Zion Williamson’s weight has been a hot button issue since he first emerged as an elite prospect. SB Nation first profiled Williamson when he was just beginning his senior year of high school at USA Basketball’s junior minicamp. Before the camp, Williamson was listed at 235 pounds. When he was actually measured at the event, he weighed in at 274 pounds. That was as a 17-year-old.
Williamson was listed at 285 pounds at Duke, and has been listed at 284 pounds by the New Orleans Pelicans after becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft. After playing only 24 games as a rookie because of injury issues, Williamson played at a superstar level in his second season, averaging 27 points per game on 61.1 percent shooting. Then he missed the entirety of his third season with a broken foot despite the suggestion he would return at some point in the season. The Pelicans made the playoffs anyway and put a scare into the league-best Phoenix Suns in the first round.
Now Williamson is coming back to New Orleans for year four, and he’s doing it on a new long-term contract. That contract reportedly contains a clause that allows the Pelicans to take away guaranteed money based on his weight and body fat percentage.
Zion Williamson’s extension contains escalators that kick in if he makes All-NBA/wins MVP next season. It also contains de-escalators that are tied to his conditioning, sources tell @NOLAnews.
Details here: https://t.co/RsEkzkZbZg
— Christian Clark (@cclark_13) July 28, 2022
Christian Clark of Nola.com reported that New Orleans can subtract money from Williamson’s contract if the sum of his weight and body fat percentage is above 295 pounds.
Williamson’s deal was reported to be a five-year, $193 million contract with escalators that could push it to $231 million. Now we know there are de-escalators in the deal to protect the Pelicans, too.
Williamson reportedly weighed in north of 300 pounds while he was injured this year. There was more panic over his weight after a viral photo surfaced on Twitter. Of course, it’s hard to stay in shape when you have a fractured fifth metatarsal bone in your right foot like Williamson did. It’s not like you can do cardio with that type of injury.
Williamson should be poised for a monster year if he can stay healthy. He proved he was already one of the best players in the world during his second season. The West looks loaded again, but you can make a case for the Pelicans to rise as high as the No. 4 seed next season behind the Warriors, Clippers, and Nuggets.
Williamson now has all the motivation in the world to stay in shape. As fans, let’s just hope he can remain healthy.