The New Orleans Pelicans are willng to give Zion Williamson a max contract this offseason as they absolutely believe he is someone worthy of a max. Williamson, the first overall pick of the 2019 NBA draft, has shown flashes of an impressive talent but he has been struggling to stay healthy through his first three seasons in the league.
In his first three seasons, Williamson appeared in only 85 games. Williamson didn't play at all during the 2021/22 season as a foot surgery kept him out for the entire season. This summer, Williamson will be eligible to sign a five-year, $181 million contract.
"It's not a big decision, it's a pretty easy decision," Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said on the Ryen Russillo Podcast, per ESPN. "The kid's historically good when he plays, this is a max player, that's easy."
The Pelicans are willing to give Williamson a max contract but they also want to find a solution to try to keep Williamson healthy for a longer period.
The Pelicans feel Williamson is definitely a max player
"What becomes significant as a team that's a small-market team and as a team that can't make mistakes in terms of injuries over time, you have to indemnify yourself in some way for that and that's fine," Griffin added.
"But the decision of whether or not this is a max player is an easy one. It's really going to be about if you're all the way in with us this is what it looks like and we're all the way in with him and I think we always have been."
Earlier this year, some reports suggested there was a rift between Williamson and the Pelicans. In April, when Williamson was asked if he would sign a max contract with the Pelicans, he quickly said yes. "I couldn't sign it fast enough," Williamson said.
Reflecting on Williamson's comments from April, Griffin said it was really good to see what he was saying during his press conference. "It was really comforting when he did his media availability postseason and said how much he buys into this," Griffin said.
"I saw him be utterly moved by Willie Green and his staff and this team quite frankly during that playoff run. So we feel really confident he wants to be here and we feel equally confident we can come to an agreement."