NBA Rumor: Zion Williamson Extension?

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Zion Williamson not intimidated by trying to win in small market

In April, Williamson created fodder for shouty morning talk shows everywhere when he gushed about playing at Madison Square Garden. Williamson called it “the Mecca of basketball” and said it was his “favorite place to play outside of New Orleans.” While Williamson is genuinely fond of Madison Square Garden, a source familiar with his thinking said he isn’t intimidated by the challenge of trying to win in a small market. Before he attended Duke, Williamson won three state championships at Spartanburg Day School, a tiny private school in South Carolina more known for its academics than its athletics.

Next offseason, the Pelicans can offer Williamson a five-year deal with an annual value worth anywhere between 25% and 30% of the salary cap depending on what accolades he receives. Over the past decade, no NBA player on a rookie scale contract has turned down such a deal. These are unique circumstances, though. At 20 years old, Williamson is both an All-Star and one of the most marketable players in the league. In 2019, he signed a deal with Jordan Brand worth a reported $75 million before ever playing in an NBA game. If ever there were a player who could kick the can down the road on signing a nine-figure contract, it is Williamson.
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