Zion Williamson Agreed To A 5-Year Extension For ‘Up To $231 Million’ With The Pelicans

Zion Williamson’s first three seasons in the NBA have been fascinating, if nothing else. The former No. 1 overall pick has been nothing short of sensational when he’s been on the court, attacking the rim at an unheard of rate and proving that his athleticism and skill absolutely translates to the NBA game at an elite level.

However, getting on and staying on the court has been the issue for Williamson, as he’s only played 85 games in those three seasons, including missing the entirety of the 2021-22 season with a foot fracture. Despite that injury, the Pelicans managed to make the postseason, thanks in part to a deadline deal to acquire CJ McCollum, fighting their way in via the play-in and pushing the top-seeded Suns to six games. The addition of McCollum, the continued excellence of Brandon Ingram, and the influx of young talent led by Herbert Jones have optimism sky-high in New Orleans, but looming over everything has been the status of Williamson with the organization long-term.

The star has always said publicly he wants to be in New Orleans, but rumblings behind the scenes have suggested otherwise — or at least that some around him feel otherwise. However, the recent success of the Pelicans and his excitement to be healthy and back on the court have seemingly breathed new life into the star-team relationship, and when the clock struck midnight on July 1 and Williamson became extension eligible, he agreed to the max extension that was waiting for him.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Williamson will indeed receive a 5-year deal with the team that will be “worth up to $231 million.” The deal apparently includes “protections” that will benefit both sides.

Williamson’s production when available more than warrants this deal, as he’s averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists on terrific efficiency (60.4 percent from the field) in his 85 appearances, but there’s certainly a bit of a gamble given his injury history. If he can find that level again next year and play a full season, the Pelicans will be a real threat for a top-6 seed in the West and will not be a team the top contenders hope to run into come playoff time.