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Hornets Sign Damien Wilkins

OCTOBER 16TH, 8:24am: The deal is finally official, the team announced. That brings Charlotte’s roster to 19 players.

OCTOBER 6TH, 8:42am: The contract will be non-guaranteed, Wilkins says on his personal blog (hat tip to Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk). The blog entry recounts the events leading up to the Hornets deal for Wilkins, who very nearly left on a plane to join his Venezuelan team, and Wilkins notes that he had already signed a contract with the Venezuelan club, which evidently allowed him to break the pact.

1:43pm: Charlotte does plan to sign Wilkins, as Bonnell makes clear in a full story.

9:49am: The Hornets are indeed bringing in Wilkins for a “preseason look,” tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. That presumably confirms that the team intends to sign him.

OCTOBER 5TH, 8:22am: Nine-year NBA veteran Damien Wilkins is headed to Charlotte for a chance to return to the league, as indicated by quotes attributed to him on the Twitter feed of the Venezuelan team Guaros de Lara (hat tip to Kevin Pelton of Wilkins said he wouldn’t be joining Guaros de Lara as planned after receiving word of an opportunity with Charlotte (All five Twitter links here, in Spanish). Other tweets from the Venezuelan team indicate the same, so it would appear that the Hornets are either going to work him out, sign him, or both. It seems part of an effort to offset the loss of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has a dislocated right shoulder. The Hornets have yet to release any timetable, but it’s an injury that typically costs players three to 12 weeks, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

Wilkins, 35, was last on an NBA contract two years ago, when the Hawks brought him to camp and waived him before the start of the regular season. He’d spent 2012/13 season with the Sixers, for whom he put up 6.4 points in 18.0 minutes per game with 33.3% shooting in 61 appearances, numbers close to his NBA career averages. Wilkins has played overseas and in the D-League since, notching 20.2 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 37.8 MPG with 33.1% three-point shooting across 50 contests with the D-League affiliate of the Grizzlies this past season.

Kidd-Gilchrist and Wilkins are both perimeter players, lending credence to the idea that Kidd-Gilchrist’s injury precipitated Wilkins’ trip to Charlotte. The Hornets have been carrying 18 players, as our roster count shows. Coach Steve Clifford has opposed the idea of adding more, but that’s a stance that’s likely changed with the injury. Charlotte has its entire $5.464MM mid-level exception at its disposal, though few players receive more than the minimum this time of year. A more significant question likely involves how much, if any, guaranteed money Wilkins would receive. Charlotte already has 14 full guarantees.

Do you think Wilkins can help the Hornets? Leave a comment to tell us.

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