NBA News July 5: Zion staying in New Orleans and Garland receives an extension

 | July 5, 2022


Free Agency in the NBA will see familiar faces back with their squads.


There have been a ton of moves in the NBA that have seen players join other teams. However, there are some players that will be returning to play with their 2021 teams.

One of these players is Zion Williamson, who spent the entire season injured. The Pelicans and Williamson have agreed to a five-year deal that is worth up to $231m.

This was partially expected from the Pelicans, who have placed a lot of value on Williamson. If Williamson makes the All-NBA team or wins MVP or Defensive Player of the Year next season, it would trigger supermax escalator clauses.

In his rookie season, he averaged 22.5 points per game and shot 58.3% overall. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williamson was only the second rookie in NBA history to average 20 points while shooting at least 55% from the field, joining Shaquille O'Neal.

Through the 2020-21 season, Williamson averaged 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting 61.1%. Injuries have been a big concern for Williamson but he’s set to return for the 2022-23 season.

Another player sticking with his team is Darius Garland in Cleveland. Garland agreed to a five-year contract which is also worth up to $231m, the same as Williamson. Garland's deal is the richest in Cavaliers' history.

This deal is also performance-based and Garland will need to be voted onto one of the three All-NBA teams next season to earn the $231 million supermax escalator.

In his third season in the NBA, Garland averaged 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per game and was named an All-Star. 

Cleveland’s move to keep Garland around for a while makes a lot of sense considering he’s a key part of the group. With Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley also in the lineup, the Cavaliers are poised for a strong 2022-23 outing.


The Author

Ricky Gray

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