September 28, 2022

Zion Williamson’s new max contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans contains a weight clause, according to Christian Clark. Williamson will have periodic weigh-ins throughout the course of the deal, and if his weight plus body fat percentage is above 295, he could lose money. 

Despite some speculative discussions about Willamson’s future with the Pelicans over the last few months, there was no drama when he became eligible to sign a new deal. Williamson and the team quickly agreed on a five-year rookie max extension worth at least $193 million. The new deal will kick in at the start of the 2023-24 season, and the figure could rise to $231 million if Williamson makes an All-NBA team or wins a major award next season. 

“For the Pelicans to come give me this birthday gift, I’m not going to let them down,” Williamson said after officially signing his extension on his birthday, July 6. “I’m not going to let the city down. I’m not going to let my family down. Most importantly, I’m not going to let myself down.”

“The ultimate goal is to win a championship. That’s what we’re all striving for. We’re hungry.”

The No. 1 overall pick in 2019, Williamson’s career has been plagued by injuries and concerns about his conditioning. He missed nearly his entire rookie season after undergoing knee surgery, was shut down early in his second season with a broken finger and did not play at all last season due to a broken foot that required surgery and did not heal as quickly as expected. 

When he has been on the floor, he’s been spectacular. In his second season, when he played 61 games, he averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 61.1 percent from the field, and was named an All-Star. His combination of size, strength and athleticism is something we have rarely seen in the league and makes him a must-watch attraction. 

All of which is why, despite his injury history, the Pelicans were eager to extend him as soon as possible. At the same time, giving $193 million to a player who has been on the court just 85 times is a risky proposition, and the Pelicans were looking for a bit of protection for their cap sheet and bottom line if Williamson can’t stay healthy or in shape. 

Adding that clause, which seems to be pretty easily attainable considering Williamson’s listed playing weight is 284 pounds, seems like a fair compromise. Williamson still gets his huge extension despite the injuries, and the Pelicans have a safety net if things go wrong. 

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