After missing the entirety of the 2021-22 season, Zion Williamson is gearing up for his highly anticipated return. After committing to the Pelicans and getting back into shape, the young superstar looks to be on track for a breakout campaign.
But if the New Orleans swingman wants to maximize his earnings, he's going to have to keep an eye on his weight. As recently revealed by Pelicans beat writer Christian Clark, Zion's contract has a special condition that could decrease his guaranteed earnings if his weight and body fat surpass a certain threshold.
“The New Orleans Pelicans forward is entering the final season of his rookie deal. Once it concludes, he is owed $193 million over a five-year span. If he is able to make an All-NBA team, win Most Valuable Player or be named Defensive Player of the Year next season, Williamson could make as much as $231 million over the life of his next deal. In other words, his extension contains escalators — but it also contains de-escalators, should Williamson’s conditioning issues continue."
"According to league sources, Williamson’s contract stipulates that he will have weigh-ins periodically throughout the entirety of his new deal. The sum of his weight and body fat percentage must be below 295. If it is not, the amount of guaranteed money in Williamson’s contract can be reduced."
Staying in shape has been the biggest hurdle of Zion's young career so far. While his exact weight was never confirmed, he was rumored to be north of 300 pounds at one point in the season.
While the Pels haven't spoken on these issues publicly, the details of Zion's contract prove that the team is concerned about his conditioning -- and they should be. As an explosive scorer who uses strength, speed, and power to his advantage, his body takes a beating on the court, and it wouldn't be ideal for him to play with so much extra weight on his joints.
The Pelicans did the smart thing by challenging Zion to say in peak shape. Now, we just have to wait and see how he answers.