Nobody has ever rejected a max rookie-scale contract extension.
Zion Williamson – despite reported distrusted of Pelicans lead executive David Griffin, disagreement with the team over his injury and family members wanting him to leave New Orleans – says he won’t be the first.
Fletcher Mackel of WDSU:
I asked Zion Williamson if offered an extension this summer by the Pelicans would he sign it?
“Of course, I couldn’t sign it fast enough.”
— Fletcher Mackel (@FletcherWDSU) April 29, 2022
Williamson signing an extension would obviously show a certain level of commitment to the Pelicans. But it wouldn’t silence the noise. Unlike big veteran extensions, a rookie-scale extension – which Williamson will be eligible to sign this offseason – doesn’t render a player ineligible to be traded.
At this point, the bigger question is whether New Orleans will offer Williamson a fully guaranteed max or even potentially super-max extension.
A five-year max extension would project to be worth $182 million-$195 million over five years. The deal could even include a trigger for Williamson making an All-NBA team next season that’d raise the value into the $218 million-$234 million projected range. The exact amount would be determined when the extension would begin next year.
Williamson has missed 141 games in three seasons, including this entire season. Even if he could’ve returned this year, the injury risk is massive given Williamson’s health history, body type and style of play. Williamson hasn’t always had the best habits or been the best teammate.
But when he played last season, he was spectacular. Just 21, Williamson has room to get even better and have a great career.
Managing all the considerations could be tricky. But if not needing to talk Williamson into accepting a giant contract extension, that’s one fewer thing for the Pelicans to worry about.