New Orleans Pelicans VP discusses max contract extension for Zion Williamson
Pelicans VP David Griffin expects the NBA franchise to agree a maximum extension to keep Zion Williamson in New Orleans, despite the player’s injury troubles.
New Orleans Pelicans chief David Griffin says Zion Williamson remains central to the franchise’s plans, despite sitting out the 2021/22 NBA season through injury.
Appearing on a podcast, the Pelicans’ vice-president of basketball operations expressed confidence in signing Williamson to a maximum-salary extension this offseason and said it’s an “easy decision”.
Williamson said in his postseason press conference that he’s eager to sign long-term with the Pelicans after the team made a late run to the playoffs. Griffin said it’s essentially a no-brainer that he will get a max offer of five years and at least $182 million.
“We feel really confident he wants to be here, and we’re equally confident we can come to an agreement,” Griffin said.
“Max player” Williamson “historically good” - Griffin
Because Williamson missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a foot injury and has played in just 85 games since entering the league in 2019, the Pelicans could seek protections within the deal.
“It’s not a big decision. It’s a pretty easy decision,” Griffin said. “This is a max player. That’s easy. The kid is historically good when he plays.
“What becomes significant with a team that’s a small-market team that can’t make mistakes in terms of injuries over time, you have to indemnify yourself in some way.”
Williamson set to return to court after over a year out
Williamson was recently cleared to play this offseason without any restrictions after recent imaging on the fifth metatarsal in his right foot showed continued improvement.
Barring any setbacks, he should be ready to return next season and take the court for the first time since May 2021.
Williamson has been an extremely effective player when healthy, averaging 25.7 points, 7 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting just over 60 percent from the field for his career.