After plenty of speculation, the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed with Zion Williamson on a five-year designated rookie extension worth $193 million, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The deal could grow to $231 million if he earns All-NBA or other postseason honors next season.
Though the extension doesn't go into effect until 2023-24, the Pelicans' books are already pretty full for the next few seasons. Here is a look at the team's active roster heading into 2022-23, via Spotrac.
Active Contracts (Average Salary, Expiration Year)
Zion Williamson, PF ($38.6M, 2028)
CJ McCollum, SG ($33.3M, 2024)
Brandon Ingram, SF ($31.7M, 2025)
Jonas Valanciunas, C ($15.1M, 2024)
Devonte' Graham, PG ($11.8M, 2025)
Larry Nance Jr., PF ($11.2M, 2023)
Jaxson Hayes, C ($5.5M, 2023)
Garrett Temple, SG ($5.2M, 2024)
Kira Lewis Jr., PG ($4.3M, 2024)
Trey Murphy III, SG ($3.7M, 2025)
Willy Hernangomez, C ($2.4M, 2024)
Herbert Jones, SF ($1.8M, 2024)
Jose Alvarado, PG ($1.7M, 2025)
Naji Marshall, SF ($1.1M, 2024)
Dyson Daniels, PG (Rookie Scale)
Williamson only has a $13.5 million cap hit for 2022-23, although the team is already almost $30 million over the cap, per Spotrac.
The team does still have an option to add to the roster for next season using the mid-level exception, per Keith Smith of ESPN. However, the future commitments likely mean it would have to be a short-term deal for any free agent.
In 2023-24, the Pelicans will be paying more than $30 million to each of Williamson, C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram, while Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte' Graham will each earn eight-figures.
Larry Nance Jr. and Jaxson Hayes are the only players set to become free agents in 2023.
On the other hand, this team might not need many upgrades if it can stay healthy.
McCollum only played 26 games with the Pelicans last season, but he had a huge impact after arriving from the Portland Trail Blazers while averaging 24.3 points per game. Williamson didn't even see the floor while recovering from a foot injury, but he was an All-Star in 2020-21 and averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
These two players, alongside Ingram, create a dangerous trio that we have never seen share the court.
New Orleans is also getting excellent value from contributors like Herbert Jones and Jose Alvarado, which will help the cap situation going forward.
It could be enough for the Pelicans to become contenders in 2022-23 and beyond.