When healthy, Zion Williamson is among the most talented players in the NBA. Unfortunately, the soon-to-be 22-year-old (July 6), has played in just 85 games since becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Now after the strange season Williamson just had, in which he missed the entire year nursing a foot injury, he’s eligible for a contract extension, including a max offer that could reach five years and $186 million.
Because of his recent injury history, there’s been some uncertainty surrounding Williamson’s immediate and long-term future with the Pels, and others questioning whether he’s worth a max contract offer, citing durability concerns. But that might not be an issue at all in New Orleans.
Zion Williamson’s contract likely to have injury protections
Some might see Williamson’s past troubles and wince at what might be in store for the 6-foot-6, 284-pound explosive athlete in the future, which is a factor the Pelicans are keeping in mind as they debate their first contract extension with the star power forward.
David Griffin, the vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans doesn’t appear to be worried about extending Williamson a max offer, but he is wary of other potential disasters in the future. It sounds as if Griffin’s bigger concern lies with protecting the team against further injuries.
This isn’t unprecedented, as the Philadelphia 76ers also put injury stipulations in place when signing Joel Embiid to his max contract, with different salary levels which were reachable depending on how many games he played.
For the Pelicans, they just don’t want to get stuck paying a max amount of money for a minimal amount of games, which makes sense given Williamson’s recent history. But if he can get back and play most of the season, I don’t think anyone will have any complaints at the end of the year.