The four-year, $52MM extension that the Hornets and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made official today includes a player option on the fourth season, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). That’ll allow him to hit unrestricted free agency when he’s only 25 years old and the salary cap will be a projected $102MM. Hornets GM Rich Cho cited Kidd-Gilchrist’s age and upside as part of the reason for tying him up for at least this season and three more, as the Hornets’ official feed notes from today’s press conference (Twitter links).
“We feel like [he] is just scratching the surface of what he is as a player,” Cho said.
Cho had more to say, and Kidd-Gilchrist spoke, too, as we’ll round up here:
- The Leon Rose client cited the presence of owner Michael Jordan, coach Steve Clifford, assistant coach Patrick Ewing and even former assistant coach Mark Price, who was in attendance at the press conference, for his desire to do the extension, according to Bonnell (All Twitter links). “Why wait? I’m learning from the best,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I don’t do this for the money.”
- Kidd-Gilchrist “embodies everything we want in a Hornet,” Cho said, and Clifford expressed a belief that the former No. 2 overall pick should make the All-Defensive First Team this coming season, Bonnell relays (Twitter links).
- The Hornets have signed Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker to rookie scale extensions in back-to-back years, and that represents a change in the organization’s strategy, after Charlotte let Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace and Gerald Henderson hit restricted free agency in the past, Bonnell observes. Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk told Bonnell this past spring that the surge in the cap would create a more competitive marketplace, perhaps a hint at the reason behind the philosophical shift. It also coincided with the departure of former president of basketball operations Rod Higgins.