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New Orleans Pelicans star and former No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson signed his rookie extension to stay with the team through the 2027-28 season, per reports.
The move came after some uncertainty as to New Orleans’ long-term commitment to Zion — and his commitment to them.
Williamson hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2020, and has just over a full season under his belt of actual games played despite three years of league activity.
Zion Williamson injury
Injuries, for the most part, have played the biggest role in that. It’s impossible to fully blame Zion. However, some have questioned his weight and training regimen.
Williamson has been seen doing pregame dunks for fans, yet has failed to play in an actual NBA game since the 2020 season.
Zion Williamson contract
Nonetheless — keeping Williamson around was a fairly easy decision for the Pels to make. He’s a former No. 1 overall pick and the cornerstone to their franchise, for now. He’d also make a fine trade asset were they to deal him elsewhere. Simply put, allowing him to walk free for nothing, or angering the former Duke star, would not be in their best interest. Zion Williamsons do not grow on trees.
Williamson’s extension with New Orleans, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, is set to pay him up to $231 million over the next five years.
Zion Williamson career stats
As mentioned, Williamson has played in just 85 career games, making his sample size rather small. In his rookie campaign, he averaged just over 22.5 points-per-game. In his second year, he took a rather monumental leap, averaging an efficient 27.0 points-per-game in his best campaign to date, shooting over 61 percent in 61 NBA games.
The three-point line remains an adversary for him, but with speed and explosiveness like Zion offers, he may never need his range to reach that point consistently.
He’s a rare breed of NBA superstar, and assuming he returns from his foot injury with similar explosiveness and abilities, will be a wise investment from David Griffin and Co.