Hornets guard LaMelo Ball leaves game with ankle injury of unknown severity

Per the Charlotte Observer:

Ball went up for a left-handed layup with 2:26 remaining in the second quarter and landed awkwardly as he got tangled up with Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, leaving Ball to crumple to the court in agony. The Hornets’ floor general had to be helped off the floor and went immediately into the locker room, unable to put much weight on his foot as he uncomfortably hopped off.

The main concern for the Hornets (5-10) and their never-ending woes? It’s the same ankle Ball had surgery on in March, the very injury that prevented him from being cleared for full basketball activities until a few weeks before training camp began last month. He’s worn ankle braces for extra support, hoping they would help keep him healthy.

Ball hasn’t made it through a full schedule yet since entering the league in 2020 and appeared in only 36 games last season after injuring his ankles four times. He was on a roll of late, compiling a multitude of impressive stats.


Hornets re-sign Theo Maledon to two-way contract

The Charlotte Hornets have re-signed guard Theo Maledon to a two-way contract.

Maledon appeared in 44 games for the Hornets during the 2022-23 season and averaged 6.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and a career-high-tying 3.5 assists per game. He also set personal bests in field goal percentage (.402) and free-throw percentage (.851), and he dished a career-high 14 assists vs. Toronto (April 2).

Prior to the Hornets, Maledon played two seasons for the Oklahoma City Thunder, accruing averages of 8.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game across 116 contests (56 starts). He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round (34th overall) of the 2020 NBA Draft following five professional seasons in France.

After signing Maledon, the Hornets roster stands at 19.

Hornets reveal new Classic Edition uniform for 2023-24 season

The Charlotte Hornets today unveiled a new Classic Edition uniform to be worn during the 2023-24 season in celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the franchise’s inaugural 1988-89 campaign. With a teal silhouette featuring multi-colored double pinstripes, the 2023-24 Hornets Classic Edition uniform echoes the second-generation Hornets uniforms from 1997-2002.

“We’re pleased to introduce a new Classic Edition uniform to be worn as part of our celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Charlotte Hornets inaugural season,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Throughout our history, the Hornets have been recognized for fashionable uniform designs, and we know our fans will be excited to see the look that our team wore from 1997-2002 back on the court in Charlotte.”

The jersey features the classic Hornets font for the “Charlotte” wordmark on the chest, the player’s name on the back and the number on both sides. Along with the multi-colored double pinstripes in royal blue, light blue, purple and green, the design includes a crossover v-neck, along with purple striped side panels on both the jersey and shorts. The shorts are highlighted by a Classic Hornets logo on the left thigh. Like all Hornets uniforms, the jersey features the logo of Nike’s Jordan Brand on the right chest.

The Hornets are expected to wear the Classic Edition uniforms for eight home games this season, during which the evolution of the franchise from 1988 to the present and on into the future will be celebrated as part of the 35th Anniversary. The schedule of games and a special ticket package will be unveiled in early September.

Hornets sign forward Leaky Black to two-way contract

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced yesterday that the team signed forward Leaky Black to a two-way contract.

A native of Concord, N.C., Black appeared in a school-record 155 games (130 starts) in five seasons (2018-23) at the University of North Carolina, averaging 5.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 26.9 minutes per game for his career.

He was named to the ACC All-Defense team in his final two collegiate seasons. During his time in Chapel Hill, Black won an ACC regular-season championship in 2018-19 and helped the Tar Heels reach the 2021-22 NCAA Tournament championship game.

In three games with the Hornets between the California Classic and NBA2K24 Summer League, Black tallied 2.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game.

Charlotte Hornets select Brandon Miller second overall in 2023 NBA draft

The Charlotte Hornets selected forward Brandon Miller from the University of Alabama with the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

The 6-9 Miller was named First Team AP All-America, Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and NABC Freshman of the Year this season. He became the first player in conference history to win SEC Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP in the same season.

Miller led the Crimson Tide to the 2022-23 SEC regular season and tournament titles, the No. 1 ranking in the final AP poll and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

He poured in 18.8 points per game, tops in the SEC and the most among all freshmen nationally. Miller ranked first in the SEC and 13th nationally with 106 made 3-pointers, the second-most in a season in Alabama history. He shot 38.4 percent from 3 and 85.9 percent from the free-throw line, both of which represented the second-highest marks in the conference. Miller also ranked fourth in the SEC in rebounds per game (8.2) and 10th in blocks (32).

A consensus five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American out of Cane Ridge High School in Antioch, Tenn., Miller was named Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022. His father, Darrell, played football at Alabama in the early ‘90s.

