NBA Rumors: No Guaranteed 5-Year Max For Zion Williamson

Just recently, Zion Williamson said he'd love to sign a max extension with the New Orleans Pelicans; but word coming out of the Pels' front office is that it will not be a guaranteed 5-year max offer. 

According to NBA Insider Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Pelicans will not offer the full 5-year, $181M extension. Rather, it will undoubtedly be laden with injury protections. "I don't think they're going to want to guarantee the full five years," said Windhorst. "I (also) think they'll come into it not wanting him to have a player option. In other words, it will be a five-year contract and we'll have protection. And they'll want to haggle over what constitutes the protection."

Just a few days back, Zion said, when asked if he'd sign a max extension with the Pelicans, that he "couldn't sign it fast enough." Let's see if that still applies once he sees all the "stipulations".  

And last week, Pelicans VP of basketball operations David Griffin alluded to the difficulty of coming up with an extension that both sides would be happy with. 

“Obviously, that conversation is going to be one that will be a challenge,” said Griffin. “When it's time to have that, we’ll have it. And right now what we're focused on is him being healthy, and (being in) kind of elite condition to play basketball and we'll start there.”

Williamson has played only 85 games in three years with New Orleans, just 37% of the team's games in that period. He missed the entire 2021-22 season trying to recover from a broken bone in his foot suffered last summer. 

Photo Credit:  Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports