“I want to be here.” / SLAM

"I want to be here." / SLAM

Despite not playing an NBA game since May 4, 2021, star forward Zion Williamson has reassured Pelicans fans that he wants to stay in the Big Easy.

Talking to New Orleans media on Saturday, Williamson spoke with reporters about his current situation.

“I do want to be here. That’s no secret. I feel like I’ve stood on that when I spoke,” Williamson said via ESPN. “Currently, this does not really have anything to do with that. This is just me wanting to be a pillar in my community.”

Williamson is eligible to sign a five-year, $186 million rookie extension with the Pelicans this coming offseason. He said he would sign the extension as quickly as possible to remain with the team.

Given the current state of the roster, New Orleans is on an upward trajectory following the success of the last playoffs. They pushed the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games under first-year Coach Willie Green. With a core of CJ McCollum, Herb Jones, Trey Murphy, and Brandon Ingram, New Orleans has a roster that can go to the next level if Williamson re-signs.

“It sucked watching from the sideline, but I got to see our potential,” he said via CBS. “We’ve got a lot of great pieces, and I’m excited to get on the court with those guys — You saw it on the court. We have a special group. I truly believe that — I’m one of those people that believes the more your team wins, the more individual awards will come. So, with a special group, a coach like Willie [Green], I think a lot of great things will happen.”

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