Zion Williamson’s $197.23 Million Five-Year Contract No Longer Assured

‣ Zion Williamson’s five-year contract with the New Orleans Pelicans is no longer guaranteed due to his frequent absences from games. The final three years of his contract were made non-guaranteed after he missed over 50 games in the 2022-23 season.
‣ Williamson’s contract also includes a clause related to his body weight. The sum of his weight in pounds and his body fat percentage must be less than 295. If he fails to meet this requirement, he could lose even more in guarantees.
‣ Despite these conditions, Williamson can earn back the guarantees in his contract by playing in a sufficient number of games and hitting specific weigh-in checkpoints.


Zion Williamson, the forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, inked a five-year contract worth $197.23 million in July 2022. However, his deal is reportedly no longer “guaranteed” after he only appeared in 29 games last season.

Mike Vorkunov from The Athletic reports that the last three years of Williamson’s contract aren’t guaranteed. Why? Well, Williamson missed over 50 games in the 2022-23 season. To be eligible for awards and honors, a player needs to play a minimum of 65 games.

A few NBA betting sites share that the Pelicans have the 15th-ranked odds to win this season’s championship. Interestingly, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings are showing better odds at sportsbooks.

Injuries have been a significant setback in Williamson’s NBA career. Knee, foot, and hamstring injuries limited his appearances to just 114 in his first three seasons. Including his fourth season, he’s missed 199 regular-season games and all six of the Pelicans’ playoff games since 2019.

By missing more than 22 games last season, Williamson triggered a nonguaranteed clause for the salary he is owed in the 2025-26 ($39.44 million), 2026-27 ($42.16 million), and 2027-28 ($44.88 million) seasons.

In simpler terms, the Pelicans could waive the 6-foot-6 wing after the 2024-25 season without any financial blowback. If Williamson misses a similar number of games this season, his guaranteed salary for 2024-25 could take a hit.

Another factor that could impact his earnings is his body weight. Williamson could lose even more in guarantees if he doesn’t meet the set NBA weight limit in his deal.

As per his contract, the sum of Williamson’s weight in pounds and his body fat percentage must be less than 295. Last season, he was listed as weighing 285 pounds. Therefore, his body fat couldn’t be higher than 10 percent.

The average weight of an NBA guard today is 198 pounds, 222 pounds for forwards, and 251 pounds for centers, according to the Basketball-Reference database.

But all hope isn’t lost for Williamson. His contract allows him to earn back the guarantees by playing a sufficient number of games and hitting specific weigh-in checkpoints.

Through 23 starts this season, he’s averaging 22 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. He’s also shooting 57.8% from the floor and 65.2% at the foul line.

Will Zion Williamson appear in at least 65 games this season? The Duke product hasn’t played 60 or more games in a season since 2020-21.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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