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New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson agreed Saturday to a 5-year, $193 million rookie maximum designated extension to remain with the team, according to his agent.
The deal could net Williamson up to $231 million, his agent, Austin Brown, told ESPN Insider’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal will keep Williamson under team control through the 2027-28 season.
The Pelicans can’t announce the deal until July 6 due to league rules.
The deal signifies the Pelicans’ faith in Williamson despite the fact that the injury-prone former top draft pick missed the entire 2021-22 season with a broken foot and only played 85 games over three seasons in the league. The team announced in late May, weeks after his season concluded, that Williamson had been cleared for unrestricted basketball activities.
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Williamson has shown potential for stardom when healthy, averaging 27 points and seven rebounds in 2020-21. The 21-year-old was named an NBA All-Star that season.
The 6-foot-6, 284-pound Williamson has sought to quell speculation in recent months about a possible change of scenery.
In April, he indicated he wouldn’t hesitate to sign an offer sheet from New Orleans, telling reporters he “couldn’t sign it fast enough.”
And last month, the former Duke Blue Devil told the media that “it’s no secret” that he wants to stay with the Pelicans. “I feel like I’ve leaned into that when I’ve spoken. It’s been a long year for me of rehab and mental battles. I’m fine now. I’m ready to go to work,” he said at the time.
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Williamson has reason to be optimistic about the future of his baseball club given its performance in his absence under rookie head coach Willie Green. The Pelicans earned the eighth seed in the Western Conference last season and clinched a playoff spot after winning two games in the league’s play-in tournament.
New Orleans would then push the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games in the best-of-seven series before being eliminated from the playoffs.
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The team was led by former All-Star Brandon Ingram, veteran big man Jonas Valanciunas and high-scoring shooting guard CJ McCollum, who was acquired in a midseason trade. The Pelicans also received contributions from some promising young players, including Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III and José Alvarado.
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“It sucked to watch from the bench, but I could see our potential. We’ve got a lot of great pieces, and I’m excited to be on the floor with those guys… You saw it on the floor. We’ve got a special group,” Williamson told the media afterward. of his team’s playoff exit in April.
Associated Press contributed to this report.