Report: Zion Williamson (Pelicans), Ja Morant (Grizzlies) expected to quickly agree to max contract extensions
Pelican lead executive David Griffin said Zion Williamson is easily a max player. Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is even better.
Those top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft (and former AAU teammates) are positioned to get large rookie-scale contract extensions this offseason.
Apparently as soon as negotiations are officially allowed June 30.
Even if Morant and Williamson will both get max extensions, there are still details that must be agreed upon.
Morant’s situation is more straight forward. He’s already a star and clearly deserving of a max salary (25% of the cap) with super-max triggers (allowing him to earn up to 30% of the cap). But will he get a full super-max with a mere All-NBA third team next season? Or will he earn varying amounts between 25% and 30% depending whether he makes an All-NBA first, second or third team? Will he get a player option? Only if Memphis is relenting on every point should this be quick.
Williamson carries all the same super-max questions plus major uncertainty about how much of his deal will be guaranteed, given his injury history. Joel Embiid’s rookie-scale extension is the only at-all close comp, and that deal was quite complicated.
Players can sign rookie-scale extensions until the day before next regular season begins. Therefore, teams don’t always prioritize rookie-scale extensions amid the chaos of free agency opening. Those can wait. Especially when there are tricky terms to work out. But it almost sounds as if the Grizzlies and Pelicans negotiated early and reached agreements with their young stars, just waiting until June 30 to announce.