Marco Belinelli

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that the team has extended a qualifying offer to guard Marco Belinelli for the 2011-12 season, making him a restricted free agent. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

“We were very pleased with the performances of both Marco and Jason Smith as each of them had their best professional season and it was fun to watch them grow and contribute to our success,” said Hornets General Manager Dell Demps. “We know both players will continue to improve and hope to have each of them back for the 2011-12 season.”

Belinelli averaged career-highs of 10.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 24.5 minutes in 80 games, 69 of which were starts (both career-highs).  He shot 43.7% from the field and a career-best 41.1% from beyond the arc. Belinelli registered four 20-point performances for the Hornets last season.