Hornets take Brandon Miller with No. 2 pick in 2023 NBA Draft

Via ESPN.com:

The Charlotte Hornets had whittled their choices to two players on the eve of the 2023 NBA draft, but in the end they selected Alabama forward Brandon Miller with the second pick Thursday night…

In Miller, the Hornets add a 6-foot-9 playmaker who won SEC Freshman and Player of the Year honors at Alabama last season after averaging 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 43% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. He also won the SEC tournament’s MVP award and was named a second-team All-American.

Michael Jordan has reached an agreement to sell his majority ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets

Hornets Sports & Entertainment (HSE) announced today that Chairman Michael Jordan has reached an agreement to sell his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets to a group (“the Buyer Group”) led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall.

Plotkin, who acquired a minority stake in the Hornets in 2019, has been an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2019 and is the founder and chief investment officer of Tallwoods Capital LLC. Schnall is co-president of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, where he has worked for 27 years, and has been a significant minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks and an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2015. Schnall is in the process of selling his investment in the Hawks, which is expected to be completed in the next several weeks.

The Buyer Group will also include Chris Shumway, Dan Sundheim, Ian Loring, Dyal HomeCourt Partners, North Carolina natives recording artist J. Cole and country music singer-songwriter Eric Church, and several local Charlotte investors, including Amy Levine Dawson and Damian Mills.

As part of the transaction, Jordan will retain a minority ownership share of the team. The transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. Along with the Hornets, HSE ownership includes the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League) and Hornets Venom GT (NBA 2K League), as well as managing and operating Spectrum Center, each of which is included as part of the sale.

Hornets sign Kobi Simmons to Two-Way contract

Charlotte Hornets have signed guard Kobi Simmons to a Two-Way contract.

Simmons has scored 1,803 points in three seasons (2019-21, 22-23) with the Greensboro Swarm, an all-time record for the Hornets’ G League affiliate. In 98 contests (78 starts) with the Swarm, Simmons has averaged 18.4 points (46.2 FG%, 36.2 3P%, 78.9 FT%), 4.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.5 minutes per game. Prior to the Swarm, he spent two seasons with the Memphis Hustle and the Cleveland Charge.

Simmons made his NBA debut for the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2017-18 season. He notched career highs with 20 points and seven assists in a Grizzlies win over the Detroit Pistons on April 8, 2018. Simmons has appeared in 33 games (12 starts) for the Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers, recording 5.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.5 minutes per game. His professional experience also includes one season (2021-22) playing for BM Slam Stal Ostrow WLKP of the Polish EBL.

Simmons played one season at the University of Arizona (2016-17), where he averaged 8.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 23.5 minutes per game across 37 contests (19 starts). He helped the Wildcats earn a Pac-12 championship, a trip to the Sweet 16 and the No. 4 spot in the final AP poll.

Hornets sign Xavier Sneed to 10-day contract

The Charlotte Hornets have signed forward Xavier Sneed to a 10-day contract.

Sneed averaged 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in 31.2 minutes per game across 32 contests (all starts) with the Greensboro Swarm this season. The veteran wing scored a career-high 30 points in a Greensboro Swarm win over the Windy City Bulls on Feb. 5, 2023 and totaled 20 or more points nine times this season. He made his NBA debut last season, appearing in nine games with Memphis and Utah.

He also played 15 games (14 starts) in 2021-22 with the Salt Lake City Stars and the Swarm, averaging 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 31.6 minutes per game. In 13 games (10 starts) with the Swarm in 2020-21, Sneed posted 8.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.9 steals in 23.3 minutes per game.

Hornets sign Nick Richards to multi-year contract extension

The Charlotte Hornets have signed center Nick Richards to a multi-year contract extension.

Per multiple reports, the extension is for three years, $15 million.

In 58 games (five starts) this season, Richards is averaging career highs in points (7.9), rebounds (6.1), blocks (1.1) and minutes per game (18.2). For his career, Richards has appeared in 126 games (10 starts), recording 5.0 points (62.9 FG%) and 3.6 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game.

Per ESPN.com, “Richards, a player development revelation under Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, was extension eligible until June 30.”

The Hornets acquired Richards, who was originally selected by the New Orleans Pelicans in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2020 NBA Draft, via a draft night trade in exchange for a 2024 second-round draft pick. Richards signed a multi-year contract with the Hornets on Nov. 30, 2020.

Richards played three seasons (2017-20) at the University of Kentucky, averaging 7.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.2 minutes per game across 105 contests (70 starts). As a junior in 2019-20, he posted 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game to lead the Wildcats to a regular-season SEC championship.