On Tuesday, Zion Williamson — who isn’t expected to return this season — lit up social media when he threw down a between-the-legs dunk.
For a 10-seed Pelicans team on the fringe of the playoff picture and an injured player who hasn’t appeared committed to the team while rehabbing his foot, the post sent a very mixed message.
Depending on how the season plays out, New Orleans has a few options regarding the 2019 No. 1 pick, as it decides whether or not to commit long-term to the tune of a $181 million extension.
- The Pels could trade him — Sports Illustrated reports that Williamson could be among several superstars looking for a trade.
- They could wait until after next season, when they will have the option to give him a $17.6 million qualifying offer.
- Williamson will be eligible for a rookie max extension this summer — in the neighborhood of $36.2 million per year.
There’s reason to be optimistic for the last scenario: Shams Charania reports that Williamson is in good spirits and has been enthusiastically attending home games.
Whatever happens, this looks like an impossible situation: They only have an 85-game sample and a lost season to inform their decision.