The New Orleans Pelicans wasted no time this offseason offering Zion Williamson a maximum rookie extension. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft agreed to a five-year deal worth $193 million but could be worth as much as $231 million if he makes one of the All-NBA teams, wins MVP or Defensive Player of the Year.
Given how many games Williamson has missed, as he has played in only 85 throughout the first three seasons of his career, it is certainly a risk to pay him that much. When he is on the court he is dominant, averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. It is just that he cannot stay on the court.
Alas, the Pelicans have safeguarded his contract a little bit. According to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, there is a weight clause in his contract. If Zion Williamson cannot stay within the designated weight number, his contract will be impacted accordingly.
“According to league sources, Williamson’s contract stipulates that he will have weigh-ins periodically throughout the entirety of his new deal. The sum of his weight and body fat percentage must be below 295. If it is not, the amount of guaranteed money in Williamson’s contract can be reduced.”
The focus when contracts are signed is always on the escalators, which increase the price. Rarely are de-escalators talked about, but with Williamson, that will likely be the main focus. He is listed at 6’6”, weighing in at 284 pounds, but there have always been some concerns about his weight.
Despite the elite athleticism and explosiveness that he possesses, there have been talks of his weight ballooning well over 300 pounds at times. After already suffering numerous lower body injuries, New Orleans putting those clauses in his contract is for his own good, as keeping his weight in order could lead to better health and more games on the court.
The Pelicans are a team on the rise after acquiring CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. at the trade deadline from the Portland Trail Blazers. Combined with Brandon Ingram and hopefully a healthy Williamson, they will continue to climb up the Western Conference standings this season.
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