Each summer in the NBA is filled with speculation about trades and the progression of negotiations with players seeking contract extensions. Here’s the latest news in the league as we move further into this offseason.
Williamson Extension Includes Weight Clause
Zion Williams of the New Orleans Pelicans recently signed a new max contract extension with the team worth a minimum of $193 million over five years. The deal could reach a maximum value of $231 million with incentives if he wins a major season award or is an All-NBA selection. The contract also includes a weight clause, meaning that Williamson will have to weigh in periodically throughout the deal and could lose money if his weight plus body fat percentage goes above 29%.
The first overall pick of the 2019 draft has had a difficult few years in the NBA. He missed almost his entire rookie season after knee surgery, broke his finger in his second season, which ended early, and sat out all of last season due to a broken foot that had complications and failed to heal properly.
Williams has only played 85 games in three seasons and averaged 25.7 points and seven rebounds while shooting 60.4%. He has been cleared to play without restrictions and will return to the Pelicans’ starting lineup next season.
No Takers Yet In Nets Trade Demands for Durant
It’s been nearly a month since Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant requested to be traded, but he still remains a member of the team, which has some pretty big expectations as far as what they’ll take in return for the 12-time All-Star. The Boston Celtics showed interest in acquiring Durant, offering a package that included Jaylen Brown. Unfortunately for them, their proposal of Brown, Derrick White and a first-round draft pick for Durant was rejected.
Boston is intent on keeping its core together to ensure they remain championship contenders after losing in the NBA Finals last season. However, in the right situation, acquiring Durant could be the piece they need to put them over the top and help them take home their first NBA title since 2008.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ recent trade for Rudy Gobert to Utah included a package of several players, this year’s first-round pick, four future first-round picks, and a draft pick swap. This deal somewhat increased Durant’s market value, as the Nets hope to acquire top-caliber talent and several first-round picks in any deal.
Sixers Reach Deal With Harden
The Philadelphia 76ers reached a deal with James Harden, extending his contract for two years and $68.6 million. The agreement also includes a player option for the 2023 season. Harden clarified to the organization that he is committed to being in Philly and helping them get better. “Taking less money this year to sign as many players as we needed to help us contend and be the last team standing was very, very important to me,” Harden said in a recent AP interview.
Harden’s recent production with the Nets was well below his career scoring average while he dealt with a nagging hamstring injury all season. However, his numbers were still outstanding, as he averaged 22 points, 10.3 assists, and 7.7 rebounds in 65 games last season. Harden was the NBA scoring champion as recently as 2019-2020 when he averaged 34.3 points per game.