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Zion Williamson Set for Max Contract Extension With Pelicans, per Report

Zion Williamson’s early NBA career has been plagued by injuries, but the Pelicans have seen enough from the former No. 1 pick to offer him a maximum contract extension.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the two sides are nearing a five-year rookie max deal worth up to $231 million, which would lock Williamson in with New Orleans through the 2027–28 season.

The draw of Williamson is still as much about his potential as what he’s been able to accomplish on the court, but the deal doesn’t come as much of a surprise given what both sides have said in recent weeks.

In April, Williamson said he “couldn’t sign it fast enough” when asked whether he planned to take a maximum rookie extension this summer. Just weeks ago, vice president of basketball operations David Griffin called Williamson “a max player.”

“I think it is a pretty easy decision,” he admitted. “The kid’s historically good when he plays two different ways.”

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Of course, New Orleans will need Williamson on the court a lot more for this deal to pay off. Over three years, he’s appeared in just 85 games, and missed the entire 2021–22 season recovering from surgery on a fractured foot, after hopes were that he could recover by the All-Star break.

When he does play, he flashes the incredible potential that made him a phenom in high school and in one year at Duke. He has averaged 25.7 points, seven rebounds and 3.2 assists across those 85 games, shooting an impressive 60.4% from the field. In 2020–21, his second year in the league when he played in 61 games, he averaged 27 points.

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