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NBA

Zion Williamson wants an extension with the New Orleans Pelicans

After seeing his team push the Phoenix Suns to the limit, the Pelicans’ star has got to be wondering not just about what could’ve been, but rather what could be.

Paul Rudder
Update:
Zion Williamson wants an extension with the New Orleans Pelicans
Chris GraythenAFP

The Pelicans star was quick to put rumors to rest where his future is concerned as he declared he’d be happy to stay with the franchise.

Zion Williamson is excited about a contract extension

Having not played in one single game for the Pelicans this season due to a broken foot, one can imagine that the speculation surrounding what Zion Williamson would do about his future was intense. Indeed, with Williamson eligible for a huge contract extension, many wondered whether he would opt in or out with some even suggesting that the former Duke star was not happy with his team. In the end, however, it seems that none of that is true. When asked if he would send an extension with the Pelicans, Williamson jumped at the chance to respond.

“Of course. Of course. I wouldn’t be able to sign it fast enough,” Williamson said on Friday, before going on to add “I can’t control rumors and how people feel about certain things, but anybody that knows me knows I want to be here.”

What can we take from Zion Williamson’s comments?

Williamson’s comments will of course bring a smile to Pelicans fans, but there are a few things to consider here. Firstly, given the timing were it actually the player’s desire to leave it goes without saying that he would hardly admit to that here and now. Then we most definitely have to consider the idea of money. As things stand, the Pelicans being the team that drafted Williamson will be looking to do what any team in their position would do, which is to say financially motivate the power forward to stay. Quite frankly the Pelicans will be able to put more in his pocket than any other team going forward. None of this of course removes the possibility that Williamson may opt to do what many players have done before, meaning sign a lucrative extension only to request a trade shortly after. Just ask Ben Simmons.

What’s certain is this: Zion Williamson is a force to be reckoned with when healthy. With an average of 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21, along with the amount that the franchise has invested in him, it’s all but certain that an extension will be offered. Assuming that’s the case, the question then becomes whether or not said extension will include clauses that address what surely has to be a concern for the Pelicans: What happens if he sustains a long term injury again?

What would the Pelicans look like with Zion Williamson?

A first round exit in the playoffs may sound disappointing, but when we consider that it was at the hands of the No. 1 seeded Phoenix Suns who incidentally were pushed to the limit, the picture begins to look a little different. Even more so when we consider that the Pelicans achieved that without their out right star on the court. With that said, one can imagine that Williamson has got to be wondering about what could be possible if he can rejoin the roster and in turn find synergy with his teammates. Remember this is a team that started the season with a record of 1-12, before a resurgence that saw them enter the playoffs by way of the Play In Tournament.

Consider for a moment the likes of Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum along with newly established players such as Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado. How would those guys perform when given the chance to lineup with Williamson in the new season? If there is one person excited about that prospect, it’s Williamson himself. “It sucked watching from the sideline, but I got to see our potential,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of great pieces, and I’m excited to get on the court with those guys. ... You saw it on the court. We have a special group. I truly believe that. ...I’m one of those people that believes the more your team wins, the more individual awards will come. So, with a special group, a coach like Willie [Green], I think a lot of great things will happen.

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