Zion: Intentions are to remain with Pelicans entire career

Zion Williamson was selected by the Pelicans with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after one year at Duke.

Zion Williamson was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the No. 1 overall draft pick and the Pelicans are where Williamson says he intends to stay.

“Growing up, I loved what Kobe (Bryant) did and Dirk (Nowitzki) did,” Williamson told Macklin Stern of Complex of the legends who played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, respectively, their entire careers.

My intentions are to stay with the Pelicans my whole career. But if something happens, I wouldn’t leave because I hate the place. It’s just the business.”

The Pelicans are coming off a season in which All-Star big man Anthony Davis demanded a trade in January. But when no deal could be reached by the February deadline, things seemed to fall apart more than ever.

Today, though, Williamson is the face of the franchise and Davis eventually got his wish, as a late June trade agreement sent Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. In return, the Pelicans received young talent such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.

Suddenly, the Pelicans’ present under chief of basketball operations David Griffin is exciting and the future promising.

“Me being confident in my teammates, I would say I think the ceiling is [a] championship,” Williamson told Stern. “But I have to be realistic about this. I have high expectations for us, but you gotta see how we’re gonna work.

“I think we are going to work, but it does take time to adjust to each player — knowing what they like to do, finding out their tendencies. So I think the quicker we find out those things, I think we have a very high ceiling.”

Williamson is 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds. He averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 33 games as a freshman at Duke last season.