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The New Orleans Pelicans have signed Zion Williamson to a five-year deal worth up to $231 million, signaling ownership is ready to pay the luxury tax for playoff runs................................

It’s official. Zion Williamson has signed a five-year designated maximum rookie deal with the New Orleans Pelicans worth $193 million. The franchise cornerstone’s contract could top out at $231 million, CAA Sports’ co-head of Basketball Austin Brown told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Pelicans will gladly pay the tab if Williamson hits those contract escalating milestones. The supermax clauses include making the All-NBA team and winning either the NBA MVP or Defensive Player of the Year awards next season.

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Zion Signs
The Pelicans will gladly pay the tab if Williamson hits those contract escalating milestones. The supermax clauses include making the All-NBA team and winning either the NBA MVP or Defensive Player of the Year awards next season.

The top pick in 2019 has proven worth the money every time he has taken the court. After dealing with multiple injuries that limited him to only 85 games in three years, New Orleans expects him to be fully unrestricted going forward and help Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum.

The former Duke Blue Devil averaged 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting 61.1% from the field in his second year as a pro. Williamson’s 27.0 points per game with a 60% field goal average were historical numbers. Zion is the only player to achieve the feat and became the fourth-youngest NBA All-Star.

CJ McCollum ($33 million) and Brandon Ingram ($31 million), along with Williamson’s deal, take up almost $100 million of the $123 million salary cap. The team already projects to pay between $143-155 million on the roster in the next two seasons. This deal signals team governor Gayle Benson is ready to pay the luxury tax sooner rather than later.

Williamson said he would sign the deal as soon as possible. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin had a couple of details to iron out. Still, in the end, the sides were satisfied and ready to start the 2022-23 season. Everyone in the building believes another playoff run is in the cards. Especially now that Zion Williamson will be with the team for most of the decade.

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