Zion Williamson Commits to New Orleans: Pelicans Set to Extend Lucrative Contract

Zion Williamson’s Future with the New Orleans Pelicans

A Bumpy Season for Zion Williamson

After a turbulent season riddled with injuries, Zion Williamson, the talented forward of the New Orleans Pelicans, expressed his desire to stay in the city affectionately known as the Big Easy. Despite not playing a single game due to a foot injury, Zion is now healthy and eager to contribute to the team. The Pelicans, recognizing his potential, have also shown interest in signing him to a lucrative max contract extension.

Speculation and Trade Rumors

While Zion’s desire to remain in New Orleans is apparent, there have been persistent rumors linking him to the New York Knicks, a team he has openly expressed admiration for. Known as the Mecca of Basketball, Madison Square Garden holds a special place in Zion’s heart. As the offseason commenced, speculation about his future intensified, with many suggesting that he might force a trade to the Knicks. However, all indications point towards Zion’s commitment to the Pelicans as they work towards a contract extension.

A Season of Missed Opportunities

The Pelicans had a respectable performance in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament, securing the eighth seed. However, they were ultimately eliminated in the first round by the formidable Phoenix Suns. Throughout the season, there was constant anticipation of Zion’s return, but unfortunately, he never rejoined the team on the court.

Aloofness and Detachment

Zion’s aloofness and detachment as a teammate rubbed some of his colleagues, including former Duke star JJ Redick, the wrong way. His fracture of the right foot during the previous offseason only exacerbated the situation. Delays in his return due to pain and swelling fueled rumors of potential additional surgeries to address his foot issues.

A Rift in the Team

Rather than rehabbing with the team, Zion chose to work out in Portland, which led to further strain between him and his teammates. While some give him credit for avoiding the distractions of New Orleans, the decision to train in a different time zone caused dissatisfaction within the team. CJ McCollum, who joined the Pelicans via a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, noted the lack of camaraderie between Zion and the rest of the squad. This observation prompted Zion’s eventual return to New Orleans, though he was still not medically cleared to play.

Zion’s Determination to Return

Recently, the Pelicans’ medical staff finally cleared Zion to resume full-contact activities, reigniting hope for his future on the court. When healthy, Zion has proven to be a dominant force, dispelling any notion of being a bust. Throughout his career, he has faced unfortunate setbacks, including a delayed rookie season due to a knee injury, a shortened second season caused by a fractured hand, and the complete absence of his third season due to a broken foot.

“I just want to be out there,” expressed Zion with a clear determination. Witnessing the potential of his teammates and the collection of talent around him, he eagerly awaits the opportunity to step onto the court once again.

The Pelicans’ Plan for Zion

Despite his injury history, the Pelicans remain committed to securing Zion’s long-term future. The team is eager to offer him a max rookie contract extension worth $181 million over five seasons. General Manager David Griffin confidently stated that Zion’s talent makes this decision an easy one. With the potential to become a perennial All-Star, Zion’s maximum contract could ultimately prove to be a bargain. However, the risk of recurring injuries looms, which could lead to disappointment if he is unable to overcome these setbacks.

The Knicks’ Connection

A Duke Reunion at MSG?

The New York Knicks, a team that already boasts Zion’s former Duke teammate RJ Barrett, holds a strong connection to the talented forward. While the Knicks missed out on drafting Zion as the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, they selected Barrett with the third pick. Barrett showcased his potential throughout last season, often carrying the team when Julius Randle struggled.

Addition of Cam Reddish

The Knicks further strengthened their Duke connection by acquiring Cam Reddish in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. However, tensions arose between Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and the front office due to the lack of consultation about the Reddish trade. This move appeared to be another attempt by the Knicks to create an enticing environment for Zion.

Potential Trade Scenarios

Julius Randle, who has hinted at a desire to leave the Knicks, saw his trade value decline after a disappointing season marked by a lackluster three-point shooting performance. Should Randle regain his form in the upcoming season and resemble the player he was in 2020-2021, the Knicks could potentially find a suitable trade partner, including the Pelicans. Speculation arises about the possibility of a Randle-Zion trade, potentially involving additional draft picks, as the Knicks attempt to orchestrate a reunion.

Championship Odds: Pelicans vs. Knicks

Currently, the Pelicans possess +4000 odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship, signaling their potential as a formidable team in the near future. On the other hand, the Knicks find themselves at the bottom of DraftKings’ future board with +20000 odds, indicating the considerable odds they face. However, the dynamic could change dramatically if Zion were to join the Knicks, adding a significant presence to their roster and potentially transforming the team’s outlook.


In conclusion, despite a challenging season marked by injuries and speculation, Zion Williamson remains committed to the New Orleans Pelicans. The team, recognizing his immense talent, is eager to secure his services with a max contract extension. However, the allure of Madison Square Garden and the connection to the New York Knicks continue to linger. With a Duke reunion on the horizon, the potential for a future convergence between Zion and the Knicks remains captivating. As the NBA offseason unfolds, the basketball world watches with anticipation to see where Zion’s journey ultimately leads.


1. Will Zion Williamson sign the contract extension with the Pelicans?

– While nothing is certain, all signs indicate that Zion Williamson intends to sign the contract extension with the Pelicans. He has expressed his desire to stay in New Orleans, and the team remains committed to securing his long-term future.

2. Are the New York Knicks actively pursuing a trade for Zion Williamson?

– While the Knicks have expressed interest in Zion Williamson in the past, it is unclear if they are actively pursuing a trade at this time. The Knicks already have a strong Duke presence on their roster, including Zion’s former teammate RJ Barrett.

3. What are the potential trade scenarios involving Zion and the Knicks?

– One potential trade scenario involves Julius Randle, who has hinted at his desire to leave the Knicks. Should Randle regain his form and the Knicks find a suitable trade partner, a trade package involving Randle and potentially draft picks could be explored.

4. How has Zion Williamson’s injury history affected his career?

– Zion Williamson has faced several injury setbacks throughout his young career, including knee, hand, and foot injuries. These injuries have hindered his playing time and prevented him from fully showcasing his talent. However, when healthy, Zion has proven to be a dominant force on the court.

5. What are the championship odds for the Pelicans and Knicks?

– Currently, the Pelicans have better championship odds compared to the Knicks. The Pelicans have +4000 odds, indicating their potential as a strong team, while the Knicks are at the bottom of the odds board with +20000 odds. However, the addition of Zion Williamson to the Knicks could significantly alter their championship prospects.

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