LaMelo Ball, Hornets finalizing 5-year contract extension: Reports

LaMelo Ball, Hornets finalizing 5-year contract extension: Reports

Star guard LaMelo Ball and the Hornets are finalizing a five-year extension that will pay him up to $260 million, per multiple reports.

 The Hornets are looking to keep their former All-Star in the fold and build around him after a disappointing season for both he and the team. Ball was limited to 36 games in 2022-23, but was solid overall when he played, posting 23.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game in 35.2 minutes per game.

Charlotte struggled through a 27-55 season and missed the NBA Playoffs after going 43-39 in 2021-22 and making the AT&T Play-In Tournament. Ball was an All-Star that season (20.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 7.6 apg, 1.6 spg) and was the driving force behind the Hornets being in the mix as a rising team in the Eastern Conference.

The Kia Rookie of the Year winner in 2020-21, Ball was ruled out for the season on March 1 after having season-ending surgery on his broken right ankle. As the Hornets neared the end of their season, Ball said he anticipates being ready for training camp in September but whether he considers wearing ankle braces going forward remains to be seen.

“It’s tough,” Ball said in late March. “I mean probably annoying just going through it, but I’m still alive and stuff like that, so you can’t really be too mad. Just go through the rehab, do that whole process and try to come out on top.”

In mid-June, Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan announced he was selling his stake in the team. The sale price was not immediately announced; ESPN, citing sources, said the franchise was being valued at $3 billion. The most recent sale of an NBA team came when Mat Ishbia bought the Phoenix Suns, a deal that when struck in December valued that franchise at $4 billion.

The Hornets had playoff expectations this season, but Miles Bridges’ legal troubles over the summer and a series of injuries to key players like Ball, Gordon Hayward, Cody Martin and Kelly Oubre Jr. wrecked the team’s season.

When on the court, Ball showed he was ready to take the next step in his progression after reaching the All-Star game last season. With the stats he put up in 2022-23, he became the second-youngest player to record 1,000 points, assists and rebounds in NBA history behind only LeBron James.

It has been a rough year for Ball’s older brother Lonzo, too.

The Chicago Bulls point guard hasn’t played in more than a year and a half because of a baffling left knee injury. Team president Arturas Karnisovas said in June the team is not expecting him to play at all in 2023-24.

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