The panic alarms should be ringing loudly around Zion Williamson right now.
Former Pelicans teammate J.J. Redick expressed his concern after CJ McCollum, who was acquired in a trade with the Blazers on Feb. 8, said over All-Star weekend that he has yet to hear from Williamson.
“This is a little bit insane to me,” Redick, now an analyst for ESPN, said on “First Take” on Tuesday morning.
“There’s a general decorum of behavior you should apply as a teammate…. This just shows a complete lack off investment in your team, your organization, in the city. 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 who is supposed to be paired with you. Reach out and say hello.”
That apparently happened sometime after Saturday night. McCollum told ESPN on Tuesday afternoon that he has heard from Williamson since his initial comments.
Williamson has missed the entire season with a foot injury that could soon require a second surgery. Redick played with Williamson his first two years in the league and said the concerns around the power forward were legitimate.
“This is a pattern of behavior we are seeing from Zion. I was his teammate, I can describe him as a detached teammate,” Redick said. “That is an accurate statement. This is basic level of humanity, send a text to a guy when he gets traded to your team.”
Williamson’s future with the Pelicans franchise has long been a question mark and rumors have swirled that he could soon demand a trade out of New Orleans. McCollum’s addition gives the Pelicans another star-level player alongside Williamson, 21, and Brandon Ingram.
“I haven’t had conversations with him directly,” McCollum told TNT during All-Star weekend on Saturday. “I’ve spoken with some people close to him, and I look forward to sitting down with him sooner than later. I know about as much as you do right now, but I’m gonna get to the bottom of it.”
Redick said he believes a lot has to change with Williamson, whose weight has been a constant talking point in his brief NBA career.
“I addressed this with Zion in front of the team,” Redick said. “There is a responsibility that you have to have as an athlete when you play a team sports to be fully invested: To be fully invested in your body, your work, your teammates. And we have not seen that from Zion… As a teammate there is a pattern of behavior. This is worrisome.”