Eastern Notes: Kidd-Gilchrist, Beasley, Thompson

Steve Clifford believes the reasons were numerous for the Hornets to sign Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to his four-year, $52MM extension, but chief among them is Charlotte’s performance with him in the lineup as opposed to without, the coach said Wednesday, according to Steve Reed of The Associated Press. The Hornets went 62-55 when he played and 14-33 when he didn’t the last two season, Reed notes. “As much as anybody that we have had in the two years I’ve been here, he’s been the guy that we can’t play well without for any long period of time,” Clifford said.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Several executives around the league can envision Toronto native Tristan Thompson signing with the Raptors next summer if he signs his qualifying offer with the Cavaliers this year, reports Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops. Agent Rich Paul has said Thompson won’t re-sign with Cleveland in 2016 if he takes the qualifying offer. One Eastern Conference GM said he’d thought Thompson would end up in Toronto this summer. Thompson is friends with Raptors signee Cory Joseph, who’s also from Toronto, Scotto notes.
  • One Eastern Conference GM who spoke with Scotto estimated Thompson’s worth at $15MM a year, regardless of the expected spike in the salary cap over the next few years. That would put him beneath the max-level salaries he’s believed to be seeking in negotiations with the Cavs.
  • In a response to a reader question, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel opines that one reason the Heat haven’t re-signed Michael Beasley is that the team is looking to keep its 15th roster slot open for a developmental player who can be shuttled between the main club and the D-League. Miami currently has 12 fully guaranteed pacts on its roster

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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