Zion Williamson's New Contract with New Orleans Pelicans Includes Weight Requirements: Report

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Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans stands on the court prior to the start of an NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at Smoothie King Center on March 26, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans stands on the court prior to the start of an NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at Smoothie King Center on March 26, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sean Gardner/Getty

Zion Williamson's five-year, $193-million contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans contains clauses that allow the team to monitor his weight and body fat, according to a report from the Times Picayune.

The team intends to conduct weigh-ins for Williamson, 22, throughout the entirety of the forward's new contract and that "the sum of his weight and body fat percentage must be below 295," which the outlet attributed to league sources.

If Williamson does not meet those conditions, the amount of guaranteed money on his contract can be reduced below $193 million, according to The Times Picayune. Alternatively, Williamson could make up to $231 million in other incentives if he performs well, according to NBA.com.

Williamson, the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, played just 85 games total between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons and missed the entirety of last season with a fractured foot, according to the Times Picayune.

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Lower body injuries have made it difficult for Williamson, who is listed at 284 pounds and stands 6'6" tall, to stay in basketball-playing shape. He weighed in at over 300 pounds when training camp started in September 2021.

Williamson has played well when he has been on the court; he averages 25.7 points, seven rebounds and 3.2 assists per game so far in his NBA career, according to Basketball Reference. Since he was cleared to play without any further restrictions due to injury in May, Williamson has been working with a personal trainer and a private chef to prepare for the upcoming NBA season.

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans poses for a portrait in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans poses for a portrait in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty

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When Williamson signed the new contract on July 6, his 22nd birthday, he said recent months have been "a roller-coaster of emotions" due to speculation about his future with the Pelicans, according to the Associated Press.

"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," Williamson said.

The Pelicans' executive vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin, called the contract signing "an opportunity for us as an organization to really put to bed a lot of things that were said," according to the AP.

"So many things that are talked about are just words," Griffin said at the press conference, via the AP. "What Zion Williamson did today is express his commitment to this team and to this city and to this community. ... So the noise that's on the periphery of all of that is completely irrelevant."

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"It was a tough year, and then for the Pelicans to come give this birthday gift, I'm not going to let 'em down," Williamson told reporters at the contract signing, according to the AP. "I'm not going to let the city down, I'm not going to let my family down, and most of all, I'm not going to let myself down."

Christian Green, the private chef hired to work with Williamson, told the Times Picayune that Williamson said he wants to win the league's Most Valuable Player award in the 2022-2023 season and that he thinks Williamson will take over as the face of the NBA when LeBron James retires.

"[Williamson is] in great health now. But once the season starts, he's going to be in even better health," Green said.

New Orleans finished eighth place in the NBA's Western Conference last season with a 36-44 record. The club dropped its first-round playoff series to the Phoenix Suns, four games to two, without Williamson in the lineup last season.