Zion Williamson was on the sidelines as soon as once more watching his New Orleans Pelicans teammates battle within the play-in event.
“Zanos” sat out final season after fracturing his proper foot in coaching camp. This 12 months, Williamson suffered a hamstring damage and performed in simply 22 video games. He shut down any hopes of a return when he informed reporters he’s not enjoying as he’s not feeling like “Zion.”
Forward of the Pelicans’ sport in opposition to the OKC Thunder, Stephen A. Smith stated Williamson needed to discover a solution to get again on the court docket.
“This man [Williamson] is a incredible expertise. … If he have been within the lineup, we’d be talking considerably extra about New Orleans and how much noise they will make within the Western Convention.
“He’s missed 169 video games in his profession and hasn’t performed in 40% of his video games. You may’t make a press release like, ‘Once I really feel like a Zion.’ … He’s gotta discover a solution to get again on the court docket. Interval. As a result of it’s beginning to look very dangerous and it’s elevating suspicions in every single place.”
The Pelicans have been optimistic that Zion Williamson would return in some unspecified time in the future within the season after injuring his hamstring on Jan. 2 in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers. Three weeks later, the group informed reporters that Williamson was steadily progressing however didn’t give a timeline for his return.
On April 7, heading into the sport in opposition to the New York Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans GM David Griffin knowledgeable the media of Williamson’s standing:
“Primarily based on immediately, our greatest doable final result could be if every part lined up completely, perhaps you’re able to follow previous to a primary spherical. Or perhaps throughout a primary spherical.
“However it’s going to take a couple of, proper? It’s actually arduous. We might by no means get to that time both. If it’s not a state of affairs the place these issues align and he feels the best way he must really feel, we’re not going to let him go to the following part.”
Any flickering hopes of seeing Zion Williamson within the play-in event have been put out by his assertion.
“Bodily, I’m wonderful. Now it’s only a matter of after I really feel like Zion,” he stated.
“I can just about do every part, however it’s only a matter of the extent that I used to be enjoying at earlier than my hamstring. I don’t need to go on the market and be in my very own head and have an effect on the group after I can simply be on the sideline supporting them extra, as a result of I do know myself. If I used to be to go on the market, I might be in my head. I might hesitate on sure strikes and it may have an effect on the sport.”
Zion Williamson’s 5-year contract will kick in subsequent season
On July 6, 2022, Zion Williamson signed a five-year $194.3 million designated rookie contract extension. It should begin at the start of subsequent season. The deal may attain as excessive as $231 million if he earns an All-NBA choice, which can not occur this season as he has performed simply 29 video games.
When Williamson has been accessible, he’s simply been one of many NBA’s most unstoppable gamers. He simply hasn’t been wholesome lengthy sufficient to contribute when it issues for the New Orleans Pelicans.
The highly-discussed weight clause in Zion Williamson’s extension won’t have an effect on him until he’s unimaginably waived by the Pelicans. If the basketball star and the group that drafted him ultimately separate, then which means a number of issues have gone unsuitable.
New Orleans has been extremely aggressive even with out the two-time All-Star. They are going to, nonetheless, stay fringe contenders if Zion Williamson continues to be saddled with accidents.