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New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson on Saturday agreed to a 5-year, $193 million designated maximum rookie extension to remain with the team, according to his agent.
The deal could earn Williamson up to $231 million, his agent, Austin Brown, told ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal will keep Williamson under team control through the 2027-28 season.
The Pelicans cannot announce the agreement until July 6 due to league rules.
The deal signifies the Pelicans’ faith in Williamson despite the injury prone former top draft pick missing the entire 2021-2022 season to a broken foot and only playing 85 games in three seasons in the league. The team announced in late May, weeks after its season had concluded, that Williamson had been cleared for basketball activities with no restrictions.
Williamson has shown potential for stardom when healthy, averaging 27 points and seven rebounds in 2020-2021. The 21-year-old was named an NBA All-Star that season.
The 6-foot-6, 284-pound Williamson has looked to quell speculation in recent months about a possible change of scenery.
In April, he indicated that he would not hesitate to sign an offer sheet from New Orleans, telling reporters he “wouldn’t be able to sign it fast enough.”
And last month, the former Duke Blue Devil said to the media that it is “no secret” he wants to stay with the Pelicans. “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,” he said at the time.
Williamson has reason to be optimistic about his ball club’s future given how they performed in his absence under rookie head coach Willie Green. The Pelicans earned the eighth seed in the Western Conference this past season and secured a spot in the playoffs 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 they were eliminated from the playoffs.
The team was led by one-time All-Star Brandon Ingram, veteran big man Jonas Valanciunas and high scoring guard CJ McCollum, who was acquired in a mid-season trade. The Pelicans also received contributions from some promising young players, including Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado.
“It sucked watching from the sideline, but I got to see our potential. We’ve got a lot of great pieces, and I’m excited to get on the court with those guys. … You saw it on the court. We have a special group.,” Williamson told the media following his team’s playoff exit in April.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.