Pelicans rumors: Zion Williamson remains a sneaker free agent because of Puma
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Report: Zion Williamson remains a sneaker free agent because of Puma

Zion Williamson, Puma

Zion Williamson’s chosen footwear at Summer League was no accident. According to TMZ Sports, the New Orleans Pelicans rookie remains a sneaker free agent precisely because Puma, which he rocked publicly in Las Vegas, has emerged as a “major contender” to sign him to an endorsement contract.

Most assumed Williamson was destined to be Nike’s latest signature athlete considering he donned the swoosh at Duke and throughout the pre-draft process. Indeed, TMZ reports that Nike remains a strong contender to sign him. The sportswear giant is reportedly making him its “No. 1 priority.”

Williamson, the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, had his highly-anticipated Summer League debut cut short when he suffered a minor knee injury and was held out of subsequent competition by the Pelicans as a precaution. He certainly made his presence felt during his brief time on the floor, though, scoring 11 points and grabbing three rebounds in nine minutes of play.

The consensus National Player of the Year as a freshman, Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game last season. At 6-foot-7 and a chiseled 285 pounds, his combination of sheer size and overall athleticism is unlike any the game has ever seen before. But Williamson is much more than an athlete, too, combining his singular physical tools with advanced basketball IQ and an unrelenting motor to make him a potentially transcendent player at the next level.

New Orleans enjoyed a stellar offseason, trading Anthony Davis for an unprecedented haul of players and draft picks, then signing J.J. Redick and trading for Derrick Favors in free agency. Rookies Nickeil Walker-Alexander and Jaxson Hayes were two of the best players at Summer League, too.

But Williamson is the Pelicans’ biggest prize, and it certainly seems like he’s being treated as such by Puma, Nike, and others hoping to capitalize off his generational talent.