Report: Zion Williamson, Pelicans closing in on extension

New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson and the team are close to a deal on a five-year, $231 million extension, reports The Athletic's Shams Charania.  Williamson played 24 games as a rookie, then 65 in his second year - and zero games in the previous season, when the Pelicans went 1-12 to finish 36-46, then two play-in tournament games.  win and playoff

In the 2020-21 season, Williamson was an All-Star at an average of 27.0 PPG.  7.2 rpg, 3.7 epg while shooting 61.1% overall.  Per Charnia, the deal is expected to include security that both Williamson and the Pelicans were settling.

The Pelicans face $200 million this off-season - give or take the question: whether to offer the former No. 1 overall, choose a lucrative expansion starting the 2023-24 season, or roll the dice and see what happens  What he can achieve is healthy enough to be a contributor to a team that believes his future is bright.

"When it's time to (negotiate), we'll have it," Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in late April.  "What we're focusing on right now is healthy, and elite conditions to play basketball and we'll start from there. I think once we get to that point, all those conversations are a lot easier."  becomes."

It's a big decision for the Pelicans, who would clearly love to add a player of Williamson's enormous skill level to a core that took the top seed Phoenix Suns six games to the playoffs.  There's excitement about the ending and the future in New Orleans, and rightly so.

"Words can't describe how excited I am," Pelicans coach Willie Greene said as the team held their season-ending meetings before being dispersed for the summer.  "I'm ready to go back to work."

1 overall pick in the 2019 draft and an All-Star last season, said Friday that he could have been in the Pelicans' lineup this season, but that he and the organization "decided that longevity was better than trying to come back".  was  ."

Williamson was speaking to reporters for the first time since Media Day last September.  During his silence questions arose whether he was unhappy in New Orleans.

Williamson admitted that he was in a "mentally bad place" at times during the season, due to his slow-healing injury frustration. He did not initially reach CJ McCollum, who was acquired by the Pelicans in a February trade with Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell.

"CJ was cool about it," Williamson said.  "He's a great guy. The short time I've been around him, I've learned a lot from him. Great guy. I'm looking forward to getting on the court with him. I'm in a great place now."  “We have so many great pieces. We have a special group. When I went out to friends, they always had a great atmosphere.”