque Vaughn have options too. For now, those are the minimum clues for the future of the franchise; Generally speaking, Rick Carlisle has just been left without a team, half of the NBA is without a technician and madness is the bread and butter of a competition, the American one, which suffers a setback every day, either in the form of a stellar injury or premature dismissal.

As for the Pelicans, Griffin will have to decide what to do with Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams, who will occupy 35 million salary space for the next season. And also how long Ingram's experiment with a Zion endures that they must satisfy so as not to suffer the ups and downs of the era of the empowered player, and that ends up leaving a small market and a franchise that does not raise its head or see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Pelicans have no sense, no direction, no coach, and no structural makeup that invites the future. And, above all, they are not happy with their star or that environment that has caused so many headaches in other places in the NBA. Zion's, very familiar, is not happy in New Orleans, a city that lives off the Saints and LSU, but has no sports or emotional connection with an entity with which they are not represented. Decision time at the Pelicans. And they better be good. In those are

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