The future is filled with uncertainty for Pelicans star Zion Williamson. After missing the entire season with an obscure injury, his leverage in contract negotiations this summer is practically non-existent.
In fact, according to NBA insider Brian Windhorst, the Pelicans could opt to make a chunk of Zion's salary non-guaranteed in light of his questionable durability:
"At the end of the season, when he [Zion Williamson] spoke to the media, he said that he would happily sign an extension that's put in front of him. But it's not that simple. Any player that's in his position would sign a 5-year, guaranteed max contract. But from what I have been told, The Pelicans, at this point are not willing to offer a full 5 year guaranteed deal, and a lot of it is flowing down from ownership. Gayle Benson, the owner, is also the owner of the Saints and I have been told they are gonna take a football-style mentality with his contract negotiation. They will offer him a huge contract but will not guarantee all of it. If Zion accepts those terms, it still protects himself and maybe gets $100+ million guaranteed, he signs and everything's fine. If he doesn't sign it and wants the full thing guaranteed, we could have some drama into the fall."
Even before this latest update, fans and experts have wondered about Williamson's long-term future in NOLA. As he was missing games this season, rumors about his desire to play in a bigger market gained traction around the association.
If there is any truth to the rumors, Zion's commitment to the organization could drop even lower if they refuse to guarantee his money in negotiations this summer.
No matter how you feel about the young star, his natural talent cannot be denied. In 85 games played so far, he has averaged 25.7 points, 7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists on 60.4% shooting. A potential split from the Pelicans could shift the balance of power in the NBA.