Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans agree to a maximum five-year rookie extension that could be worth up to $231 million, agent says
New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has agreed to a five-year, $193 million designated maximum rookie extension that could net him up to $231 million, the co-director of basketball said Saturday. of CAA Sports, Austin Brown, to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
If Williamson makes the All-NBA team, wins MVP or Defensive Player of the Year next season, it would trigger supermax escalation clauses that could bump the deal’s total value from $193 million. dollars to $231 million.
Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has proven to be a generational talent since stepping onto NBA soil.
During his rookie season, he averaged 22.4 points and shot 58.3 percent overall. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williamson is the second rookie in NBA history to average 20 points while shooting at least 55% from the field, joining Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93).
He was also the first teenager to score 20 points in 10 straight games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, and he accomplished it in his 15th career game.
During the 2020-21 season, he averaged 27 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 61.1 percent from the field. His 27.0 points per game was the most of any player in NBA history for someone who shot over 60% from the field in an NBA season.
Williamson was named an All-Star in his second season and was also a late pick to start the game. He became the fourth-youngest All-Star starter, joining Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.
In his final 20 games of the season, Williamson’s tally rose to 29.6 points per game as he scored at least 30 points in 11 of those contests. Williamson had a 25-game winning streak scoring 20 or more points while shooting 50% or better from the field, joining O’Neal in 2001 as the only players to accomplish this in NBA history.
Late in the year, Williamson became the 12th player in NBA history to score at least 2,000 points in his first 80 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He became only the second player to do so in the past 40 seasons and the first to do so since Michael Jordan.
Williamson also saw his passing average drop from 2.1 to 3.7 as he took on more ball handling duties as the Pelicans unleashed “Point Zion” under former coach Stan Van Gundy. It remains to be seen whether he will take over these functions under Willie Green.
Green led the Pelicans to the Western Conference Qualifying Tournament last season. They won at home against the San Antonio Spurs and on the road against the LA Clippers to advance to the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. The Pelicans won two games against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns before to fall in six.
New Orleans started 3-16 last season but finished 36-46 to get back in the hunt for the playoffs. The Pelicans traded for CJ McCollum before the NBA trade deadline last season, which helped boost the team in its late-season run.
Williamson, who turns 22 on Wednesday, played just 85 games in his first three NBA seasons, including 24 in his rookie season in 2019-20. A torn meniscus in his right knee delayed his debut. He missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a broken right foot.
In May, the Pelicans officially cleared Williamson to return from the foot injury that sidelined him, and he returned to work on the field without any restrictions. With McCollum, Brandon Ingram and a healthy Williamson, the Pelicans are looking to make a breakthrough in the Western Conference next season.
On April 29, when Williamson made his first public comments since breaking his foot, he was asked about the possible extension and whether he would extend with New Orleans. He replied: “Of course I couldn’t sign him fast enough.”
Last month, at a local YMCA event, Williamson reiterated her desire to be in New Orleans, saying, “I want to be here. It’s no secret. I feel like for being on it when I spoke.”