New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has agreed to a five-year, $193 million designated maximum rookie extension that could earn him up to $231 million, CAA Sports co-head of basketball Austin Brown told ESPN’s Adrian on Saturday. Wojnarowski told.
If Williamson makes the All-NBA team or wins the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year next season, it would trigger a Supermax escalator clause that could increase the total value of the deal to $231 million.
Although Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a broken right leg, he has proved to be a genius of a generation since he stepped onto the NBA floor.
During his rookie season, he averaged 22.5 points per game and scored 58.3% overall. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williamson was the second rookie in NBA history to average 20 points while shooting at least 55% from the field, joining Shaquille O’Neill (1992–93).
According to ESPN Stats & Information, he was also the first teenager to score 20 points in 10 consecutive games, and he achieved it in his 15th career game.
During the 2020-21 season, Williamson averaged 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, shooting 61.1% from the ground. His scoring average was the highest of any player in NBA history, shooting more than 60% off the field in a season.
Williamson was named an All-Star during his sophomore season and was a late selection to start the game. He became the fourth youngest All-Star starter behind Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.
In his final 20 games of the season, Williamson’s score increased to 29.6 points per game as he scored at least 30 points in those 11 competitions. Williamson had 20 or more points in 25 consecutive games while shooting 50% or better from the field, joining O’Neill in 2001 as the only player to achieve it in NBA history.
At the end of the year, Williamson became the 12th player in NBA history to score at least 2,000 points in his first 80 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He became only the second player to do so in the last 40 seasons and the first after Michael Jordan to do so.
Williamson also saw his assist average jump from 2.1 to 3.7 as he assumed more ballhandling duties as the Pelicans removed “Point Zion” under former coach Stan Van Gundy. Whether he resumes those duties under Willie Greene remains to be seen.
Green led the Pelicans to the Western Conference play-in tournament last season. He won at home against the San Antonio Spurs and made it to the playoffs on the road against the LA Clippers as the No. 8 seed. The Pelicans took two games before falling for six to the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.
New Orleans started last season 3-16, but finished 36-46 to fall back in the hunt for the playoffs. The Pelicans added CJ McCallum before the NBA trade deadline, giving the team its late run.
Williamson, who turned 22 on Wednesday, has played just 85 games in his first three NBA seasons, with a torn meniscus in his right knee during his rookie season in 2019-20 that delayed his debut .
In May, the Pelicans officially cleared Williamson to return from a foot injury that sidelined him last season, and he has returned to on-court work without any restrictions. With McCullum, Brandon Ingram and a healthy Williamson, the Pelicans are looking to advance to the Western Conference next season.
On April 29, when Williamson made his first public remarks since breaking his leg, he was asked about a possible extension and whether he would be expanding with New Orleans. He replied, “Of course, I won’t be able to sign it so fast.”
At a local YMCA event last month, Williamson reiterated his desire to live in New Orleans, saying: “I want to be here. It’s no secret. I think I stood by when I spoke.”