Zion Williamson agreed to a five-year max contract extension with the Pelicans that projects to be worth $193 million or – if Williamson meets the super-max criteria next season – $231 million.

The lingering question: Is the deal fully guaranteed, or did New Orleans get injury protections?

Shams Charania of The Athletic on “The Pat McAfee Show“:

Sources tell me that there are protections in Zion Williamson’s max extension.

If he does that, makes an All-NBA team, he’s going to be guaranteed 231 million dollars.

I wonder whether Charania is mixing up the super-max criteria and the contract guarantees. Williamson’s contract could theoretically allow him to trigger the super-max by making an All-NBA team next season, raising the value of the extension to $231 million, without the extension becoming fully guaranteed. The guarantee triggers could be separate.

But if Williamson has both the super max and his full guarantee on the line next season, that sets up an especially high-stakes year for him.

Williamson is capable of delivering. He should have made an All-NBA team in 2021. The power forward is elite at generating and converting high-efficiency shots near the rim. His playmaking as a point forward adds another threat. Williamson has plenty of room to tighten his defense, let alone even near the high defensive potential he showed at Duke. He’s supposedly healthy.

However, Williamson missed all of last season due to injury. Hence, New Orleans pushing for injury protections. The NBA also has numerous forward capable of delivering All-NBA seasons. So, nothing is assured.

If Williamson doesn’t get his deal fully guaranteed by making an All-NBA team next season, other questions remain: How much of Williamson’s extension is guaranteed otherwise? Are there other ways he can make the extension guaranteed?



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