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Rumor: Zion Williamson’s frustration with David Griffin, Pelicans goes back to rookie season

Pelicans, Zion Williamson, David Griffin

There have been rumblings that Zion Williamson is frustrated with the New Orleans Pelicans and that his camp is angling for him to be somewhere else in the near future. Williamson only added fuel to the fire when he spoke glowingly about playing at Madison Square Garden, with the NBA rumor hyenas jumping all over that as a sign that he wants to get traded to the New York Knicks.

While it’s still too early for that, Williamson’s frustration with the Pelicans seems to be very real. Christian Clark of NOLA.com published a lengthy story on Wednesday about the trials and tribulations of the first few years of the David Griffin era in New Orleans, and it features some tidbits about Williamson’s issues with the franchise and his lack of a relationship with Griffin.

It goes back to the Pelicans star’s injury-marred rookie season:

Throughout his rookie season, Williamson had grown increasingly frustrated with the Pelicans for the number of hoops they required him to jump through to return from the knee injury he suffered in the preseason. The team initially provided a return-to-play timetable of six to eight weeks, but it took more than three months for Williamson to get back on the floor. When he was finally given the thumbs up to play, he was placed on “burst” limits, which he detested. The way Williamson’s return was handled caused significant tension between him and the team’s medical staff, sources said.

Griffin tried to forge a relationship with Williamson during his rookie campaign, but things didn’t go all that well and they “communicate infrequently now.” Apparently, Griffin playing the piano for Zion in the bubble wasn’t the solution. Williamson wound up leaving the bubble with a hamstring injury that wasn’t disclosed.

Much of this frustration would likely be alleviated, at least somewhat, by winning. Even if Williamson would prefer to be in a bigger market, winning often cures many ills. The Pelicans made a lot of changes this offseason, and we’ll see if they can take a step forward under new head coach Willie Green and fix some of these issues.