During a press conference with gathered reporters, Ball and team president and general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke about the new agreement, as Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer reports.
“The decision, it wasn’t really hard,” Ball, the third draft pick in 2020, said. “All my years here I’ve had a good time. Life wasn’t bad. The basketball aspect, that’s not really going well. You kind of want to live your life and just have fun and just be living well. So in Charlotte I was doing that, so it just all felt like a great choice.”
Ball was limited to just 36 contests with the Hornets in 2022/23 due to ankle injuries, but was prolific on offense when he did play. The 6’7″ guard averaged 23.3 PPG on .411/.376/.836 shooting splits, along with 8.4 APG and 6.4 RPG. Charlotte has yet to make the playoffs during Ball’s NBA career.
“To have a player of LaMelo’s caliber with his game, with his youth, we know he is going to get better as a player,” Kupchak said. “He’s here every day. He certainly had a setback last year, but in terms of healing, he’s been 100 percent healed and he’s been on the court working out every single day trying to get better.”
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- Heat forward Haywood Highsmith recently saw his $1.9MM salary for the 2023/24 season become fully guaranteed, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “It’s a good step in the right direction for me,” Highsmith told Chiang. “Still developing, still trying to get better and big things coming for me, I hope. I’ve been working hard this offseason, so it’s definitely a good step in the right direction.” Former Miami teammate Udonis Haslem, now retired, unpacked how Highsmith approaches the game. “Undersized, not a guy who you’re going to run a lot of plays for, has to be efficient,” Haslem said. “His approach is a defensive-minded approach, so he takes the challenge every night. He’s just my guy.”
- Despite a winless five-game 2023 Summer League run, the Magic were able to learn about their two rookie lottery selections, while in turn educating No. 6 pick Anthony Black and No. 11 pick Jett Howard about the team’s own approach to its internal dynamics, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. “From everybody in the front office to the coaching staff to the players, everybody’s locked in,” Howard said, “We just met each other but we still had the willingness to keep fighting and sticking together. “Even down the stretch when we’re losing, we’re still cognate for one another. We showed up and worked hard in training camp. All of those things just make a culture.”
- On the cusp of his 11th NBA season, 32-year-old Wizards big man Mike Muscala isn’t taking his longevity for granted, writes Chip Scoggins of The Star Tribune. “As a young athlete, you’re always striving for something,” Muscala said. “It’s like, ‘I want to do this. I want to compete against this person.’ There’s still a lot of value in that. But once you kind of check those boxes, it’s like, now what? When you’re grateful for whatever situation you’re in and the opportunities you have, that’s been motivating me.”