“Zion Williamson has always been very clear about what he wanted”: David Griffin talks about the decision of offering NOLA’s star the $193 million extension despite injuries
|Sun Jul 17 2022
Despite playing only 85 games in his first 3 seasons, the Pelicans re-signed Zion Williamson to a 5-year, $193 million max rookie extension.
There is no doubt that, when healthy, Zion Williamson is one of the best players in the league. After averaging a staggering 22.5/6.3/2.1 in his rookie season, “Zanos” unleashed his full potential when he went on to put up an improved 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 61.1% FG while being named All-Star in his second campaign.
However, the former Duke Blue Devil sat out the entire 2021-2022 season due to injuries. Having only played 85 games in his first 3 years in the league, the big question that arose for the front office was – whether or not to offer Williamson a max rookie contract.
Obviously, NOLA gave it a good thought and did eventually re-sign Zion to a 5-year, max rookie contract worth up to as much as $231 million.
Breaking: Zion Williamson has agreed on a five-year, $193 million designated maximum rookie extension with the Pelicans that could earn him as much as $231 million, his agent tells @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/bGNJccG0DM
— ESPN (@espn) July 2, 2022
“Zion Williamson never wavered off from what he wanted and what his goal set was”: David Griffin
Recently, David Griffin was asked to reveal whether they had any doubts that their star forward would sign the extension. To which the Pel’s executive vice president for basketball operations detailed:
“You hoped you would get to some point in the future where you could say ‘ok, now he’s ready to play skilled basketball’. And fortunately, we got to that point but in terms of whether or not he wanted to stay, Zion has always been very clear with us about what he wanted, what he goal set was. He never wavered off any of that.
What he didn’t do was, take his narrative into his own hands last year but not speaking. And in the absence of that, people will make them up. I think that’s really the kind of object lesson just for us, organisationally, we could’ve controlled the narrative a lot better. It didn’t matter.
We wanted him to do was to get healthy and fortunately he has and we’ve got a team that really did a nice job of making its way through the play-in situation and gave Phoenix probably more than they anticipated. And now we’re just gonna drop a healthy Zion Williamson into the mix. We feel like we got a chance to get little better.”
“Zion had always been very clear with us about what he wanted.”@pelicans EVP of Basketball Operations @dg_riff tells @talkhoops & @DarthAmin if he ever had any doubt Zion Williamson would sign his extension. #SummerPelicans pic.twitter.com/j1CJjx5HoJ
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) July 16, 2022
Definitely, adding a healthy Zion to a Brandon Ingram & CJ McCollum-led squad is going to be entertaining and deadly for the association.