$722 million in rookie extensions for Zion Williamson, Ben Simmons, and others while being injured? Are they worth the gamble?
A player extension deal signifies one thing and one thing only, a franchise trusts them enough to carry the load on their shoulders and lead them to victory.
When free agency kicks off, a lot of players have options to sign extensions or switch teams. More often than not, they choose to stay with the team and sign huge contracts.
2022 is no exception, with a myriad of contracts worth over $200 million being signed. There is more money in the NBA these days and even the young players are getting paid.
Yes, Luka Doncic was the big winner last year and this time around, Zion Williamson looks to have snagged the bag. He signed a deal worth $193 million, which can rise up to $231 million if he makes the All-NBA team, and wins MVP, or DPOY.
Zion Williamson isn’t eligible for that big of a salary, yet. What they are doing is putting in Designated Rookie Extension language that COULD get him to that big of a salary.
He’d have to make All-NBA this season, win MVP or win DPOY. Otherwise, he’ll get around $193M. https://t.co/f0ZBvgrdP0
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) July 1, 2022
While it may be a far-fetched prospect, the main caveat here is that he is being offered this extension despite missing out on a full season.
This is not the first time that has happened in the NBA.
“$722 million” is the total money offered to four stars who haven’t played a full season, this list now includes Zion Williamson
With Zion’s new deal, he becomes the fourth player to sign a rookie max extension from their teams despite being injured.
Injured high draft picks who have received a rookie max extension from their teams:
Zion Williamson ($231 million)
Blake Griffin ($173 million)
Ben Simmons ($170 million)
Joel Embiid ($148 million)
All 4 contracts combined add up to $722 million 🤑 pic.twitter.com/d1rBMgTTgd
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 4, 2022
This figure just shows how much teams trust high draft picks. In the tweet above, all of the players were among the first three picks from their draft class.
While we certainly do not doubt Zion’s ability, signing him to such a huge deal can be calamitous for teams. The Pelicans are putting all their eggs in one basket.
The last time they did this was with Anthony Davis and that didn’t turn out too well. The sheer scale of the max deals offered to injured players also begs the question, are they worth it?
We aren’t sure about that. Griffin and Simmons didn’t achieve much success and Embiid has slowly gotten into his own groove. Zion’s ceiling is far higher than most prospects, so maybe New Orleans can trust him. Only time will tell.