As the NBA continues to hurdle into uncertainty with the coaching carousel dramatically spinning, relocation rumors have been surfacing for the Pelicans.
The Athletic's John Hollinger reported that the franchise is "the most likely team to seek relocation in the coming decade." It is committed to New Orleans only through 2024. As Hollinger notes, owner Gayle Benson is heavily connected to the city—she also owns the Saints.
Hollinger writes Benson is "not currently seeking to sell, but losing money while finishing in the lottery has not been an enjoyable side venture to the main business of running the Saints."
But, this is just a footnote compared to the other groundbreaking news the franchise has faced this week.
The Pelicans parted ways with head coach Stan Van Gundy on Wednesday after just one season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez. Van Gundy, 61, was hired in October, but New Orleans struggled last season, going 31–41 and missing the playoffs for the third straight year.
Then, The Athletic's Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and William Guillory reported Thursday that some of Zion Williamson's family members "want Williamson on another team." According to The Athletic, multiple teams are monitoring "Williamson's family members' thinly veiled unhappiness with the Pelicans and whether those feelings seeped into the player's own views." Williamson is under contract with the Pelicans until at least 2023.
“It’s disappointing. I’d be lying to you if I said anything else,” Williamson said during the end-of-season press conference. “It’s very disappointing. But the best thing we can do is regroup, come together as a team, come together as coaches this offseason, talk and do what we need to do to be better next year. It’s not much to it, we just gotta be better.”
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