Former Pelican J.J. Reddick: Zion Williamson ‘a separate teammate’

In response to the news that CJ McCollum He hasn’t had a chance yet to talk to him swans star Zion Williamson Since it was acquired by New Orleans on this month’s trading deadline, an ESPN analyst JJ Riddick He expressed his disbelief and criticized Williamson for not interacting with the team.

“This is a bit crazy for me. There is a decent public behavior that you should enforce as a member of the team,” Reddick said on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday (video link). “Look, I wasn’t the best player in any team I was in, but if there was a possibility of possession, if there was a possibility of trading, I would always communicate with my teammates. I called Ersan EliasovaI called Marco [Belinelli]I called Wes Matthews She tries to get him to come to Philly. It just shows the complete lack of investment in your team, in the organization, in the city.”

Williamson, who underwent foot surgery during the holiday season, is yet to play this season and has been rehabilitating away from the team since early January. However, Redick doesn’t see that as a reasonable excuse for the star not reaching out to McCollum.

“I understand he’s injured and out of the squad, but you just traded one of the top 50 players in the league, a guy who’s supposed to be with you,” Riddick said. “Connect and say hi.”

An ESPN analyst’s opinions about a player are usually not newsworthy, since that analyst often shares his two years without any inside information about the player or team. However, this situation is somewhat different.

Besides being a teammate with Williamson from 2019-21 before retiring as a player, Redick is also a Duke alum teammate, a CAA teammate, and has publicly criticized the Pelicans’ chief of basketball operations David Griffinas Scott Kushner from NOLA.com Tweets. As such, Riddick’s comments about Zion are especially surprising.

“This is a pattern of behavior with Zion that we see over and over again. And look, I was his teammate. I can describe him as an independent fellow. That’s an accurate statement,” Riddick said. “That’s the basic level of humanity, being a teammate. Text a guy when he’s being traded with your team. That’s just normal behaviour. That’s the bare minimum you have to do.”

“…This is something I addressed with Zion in front of the team,” Redick was added later. “This goes back to his rookie year. There is a responsibility on you as an athlete when you play a team sport to be fully invested. You fully invest in your body, fully invest in your work, fully invest in your teammates. This is your responsibility, and we have not seen that from Zion.”

Williamson’s desire to play for the Pelicans has been called into question since the 2019 draft lottery, when New Orleans won first place over larger market teams like the Knicks and Lakers. One report during the 2021 offseason suggested that some members of the Williamson family wanted him out of New Orleans, while a later story claimed Zion and Griffin aren’t on particularly great terms.

For his part, the former front-runner has repeatedly stated that he would love to play in New Orleans, but Redick and fellow ESPN teammate Stephen A. Smith has expressed skepticism about Zion’s long-term commitment to the franchise.

“He’d never come out in public and say, ‘I don’t want to be in New Orleans. “But as we know, Stephen A, because we follow the league, where there is smoke, there is fire,” Riddick said. “You haven’t heard rumors about her Giannis [Antetokounmpo] Being unhappy in Milwaukee. With Zion, I’ve heard that now for the past three years.”

Williamson will be eligible to extend the junior metric through the 2022 season. Although no player has ever refused to extend the rookie salary cap range, it is unclear whether the Pelicans would be comfortable even putting this kind of offer on the table, given that injuries It has limited Williamson to just 85 games since entering the league in 2019.

When the Sixers . spilled Joel Embiid After his third season in the NBA, he only appeared in 31 games during his career, so the two sides agreed to include injury-related language in his cap in order to protect the team. The Pelicans and Williamson could theoretically explore a similar arrangement, but they would first have to determine if the Federation was one so that they wanted to continue for the next several seasons.

“New Orleans is going to have to make some kind of decision here,” Riddick said. “We’ve seen this now for three years.”

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