The Pelicans have picked up their 2021/22 team options on the rookie scale contracts of Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a league source tells Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link).
All three players already had their salaries guaranteed for the coming season. Having these options exercised ensures that their salaries for 2021/22 – the third year of their respective rookie contracts – will also be locked in.
Williamson’s option salary for ’21/22 will be approximately $10.7MM, while Hayes will earn about $5.3MM and Alexander-Walker will make $3.3MM. A year from now, the Pelicans will face decisions on all three players’ 2022/23 options.
Williamson – 2019’s No. 1 overall pick and, improbably, the longest-tenured Pelican – appeared in just 24 games as a rookie, playing limited minutes after coming off knee surgery. However, he still put up outstanding numbers, including 22.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 27.8 minutes per contest. He’s set to enter this season without minute restrictions.
Hayes and Alexander-Walker played modest roles as rookies and aren’t considered franchise cornerstones on the same level that Williamson is, but the Pelicans will be counting on both youngsters to take a step or two forward in 2020/21.