The New Orleans Pelicans really, really like Steven Adams.
Not only did the Pelicans shell out a first round pick, two second round picks, and George Hill from the reported Jrue Holiday trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder, it is now reported by Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that the Pelicans have also signed Adams to a 2-year, $35 million extension as part of the deal.
As part of his trade to New Orleans, the Pelicans have signed Steven Adams to a 2-year, $35M extension, sources tell @wojespn and I.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 24, 2020
Extension runs through the 2022-23 season, is fully guaranteed, sources say. https://t.co/EnwhzOsgOW— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 24, 2020
This helps explain the extent that New Orleans invested on the front end for Steven Adams. What was previously an expiring contract has now been extended to keep Adams on the books for the next three seasons — the remainder of Zion Williamson’s rookie contract.
The extended two years, at an annual amount of $17.5 million each, bring Adams’ salary much closer to the level of a typical good starting center. This is much more optimal than paying something to the equivalent of the final year of his current contract at $27.5 million.
This constitutes the longest and largest contract commitment the Pelicans have made to anyone since David Griffin and Trajan Langdon took over. That record should fall in the coming hours or days, once the re-signing of Brandon Ingram is finalized.