“If He’s Ready … Let’s See Zion. I Want To See Him Play” | FS1’s Chris Broussard Responds To The Zion Rumors

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson might return to the floor this season. His stepfather, Lee Anderson, said he expects Zion to return to play this season but understands that it’s a decision that has to be made with the medical staff. Anderson made the comments on Tuesday to “The Jordy Culotta Show,” an online show based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. FS1’s Chris Broussard for one, would like to see Zion play.

“If he’s ready, if he wants to play and the doctors have cleared him, let’s see Zion,” Broussard said Wednesday on “First Take.” “I want to see him play.”

The Pelicans are ninth and have clinched a play-in tournament berth. They are locked into having to win two games to advance to the playoffs and claim the eight seed. Considering their 7-20 record to start this season, this has been quite the turnaround in New Orleans. Just having the play-in and the potential to make the playoffs is great momentum to carry into next season.

“I expect him to play. If you were to ask Zion, I’m sure he would probably say the same thing,” Anderson said. “But with just a couple of games left, with the magnitude of what’s going on in New Orleans and the opportunity to qualify for the play-in game and possibly get into a seven-game series, that would be off the charts in the city of New Orleans. That would be a plus in New Orleans. That would be a plus for Zion with the way things are right now. Do I expect him to play? Certainly I do. That’s on me, though. That’s purely me. I don’t think there’s anything else that would hinder him from doing that right now.”

This is an extremely important time for the franchise. Zion is extension eligible this offseason, but he hasn’t expressed any public interest in signing on for another five years at the end of his rookie deal. That deal expires at the end of next season, and he could enter restricted free agency.

It’s great that Zion’s stepdad is talking, but we need to hear from Zion.

If you’re the Pelicans, Zion’s long-term health is an important factor to weigh. But so is the future of the franchise. On the one hand there needs to be care for what Zion wants and how integral they believe he is to the franchise. But if the team doesn’t believe he’s invested in them long-term, for whatever reason, then a decision has to be made.

Having Zion available for the play-in, potentially making the playoffs and possibly winning a game against the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns could go a long way in changing attitudes in New Orleans.

Once Zion and his business team see the potential, and, more important, he experiences that connection on the floor with his teammates, things might clarify for him.

Again, at this point all we have are rumors and speculation on Zion’s long-term view of the city and the organization. But his stepdad says there is no friction between Team Zion and the Pelicans.

“But for them to put Zion’s family name out there and say that we’re not happy in New Orleans, that is false information,” Anderson said. “And it’s coming from the horse’s mouth. You don’t have to look anywhere else for any further information, I’m telling you right now that it’s false.”

Take that for whatever it’s worth. It would still be nice if we hear directly from Zion.