The New Orleans Pelicans have signed forward Zion Williamson to a multi-year contract extension.
“We are building a foundation of sustained success. We have a wonderful mix of young talent and veteran leadership and adding Zion long-term to this roster is something that I know our fans are very excited to see come together on the floor this season and for many seasons to come,” said Pelicans Governor Gayle Benson. “Zion’s talents are not only transformative on the court, but his commitment to our community, our city and region will also be transformative. What a wonderful birthday for him and his family.”
Per ESPN.com, “Williamson’s deal is worth $193 million over five years and could jump to $231 million if he hits the escalator clauses in the deal by making an All-NBA team next season. Griffin said during the news conference that followed the signing that Williamson’s deal does not include a player option on the end of it. When Brandon Ingram signed his five-year deal with New Orleans following the 2019-20 season, he also signed a five-year deal with no option.”
Williamson, who was drafted with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Duke, has appeared in 85 career games (all starts) with New Orleans, averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, while shooting .604 from the floor, .333 from three-point range and .683 from the free throw line. In addition, Williamson has scored in double-figures 84 times, including 49 performances of 20 or more points.
“Zion is an astounding 22-year old talent, who we believe is just scratching the surface of what he is capable of, both on and off the floor,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “We are extremely pleased to take this next step of our collective journey together.”
During the 2020-21 season, Williamson appeared in 61 games (all starts), averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 33.2 minutes per game. Williamson recorded 20-plus points in 25 straight games during a stretch between February 5 and April 6, marking the longest consecutive game streak in NBA history for a player under 21 years old. The South Carolina native was named to the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, becoming the 10th player in NBA history to earn All-Star recognition prior to turning 21, and the fourth youngest player in NBA history behind Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.