The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have signed free agent guard D.J. Strawberry and center Darryl Watkins. Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not released. The addition of Strawberry and Watkins puts the training camp roster at 14 thus far.
Strawberry (6-5, 205) was drafted in the second round (59th overall) in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. He appeared in 33 games for the Suns during the 2007-08 season, averaging 2.2 points in 8.2 minutes of play. He was sent down to the NBA D-League for five games by the Suns to play for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. In five games, Strawberry averaged 31.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 41.4 minutes of play and was named the D-League performer of the week for his play. After being traded to the Houston Rockets prior to the 2008-09 season, Strawberry was cut before the regular season and signed with Fortitudo Bologna of the Italian League. In Italy, he averaged 11.1 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games during the regular season and 14.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in six games during the Eurocup.
The son of former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry, D.J. played for the Reno Bighorns of the D-League last season. In 26 games, he averaged 13.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 27.8 minutes of play. Most recently, the Mater Dei High School graduate (Santa Ana, Ca.) played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Summer League this past July in Las Vegas. In five games, he poured in 13.0 points and 2.2 assists in 26.2 minutes of play. Strawberry played four years at the University of Maryland, earning many honors including being elected second team All-ACC his senior season.
Watkins (6-11, 258) signed with the Sacramento Kings after being undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft. Watkins appeared in nine games during the 2007-08 season with the Kings, averaging 1.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 7.9 minutes of play. The Patterson, NJ native was waived by the Kings in December of 2007 and split the rest of the season with the Los Angeles D-Fenders and the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League. In Los Angeles, he appeared in 18 games (16 starts), averaging 4.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 19.8 minutes. In 22 games (11 starts), Watkins put up 8.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 20.3 minutes of play for the Energy.
Watkins played for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2008 Las Vegas Summer League and signed a two-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs in September of 2008. He was cut just before the 2008 season and signed with Tianjin of the Chinese Basketball League for the 2008-09 season. In China, he played in 43 games, averaging 20.7 points and 14.0 rebounds in 41.6 minutes of play. Last season, he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the preseason, but was cut just before the regular season. Most recently, he appeared for the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando Summer League and the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League this past July. Watkins played four years at Syracuse University with career averages of 6.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game over 106 appearances (67 starts). He ranks fifth in Syracuse history with 263 career blocks.