The New Orleans Pelicans were eliminated from the postseason Thursday, but star big man Zion Williamson liked what he saw from the franchise. Williamson — who missed the entire season rehabbing from a foot injury — said he would love to sign a long-term extension with the Pelicans if the team makes an offer.
Williamson made his thoughts clear, saying, "Of course" he would sign an extension with the team. Williamson took things a step further saying, "I wouldn't be able to sign it fast enough."
— Pelicans Film Room (@PelsFilmRoom) April 29, 2022
Williamson, 21, is about to enter the final year of his rookie contract. The Pelicans can offer Williamson a five-year, $186 million rookie extension to remain with the team. Williamson has put up superstar-caliber numbers when healthy. If he comes back and dominates next season, Williamson would put himself in line for a massive contract on the free-agent market. The Pelicans risk losing Williamson if that happens, giving them some incentive to make Williamson an offer during the offseason.
Will Zion Williamson remains with Pelicans?
Signing a massive extension is nice, but Pelicans fans know it doesn't mean much. Anthony Davis signed a rookie extension with the club and then demanded a trade before that contract expired. Davis was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He signed a five-year, $189.9 million deal in 2020 to remain in Los Angeles.
Williamson could do the same, though it helps that the Pelicans have a better team around him. Brandon Ingram continues to produce strong numbers and the team's rookies — Jose Alvarado, Herbert Jones and Trey Murphy III — all showed promise.
The team also traded for veteran CJ McCollum at the trade deadline. McCollum and Williamson's relationship came into question shortly after the deal, when it was revealed the two had not talk. That situation was remedied, and Williamson spoke favorably about McCollum on Friday.
Zion on CJ issue at All-Star break: “Honestly, I was focused on rehabbing around that time. I texted CJ shortly after to apologize about that. Like I said, I was mentally not in a good space. Mr. McCollum, he was cool about it.”
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) April 29, 2022
McCollum is under contract with the Pelicans for one more season.
The Pelicans were able to rally after an awful 3-16 start to make the playoffs. The Pelicans needed a couple play-in games to get there, but, to their credit, they got it done.
The team's success happened even with Williamson missing the entire season. The team should be much improved with Williamson back next year. As long as the Pelicans feel Williamson is fully recovered from his foot injury, the team should look into making sure he's locked up as long as possible.