While it isn’t described as a suspension, the Hornets will have center Kai Jones away from the team indefinitely with no timetable for a return, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Jones will be absent for training camp due to personal reasons, Charania adds, and Charlotte is in “constant” contact with the former first-round pick.
The Hornets released a statement (via Twitter) confirming that Jones is indefinitely away from the team for personal reasons.
Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer reported a few days ago that there were indications that Jones might not play for the Hornets this season. The 22-year-old made a series of strange social media posts — including calling out some of his teammates — and has been absent during optional sessions for players in recent weeks.
Jones will earn a guaranteed $3.05MM this season after the Hornets picked up their third-year team option on his rookie scale contract last fall. However, based on recent events and his limited role during his first two seasons, it’s looking extremely unlikely that they will pick up his $4.69MM option for 2024/25.
A native of the Bahamas, Jones played two years at Texas before being selected No. 19 overall in the 2021 draft. During his two seasons with Charlotte, he has averaged a 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 67 total games (9.1 minutes per night).
Jones has had a much bigger role at the G League level, averaging 17.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.1 blocks in 38 regular season games with the Greensboro Swarm — Charlotte’s affiliate — from 2021-23. However, he was still projected to be the Hornets’ third-string center entering ’23/24, behind Mark Williams and Nick Richards.