Disconnect between Zion Williamson, Pelicans reportedly due to lack of trust with David Griffin

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Zion Williamson is away from the Pelicans, and not just physically.

He left New Orleans to continue rehab from offseason surgery on his right foot, which may require a second surgery. However, his level of disconnect reached a new peak when he didn’t contact C.J. McCollum — the respected veteran star and president of the players’ union — for five games after McCollum was traded to the Pelicans. It’s only after McCollum mentioned it All-Star weekend that the two finally spoke.

What led to that disconnect? Williams’ family doesn’t trust Pelicans president and decision maker David Griffin, reports Christian Clark of the Times-Picayune.

But since coming to New Orleans, the detachment Williamson has shown with the Pelicans, sources inside and outside the organization have often cited, is because of a lack of trust.

Specifically, they have pointed toward a fracture. On one side is Williamson and his camp. On the other is David Griffin, the Pelicans’ lead basketball decision-maker…

Further complicating matters, sources said, was that Williamson and his camp didn’t trust Griffin to be truthful.

There are reasons to be leery of Griffin, but it’s not like Zion has earned the trust of Pelicans fans either.

Around the NBA, the McCollum trade was seen partly as Griffin trying to save his job but also as a smart deal for a team looking to make a postseason push (this season and beyond). In some ways, this roster building process feels like what the Pelicans did around Anthony Davis — making moves to win fast and thinking about the short term not building something sustainable. It backfired with Davis, in part because those moves never paid off with consistent playoff trips.

Can this Pelicans team make the playoffs next season in what should be a deeper West? That answer starts with another couple of questions: How much does Zion play? How invested is he in the franchise?

Zion has to earn the trust of Pelicans’ nation before he can call out the trust of others.