Pelicans star Zion Williamson continued his effort to quell speculation that he’s unhappy in New Orleans during an interview Friday with SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link). Williamson expressed his fondness for the city and indicated that he sees a long-term future with the team.
“I love it here,” he said. “Anybody that knows me … they know that I love New Orleans. This is the city for me.”
The comments echoed a statement that Williamson made on media day in the wake of reports that some family members are urging him to seek a more successful team in a larger market and that he might have a shaky relationship with head of basketball operations David Griffin. Williamson will be eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer.
During the same interview, Williamson discussed improvements that he made to his game during the offseason, including an expanded use of floaters and midrange shots (hat tip to Oleh Kosel of TheBirdWrites.com). He also expressed a determination to reach the playoffs after missing them in his first two NBA seasons.
“It was a sickening feeling,” Williamson said. “We weren’t in the playoffs — and I’m watching the playoffs — I’m like, man, we can be there. Like I know we can be there this year. Man, something just took over me and I was like, yeah, it’s not happening again. It’s not happening no more. When I started training, everything, from every rep, everything just felt personal. Everything was like, nah, nothing this year is going to stop us from getting into the playoffs. Like, we’re going to do this. I’m going to make sure I do my part and more, to make sure my teammates see me working.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Rockets guard Dante Exum had an impressive showing in the Olympics and wants to carry it over to the NBA, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Injuries have hampered Exum’s career over the past six years and he played only six games last season, all with Cleveland before being traded in January. However, Exum is only 26 and is determined to show the league what he can do. “I feel great,” he said. “I feel probably the best I felt since I’ve gotten into the league. I feel strong, healthy, ready to take on 82 games.”
- The Grizzlies have made moves over the past two offseasons to upgrade at the wing, but Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian contends the position is already in good hands with Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson.
- Mavericks guard Tyrell Terry is away from the team temporarily to attend to a family matter, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. There’s not a set time for Terry to return.