Zion Williamson recently signed a contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans, which was initially seen as a great deal for both parties. However, it has now become potentially problematic due to a clause regarding games played. The extension stipulates that the final three years of the contract are no longer automatically guaranteed. The Pelicans have the option to release Zion without any financial consequences after the 2024-25 season, although this is considered unlikely by executives.
If Zion fails to meet certain weight and games played goals (61 games), he could potentially lose money and guarantees. While the possibility of the Pelicans releasing Zion may seem extreme, activating this clause gives them leverage in case of extreme circumstances. Additionally, Zion’s salary can be directly affected by his failure to meet weight and games played expectations. The contract also takes into consideration potential future issues with Zion’s fifth metatarsal, the site of his previous injury. However, he can regain the guarantees of the contract by fulfilling the requirements.
Zion has stated that he has been focused on flexibility and conditioning this season, and so far has missed few games and has been performing well statistically. However, analysts have noted a decline in his explosiveness and impact on the court. Criticisms regarding his weight and conditioning were met with a strong response as he scored 36 points in the following game. Despite this, his overall performance and defense have not reached the level expected of a rising star.
Ultimately, both the Pelicans and Zion share the desire to see him become a leader and protagonist in many victories and playoff campaigns. Although the activation of the clause has raised concerns, a complete separation is seen as highly unlikely. However, the dynamics have shifted, and with the clause now activated, the Pelicans have an extra recourse if things go awry.
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