The 2020 All-Star, who has famously struggled to maintain his weight since arriving in the NBA as the top draft pick out of Duke in 2019, will be required to undergo regular weigh-ins, reports Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
According to Clark, the combined total of Williamson’s body fat percentage and weight does not clock in below 295, New Orleans will have the ability to reduce the guarantee on his salary.
Clark notes that Williamson’s deal could pay him as much as $231MM, should he qualify for a 2023 All-NBA Team or be named the Defensive Player of the Year or MVP next season. If he doesn’t meet the Rose Rule criteria, it will be worth $193MM. Those figures are based on current cap projections for 2023/24, which is when Zion’s new deal will go into effect.
Clark adds that Williamson’s body weight and overall consistent fitness have been an issue for the Pelicans throughout his three-year NBA tenure.
The former No. 1 overall pick entered the NBA weighing a listed 284 pounds in 2019. After fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in the summer of 2021, Williamson’s conditioning was impacted, and he checked into team training camp at a figure beyond 300 pounds. He did not suit up for a single game during the 2021/22 season.
As Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report notes (Twitter link), a hypothetical decrease in Williamson’s guaranteed salary would only be relevant if the Pelicans eventually decide to waive him or trade him (for salary-matching purposes). As long as he plays out his full five-year contract without being cut, he’ll still earn his full salary for all five seasons.