Pelican fans haven’t seen much of Zion Williamson during his first three seasons in the league, but if they get a better look at their power forward this season, it’s guaranteed he’ll be in shape.
Williamson’s max contract extension with New Orleans contains a weight clause, according to Christian Clark.
The 6-foot-6 Williamson will be periodically weighed throughout the length of the deal and could lose money if his weight and body fat percentage go above 295.
Still, there are some extra carrots in the deal.
Zion could make up to $231 million with incentives based on performance, according to NBA.com.
The 22-year-old signed the $193 million, five-year contract extension on his birthday July 6.
“I want to prove that I’m a winner. Simple as that. I want to win with coach. I want to win with my teammates. The ultimate goal is to win a championship,” said Williamson at a press conference announcing the deal.
The power forward acknowledged last season’s controversy questioning his desire to play in New Orleans.
“The last few months were a roller-coaster of emotions,” Williamson said. “The world just ran with narratives, and so when my family was going out in public, they’re getting harassed by people about why we don’t like New Orleans or why we don’t want to be here when that’s not the case at all.
Speculation rose on whether Williamson would return to the Pels once he was healthy after he left New Orleans to rehab in Portland.
“I wasn’t able to play because my foot was broke,” Williamson continued. “Every time I checked my phone it’s always something negative. Even when you’re trying to make positive of the situation, it was very tough.”
Commentator and podcast host J.J. Redick even question Williamson’s commitment to his teammates, calling Zion “deatached.”
Williamson averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 85 games over three years for the Pels.
He shot 60.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the arc.