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Pelicans Vice President David Griffin Sends Clear Message About Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson walks to the bench of the Pelicans.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 24: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans walks to the bench during a NBA game against the Denver Nuggets at Smoothie King Center on January 24, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson will be eligible to sign a max contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite his injury history, it sounds like he'll receive a lucrative deal from the franchise. 

During an appearance on "The Ryen Russillo Podcast" this week, Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin was asked about the team's upcoming negotiations with Williamson. 

Griffin made it clear that Williamson is a "max player" in his eyes.

"It's not a big decision, it's a pretty easy decision," Griffin said. "The kid's historically good when he plays ... this is a max player, that's easy." 

Griffin then noted that New Orleans may have to add some stipulations to Williamson's future contract. 

"What becomes significant as a team that's a small-market team and as a team that can't make mistakes in terms of injuries over time, you have to indemnify yourself in some way for that and that's fine," he explained. "But the decision of whether or not this is a max player is an easy one. It's really going to be about if you're all the way in with us this is what it looks like and we're all the way in with him and I think we always have been

Unfortunately, Williamson missed the entire 2021-22 season because of a foot injury. He averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in the previous season. 

Williamson was asked about his future with the Pelicans earlier this year. When asked if he'd be open to an extension with New Orleans, he replied, "I couldn't sign it fast enough."