Asked during his end-of-season media session on Friday about the possibility of signing a rookie ladder extension with the Pelicans when he becomes eligible this offseason, attacking Sion Williamson expressed his enthusiasm, tweet William Guillory of The Athletic.
“Sure,” said Williamson. “I couldn’t sign him fast enough.”
[RELATED: Players Eligible For Rookie Scale Extensions In 2022]
There are a few caveats worth noting here. For one thing, it’s not uncommon for a player speaking to reporters to express platitudes about wanting to sign a contract extension with a team and that deal ultimately doesn’t materialize.
It also seems likely that Williamson is talking about a contract offer of maximum salary, or something close to the maximum, rather than suggesting that he would accept any offer the Pelicans throw at him.
No player eligible for a rookie ladder extension has ever turned down a maximum salary offer, but considering Zion missed the entire 2021/22 season with a foot injury and only played 85 games since entering the league in 2019, putting a max deal on the table won’t be an automatic decision for the Pelicans.
Still, Williamson’s comment is noteworthy as there has been ongoing speculation about whether or not he is committed to New Orleans long-term. It’s a promising sign that he’s not looking for an exit ramp.
As we noted earlier today, the Pelicans’ impressive second-half performance and tough playoff battle with the NBA’s top Suns will strengthen their case when they enter negotiations with Williamson this summer – add the former Duke star in the mix would make New Orleans one of the most intriguing teams in the West.
According to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link), Williamson said today he felt like he could have come back from his foot injury and played at the end of the season, but the coaching staff and front office ultimately decided that the keeping out of action was the right decision for the sake of his career longevity.