New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin says that it will be an “easy decision” when the team has to decide to offer star forward Zion Williamson a big money contract extension.
Williamson, 21, is eligible to sign a five-year, $181 million max rookie extension this summer, but he has had an injury-riddled start to his career since the Pelicans selected him with the top overall pick in the NBA Draft.
Williamson, who has played in just 85 games in his three-year career, missed all of the 2021-22 season with a right foot fracture.
Griffin called Williamson “historically good” when he’s on the court.
“It’s not a big decision, it’s a pretty easy decision,” Griffin said of Williamson’s contract situation. “The kid’s historically good when he plays … this is a max player, that’s easy.”
“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 continued. “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.”
Griffin said that the Pelicans organization has always been on the same page with Williamson.
“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.”