October 1, 2023

It looks like Zion Williamson will be staying with the New Orleans Pelicans for the foreseeable future. The attacking star has agreed to a five-year extension of a newbie’s contract worth a maximum of $231 million with the organization, his agent said. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday. The deal will keep Williamson in control of the team through the 2027-28 season.

Williamson did not play a second for the Pelicans last season due to a broken foot. However, given the potential he showed when he was healthy – he averaged 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21 – along with how much the organization had invested in him, it looked almost certain the Pelicans would give it to him. extension. And while there has been some speculation about Williamson’s desire to stay in New Orleans for the long-term, he has done his best to dispel any doubt in recent months. In April, Williamson made it clear that he intended to sign an extension with the Pelicans if it was offered.

“Of course. Of course. I wouldn’t be able to sign it fast enough,” Williamson said At the time, before uttering a few words that should have sounded like music in a swan lover’s ears: “I can’t control rumors and how people feel about certain things, but anyone who knows me knows I want to be here.”

He doubled down on that attitude last month, too. “I want to be here. It’s not a secret,” Williamson said New Orleans in June. “I feel like I stood up to it when I spoke. It’s been a long year for me to rehab and mental battles. I’m fine now. I’m ready for work.”

After the way the Pelicans performed without him last season, there’s real reason Williamson is genuinely excited about the team’s future. After starting the season 1-12, they climbed up and eventually secured the eighth seed in the West, pushing the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games in the first round. In addition to superstars Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, the Pelicans have also received significant contributions from three promising rookies Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III, and Jose Alvarado. Given that background, Williamson is understandably excited about the team’s future.

“Viewing from the sidelines stretched, but I was able to see our potential,” he said. “We have a lot of great pieces, and I’m excited to get on the field with these guys… I’ve seen it on the field. We have a special group. I really believe in that… I’m one of those people who believes that the more your team wins, the more individual awards. So , with a special group, a coach like Willie [Green]I think a lot of great things are going to happen.”

Now that he has been locked up for the long term, the next step for Williamson is to stay healthy as he has already missed more matches than he has at this point in his career. If he can get right and stay off the field, the Pelicans will have a chance to develop into a legitimate contender in the Western Conference.

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