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3 warning signs Zion Williamson could force trade from Pelicans soon

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans made a ton of noise this offseason, but it has honestly cost them to be nervous about the tenure of their rising superstar Zion Williamson with them. Aside from losing Lonzo Ball (whom they acquired via the Anthony Davis trade), it seems like the front office hasn’t built a smooth relationship with Williamson as well. Talk about a gut punch for Pelicans fans. 

And with the player empowerment league that the NBA is today, the Pelicans should be nervous about keeping Zion long term. New Orleans cannot afford to lose another franchise player to perhaps a bigger market or contending team. But they might not have a choice.

Here are 3 warning signs that indicate why Williamson could be out of New Orleans soon.

3. Remember that time Zion Williamson hinted he likes playing in New York? Well…

It seemed like it was all jokes and fun before, but Zion’s desire to play in New York could be more serious than initially though. Although Williamson did say that New York is the second place he likes to play next to New Orleans, the rising star still dropped a hint and that could very much impact the way the Knicks or even the Brooklyn Nets might court him to join their team one day.

It also helps that the Knicks and Nets are in a phase where they’re progressing and winning unlike the past few years. With how the NBA works right now, it’ll be dangerous for the Pelicans to continue to struggle because that won’t help them convince their young All-Star to stay. 

2. The Pelicans’ relationship with Zion Williamson seems like it won’t be fixed soon

Zion has only been in the league for two years, but the stories about his relationship with Pelicans Executive Vice President David Griffin does not sound good. It’s also alarming to read about Williamson not attending the team’s workouts in his second year with the team. 

Superstars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard have had tarnished relationships with their own front offices and look where it led them— to a different team that ended up catering to their needs more. Just like the real world, it’s normal for an employee to shift jobs because they don’t like their boss. For Williamson, his strained relationship with Griffin could be a factor moving forward. 

1. Do the New Orleans Pelicans really prioritize their basketball team? 

One caveat that has always surrounded this Pelicans team is that they’re under the same ownership with their fellow city football team, the New Orleans Saints. It’s not clear who the ownership prioritizes more, but to have to share the funds is certainly a head scratcher. You don’t see owners like Steve Balmer, Jeanie Buss or Joe Lacob have two teams in different sports in one city that splits their attention and of course investments and assets. 

Not saying that this has affected the Pelicans, but it could still factor in with their budget, marketing and everything that uplifts the team. What if Williamson decides he wants to go to a city like New York where the Knicks and Nets are marketed so well? Or even to a city like Milwaukee where they can court free agents to sign with the Bucks? Maybe all of this wrapped together could play a role in whatever trajectory Williamson decides for his career.