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Even After Missing 62% Of His Team’s Games, Zion Williamson Just Signed A $200+ Million Contract

The first overall choice in the NBA Draft, Zion Williamson, has missed over two-thirds of the Pelicans’ games since being drafted.

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Before even beginning his first year at Duke, Zion Williamson was the subject of considerable hype. He performed rim-rocking dunks and techniques that broke shoes throughout his time in college. After Williamson was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the first overall choice in the 2019 NBA Draft, those anticipations have only increased. There is no doubt about Williamson’s skill because over the course of three seasons, he has consistently been a force to be reckoned with. Keeping healthy has been his toughest challenge.

Williamson has only participated in 85 games out of a potential 226. This implies that since joining the roster, he has participated in little under 38% of the Pelicans’ contests.

Williamson’s situation is improving, though, both materially and monetarily.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Getty Images/Chris Graythen

Williamson has a rookie supermax extension with the Pelicans, as Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported. The five-year agreement is worth $193 million, but incentives may raise that sum to $231 million.

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If Williamson is selected for an All-NBA team next season, the incentives will become active. Williamson would receive an additional $6.6 to $8.8 million annually as a result of the hike, with the final season in 2027–2028 being the most profitable. Williamson is owed $43.9 million for that season, but if he is selected to the All-NBA team, he would receive $52.7 million.

It’s a big concern, but the Pelicans are optimistic that Williamson can move past his injury problems. He will be in good health going into this season and will be able to play on the court with Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum. Last season, Ingram and McCollum led the Pelicans to an unexpected playoff appearance as the 10th seed, winning two play-in games before putting up a challenging six-game challenge against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.

The trio’s combined compensation will be close to $100 million. The NBA’s salary cap for the upcoming season is $123 million, so Pelicans owner Gayle Benson will have to pay a significant amount of the luxury tax in order to retain all of these players. Williamson had to stay, though, because the team hadn’t traditionally been a destination for free agents.

The combined court presence of Williamson, McCollum, and Ingram is still something we haven’t truly seen. They would be one of the league’s most exciting teams if they can all remain healthy, and that just might also result in some playoff success.

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