Zion Williamson: ‘My intentions are to stay with the Pelicans my whole career’

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The Pelicans’ last superstar – Anthony Davis – requested a trade in the middle of the season, said he’d show his love for New Orleans fans with a “heartwarming message for them and put it out on Instagram like everybody else does,” flipped off a Pelicans fan, wore a “That’s All Folks!” shirt to his last game in New Orleans and still hasn’t posted that “heartwarming” message on Instagram more than a month after joining the Lakers.

The Pelicans’ potential next superstar – No. 1 pick Zion Williamson – is trying a little harder to endear himself.

Williamson, via Macklin Stern of Complex:

I’ve always told myself I want to stay with one team. Growing up, I loved what Kobe did and Dirk did, and I think if anybody’s a Michael Jordan fan, they kinda erase the Wizards thing. He still did very well there, but at the end of the day, I don’t think people look at it from the business point of view. Some people want to stay with one team but they get traded. My intentions are to stay with the Pelicans my whole career, but if something happens, I wouldn’t leave because I hate the place. It’s just the business.

This is nothing more than a quote we’ll laugh about if Williamson eventually leaves New Orleans (like Kyrie Irving with the Cavaliers). Williamson doesn’t know whether he’ll want to spend his entire career with the Pelicans. At age 19, he can’t know. Even this answer includes caveats for leaving.

That he has fondness for Kobe Bryant (Lakers) and Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks) spending their whole careers with one team could be telling. Not every player values that stability. But Bryant and Nowitzki started with large-market teams that won. There was less obvious reason to leave. (And Bryant requested a trade from the Lakers once they hit a downturn.)

Davis once espoused his loyalty to the Pelicans. That changed.

Maybe Williamson will remain so committed to New Orleans. Maybe he won’t.

This statement is unconvincing.