Despite the fact that Zion Williamson played just 85 games in his first three seasons in the NBA, the Pelicans are expected to sign the young superstar to a max contract extension. Pelicans vice president David Griffin confirmed Zion will get a max contract offer from the franchise.
“It’s not a big decision, it’s a pretty easy decision,” Griffin told Ryen Russillo of The Ringer on a podcast. “The kid’s historically good when he plays … this is a max player, that’s easy. What becomes significant with a team that’s a small market team and team that can’t make mistakes in terms of injuries over time, you have to indemnify yourself in some way,” (h/t hoopsrumors.com).
Williamson played in only 24 games as a rookie after suffering a meniscus tear in preseason. While he missed 11 games in his second season, Williamson earned All-Star honors and finished the year averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He did not become available for his team this past season.
In his end-of-the-season press conference, Zion expressed his eagerness to sign long-term with the franchise after the team made a late run to reach the postseason. Griffin said it’s essentially a no-brainer he’ll get a max offer, which would be five years and something between $182-195M.
A report late last month suggested that the team was reluctant to give Williamson a fully guaranteed max deal. More specifically, the Pelicans are considering putting several incentives in the contract as insurance for his three injury-filled seasons he spent in New Orleans since he entered the NBA.
Zion Williamson is preparing for the next season at Pelicans’ practice facility and he looks to be in phenomenal shape, according to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.