Things are getting tense in New Orleans! Former player JJ Redick turned the dial all the way up on the Zion Williamson–Pelicans concern meter, blasting his once co-worker for being a “detached teammate” on ESPN’s First Take.
Redick’s words came following the news that new acquisition CJ McCollum hadn’t heard from Williamson 11 days after he was traded in a blockbuster deal from the Trail Blazers. *The two have since spoken.*
“This is a little bit insane to me, Redick said. “There’s a general decorum of behavior that you should apply as a teammate. I wasn’t the best player on any team I was on, but if there was a buyout possibility, a trade possibility, I would always reach out to teammates. This just shows a complete lack of investment in your team, in the organization, in the city.”
That’s a bold statement from someone not known to publicly bash colleagues. It’s especially noteworthy that Redick and Williamson are both Duke basketball alums who are represented by CAA. Redick also owes no favors to New Orleans. He’s even aired out his grievances with Pels GM David Griffin, who traded him to the Mavericks against his wishes shortly before the guard’s retirement.
It’s been a tumultuous ride for Pels fans, who’ve briefly seen Williamson tear apart the league (offensively at least) for 85 games over the last three seasons. He’s been injured a whole lot, including most recently fracturing his foot over the summer, which required surgery.
Williamson was granted permission to rehab in Oregon, but suffered a setback shortly before he was set to practice again. (His odds to not return this season (-1000, bet $1000 to win $100) are exceptionally low.) Ever since, he’s hardly been heard from, and Redick suggests this isn’t a one-off incident. “I get that he’s hurt and away from the team, but you just traded for one of the 50 best players in the league — a guy that’s supposed to be paired with you. Reach out and say, ‘Hello.’ This is a pattern of behavior with Zion that we are seeing again and again. I was his teammate, I can describe him as a detached teammate, that is an accurate statement.”