NBA: Zion Williamson has made it clear that he wants to play for the Pelicans

Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans NBA

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans watches # 1 during a game against the Phoenix Suns at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 28, 2022. Chris Grethen / Getty Images / AFP

Zion Williamson is behind him last season and is concentrating on staying with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Williamson missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a broken right leg, and speculation continued that he might choose to play elsewhere.

But while speaking to reporters at the local YMCA basketball camp, Williamson was all set to play for the Pelicans.

“I want to stay here. It’s no secret. I think I stood by it when I spoke, ”Williamson said Saturday. “Right now, it really has nothing to do with it. I just want to be a pillar of my community. “

Williamson, who will turn 22 in July, was cleared by the team on May 26 and is working with some of his teammates in New Orleans.

Williamson said: ‘It was a long year for me in rehabilitation and emotional struggle. “I am OK. I’m ready to go to work. “

Since being selected No. 1 in the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson has played only 85 games for the Pelicans (all starts). He missed the first three months of the 2019-20 season due to a knee injury.

Williamson was an all-star in the 2020-21 season, when he averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 61 contests. His career average is 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

Williamson could be in line for a five-year, $ 186 million extension from the Pelicans. There is speculation that New Orleans is seeking protection in the deal due to Williamson’s injury history.

To get an extension, Williamson laughed and said, “You have to ask Pells, baby.”

Williamson is set to earn a base salary of $ 13.5 million next season.

Even with the exception of Williamson, New Orleans advanced to the playoffs through the play-in format this season and lost six games against top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

An in-season for CJ McCullum strengthened the trade club when star Brandon Ingram had another big season. Also, some of the team’s emerging role players excited Williamson as he ticked the names of Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy III, Herbert Jones and Jackson Hayes.

“That’s all I have to see to be really excited to be back there,” Williamson said.

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