Star of the New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson agreed to a maximum five-year, $193 million designated extension for the rookie that could net him $231 million, CAA Sports co-head of Basketball Austin Brown told Adrian Wojnarowski of CAA Sports. ESPN.
If Williamson becomes an All-NBA team, winning MVP or Defensive Player of the Year next season, that would trigger the super max escalator provision that could lift the deal’s total value from $193 million. to $231 million.
Williamson, the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, has proven to be a generational talent since he stepped onto the NBA floor.
During the rookie season, he averaged 22.4 points and shot 58.3% in total. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williamson is only the second rookie in NBA history to average 20 points while shooting from at least 55% of the way, along with Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93).
He’s also the first teenager to score 20 points in 10 consecutive games, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information, and he achieved that by the 15th game of his career.
During the 2020-21 season, he averaged 27 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 61.1% away. His 27.0 points per game is the most of any player in NBA history for someone who shoots more than 60% from the field in an NBA season.
Williamson was named an All-Star in his sophomore season and was also a late pick to start the game. He became the fourth youngest player in the All-Star, along with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.
In the final 20 games of the season, Williamson’s score increased to 29.6 points per game as he scored at least 30 points in those 11 competitions. Williamson had 25 consecutive games scoring 20 or more points while shooting from 50% or more, joining Shaquille O’Neal in 2001 as the only players to achieve that in NBA history.
At the end of that 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’s become the only player to do this in the past 40 seasons and the first since Michael Jordan.
Williamson also saw his average assists jump from 2.1 to 3.7 as he took on more ball handling duties as the Pelicans unleashed “Point Zion” under the former Coach Stan Van Gundy. Whether he will continue those duties under Willie Green remains to be seen.
Green led the Pelicans to the Western Conference play-in tournament last season. They won at home against the San Antonio Spurs and were on their way to face the Los Angeles Clippers to reach the knockout stages as the eighth seed. The Pelicans have won two games from the top-seeded Phoenix Suns first. when losing in six games.
New Orleans started last season 3-16 but finished 36-46 to get back into the playoff hunt. Pelicans trade for CJ McCollum ahead of last season’s NBA trade deadline, which helped boost the team’s late-season run.
Williamson, who turns 22 on July 6, played just 85 games in his first three NBA seasons, including 24 in the 2019-20 rookie season. A meniscus tear in his right knee delayed his debut. He missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a broken right foot.
In May, the Pelicans officially helped Williamson return from a leg injury that sidelined him and he returned to the field without any restrictions. With McCollum, Brandon Ingram and a healthy Williamson, the Pelicans are looking to make a splash in the Western Conference next season.
On April 29, when Williamson made his first public comment since breaking his leg, he was asked whether an extension was possible and whether he would renew with New Orleans. He replied, “Of course, I won’t be able to sign it fast enough.”
Last month at a local YMCA event, Williamson reiterated his desire to go to New Orleans, saying: “I really want to be here. It’s no secret. I feel like I’ve stood on it when I was there. talk.”