It looks like Zion Williamson will stay with the New Orleans Pelicans for the foreseeable future. The attacker has agreed to a five-year contract extension for rookie max worth up to $231 million with the organization, his agent said. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Saturday. The deal will keep Williamson under control of the team through the 2027-28 season.
Williamson didn’t play for the Pelicans for a second last season due to a broken foot. However, given the potential he showed when he was healthy – he averaged 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21 – combined with how much the organization has invested in him, it seemed almost a certainty that the Pelicans would offer him an extension. And while there has been some speculation about Williamson’s desire to stay in New Orleans long-term, he’s done his best in recent months to clear any doubts. In April, Williamson made it clear that he intended to sign an extension with the Pelicans, if offered.
“Of course. Of course. I couldn’t sign it soon enough,”at the time, before uttering some words that should sound like music to Pelicans fans’ ears: “I can’t control rumors and how people think about certain things, but anyone who knows me knows I want to be here. ”
He also doubled that position last month. “I want to be here. That’s no secret,”from New Orleans in June. “I feel like I insisted on that when I spoke. It’s been a long year for me because of rehab and mental battles. I’m fine now. I’m ready to go to work.”
After the way the Pelicans performed without him last season, there is real reason for Williamson to be genuinely excited about the team’s future. After starting the 1-12 season, they rallied and were eventually able to claim eighth seed in the West, pushing the top seeded Phoenix Suns to six games in the first round. In addition to established stars Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, the Pelicans also received major contributions from a trio of up-and-coming rookies in Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado. Against this backdrop, Williamson is understandably excited about the team’s future.
“It sucked to watch from the sidelines, but I got to see our potential,” he said. “We have a lot of great pieces and I’m excited to be on the field with those guys. … You saw it on the field. We have a special group. I really believe that. … I’m one of those people who believes that the more your team wins, the more individual prizes will come.So, with a special group, a coach like Willie [Green]I think a lot of great things will happen.”
Now locked in for the long haul, Williamson’s next move will be healthy as he has missed more games than played at this point in his career. If he wins and stays on the field, the Pelicans have a chance to develop into a legitimate contender in the Western Conference.