Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are facing a major decision this summer. The former Duke superstar is now eligible for an extension, which many believe will be in the range of a $181 million max deal for five years. Pels vice president for basketball operations David Griffin recently spoke out about the big-money extension and it sounds like it’s only going to be a matter of time before this deal is sealed.

According to Griffin, he firmly believes that there’s no doubt about Williamson being a max player:

“It’s not a big decision, it’s a pretty easy decision,” said the high-ranking Pelicans executive on The Ryen Russillo Podcast, via ESPN. “The kid’s historically good when he plays … this is a max player, that’s easy.”

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As it is, however, the Pelicans appear hesitant to fully guarantee Zion’s deal. This could primarily be brought about by the fact that injuries have been a major issue in Williamson’s career thus far, particularly with how he missed the entire 2021-22 season.

“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,” Griffin said. “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.”

Griffin was rather cryptic in his statement but it’s not hard to decipher what he’s trying to say here. It is clear that the Pelicans have every intention of protecting themselves from the risk of a major injury. How this will reflect in Zion’s new deal remains to be seen.