A few years ago, Zion Williamson was the consensus number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after a historic season at Duke University. He was a freak of nature entering the league and was immediately impressive when he was on the floor. In the 2020-21 season, he averaged 27 points, and 7.3 rebounds, on a wildly efficient 61% field goal percentage.

However, the best ability in the NBA is availability, and Williamson has not been readily available for the Pelicans this season. The star has only played 85 games in the past three years, and he missed the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign with a foot injury. This coupled with rumors that the star was feeling frustrated with the Pelicans’ decision not to play him and NBA pundits circulating rumors of his desire to play elsewhere, caused Williamson’s future in New Orleans to be up in the air.

This was until David Griffin, VP of basketball operations, called Williamson a max player and said the prospect of offering him a max contract would be “an easy decision.” “It’s not a big decision, it’s a pretty easy decision,” Griffin said. “The kid’s historically good when he plays … this is a max player, that’s easy.”

Williamson himself confirmed this as he told reporters last week, “I do want to be here. That’s no secret, I feel like I’ve stood on that when I spoke… It was a long year for me for rehab and mental battles. I’m fine now. I’m ready to get to work.”

Regarding the potential of signing a max contract, he said, “Of course. Of course. I wouldn’t be able to sign it fast enough, I can’t control rumors and how people feel about certain things, but anybody that knows me knows I want to be here.”

The Pelicans are coming off a successful season under first-year head coach Wille Green. After going 36-46 and securing a spot in the NBA Playoffs as the eighth seed, the Pelicans will look to grow from that success with the current core of CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones and now, hopefully, Williamson.

It is expected that the Pelicans will offer Williamson the contract at some point this summer.  

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