Agent: Williamson agrees to 5-year, $193M extension
Zion Williamson's injury and unexpected absence from the Pelicans didn't stop them from wagering on their long-term future.
The great forward signed to a five-year, $193 million agreement with New Orleans on Saturday, his representative said.
The 6-foot-6, 280-pound power forward will deliver an All-Star lift to a team that made the playoffs without him.
ESPN reported the deal, citing CAA Sports basketball co-director Brown. Under NBA regulations, the Pelicans can't sign the agreement until July 6.
The 2019 No. 1 overall draught pick from Duke wants to see how much he can help a team that improved late last season and had an unexpected playoff run.
It's also a statement of faith by the Pelicans in the injury-plagued Williamson, who has played 85 games in his first three NBA seasons.
The Pelicans won two Western Conference play-in games before taking top-seeded Phoenix to six games. Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, Jonas Valanciunas, and a group of youthful players flourished under first-time NBA coach Willie Green.
In his first injury-free NBA season, Williamson averaged 27 points and was a first-time All-Star.
Williamson played 24 games as a rookie due to a knee ailment (lateral meniscus).
Second season: 61 of 72 games. During the 2021 offseason, he injured his foot while playing basketball with his stepfather.
The Pelicans didn't announce the injury until training camp in September, stating they thought he'd be ready by Oct. 20. Williamson agreed to the optimistic timeline. He missed the regular and postseasons.
Williamson spent much of the season away from New Orleans and the Pelicans. He rehabilitated in Oregon, where Nike is situated.
During that time, the Pelicans provided scant updates on Williamson, who was later omitted from season ticket renewal promotional materials.
No NBA player has declined a maximum rookie contract extension, but Williamson may be the first.
Williamson rejoined the squad in March and seemed genuinely committed in its playoff run, celebrating near the bench.
Williamson said after the season he "couldn't sign a max extension fast enough"
This year felt different. Courtside, "Williamson has had three different coaches in the NBA. "Special group. I'm sure.”
Williamson was authorised to play basketball without limitations in late May, after the Pelicans' season finished.
The Pelicans started 1-12 last season without Williamson and a rookie coach. They got into Western Conference playoff contention.
They improved before obtaining McCollum two days before the NBA trade deadline. McCollum helped them win a ninth seed and home play-in game.
Pelicans beat 10th-seeded Spurs. They then beat the Clippers in Los Angeles to progress to the playoffs against top-seeded Phoenix.
New Orleans won twice before the Suns won consecutive games to win the series.