Hornets sign Chris Paul to contract extension
The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have signed All-Star point guard Chris Paul to a contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.
“New Orleans is where I want to be, we have a great franchise and I am blessed to have an opportunity to be a Hornet” Paul said. “I want to thank the Shinn family for their belief in me and we all look forward to many great moments ahead.”
Paul, a First Team All-NBA selection, led the Hornets to their first Southwest Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference before falling in seven games to the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs. Paul paced the league in assists (11.6 apg) and steals (2.7 spg), becoming the first player since John Stockton (1992) to lead the NBA in both categories the same season. He also averaged a team-high 21.1 points per game.
“Chris is the face of our franchise and a leader both on and off the court,” Hornets owner George Shinn said. “Getting him signed to an extension was our number one priority and there couldn’t be a better person to represent New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana.”
This season, Paul became just the second player since Steve Nash (2006-07) to average at least 11.5 assists for a season in the last 13 years. Paul was the seventh player (first since Magic Johnson in 1986-87) to score over 20 points a game while also leading the league in assists and was the first player in NBA history to lead the league in assists and steals while scoring 20 or more points per game. Paul is the first player ever to average at least 21 points, 11 assists and 2.7 steals per game during the regular season.
“Chris is a special player and the best point guard in the NBA, plus he is only 23 years old,” Hornets head coach Byron Scott said. “This is a huge step in helping us continue our march for an NBA championship.”
Paul, the runner-up in this season’s MVP race, re-wrote seven franchise records and holds the NBA season single-game high for steals in a game with nine. Paul’s record-breaking season continued into the playoffs as he scored 35 points and handed out 10 assists in his first NBA playoff game, becoming first player in NBA history to have at least 35 points and at least 10 assists in his playoff debut. Only three other players in NBA history scored 35 or more points in their playoff debut and won the game: Wilt Chamberlain (PHI Warriors) in 1960 (35 points), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (MIL) in 1970 (36 points) and Gary Brokaw (MIL) in 1976 (36 points).
This season also marked Paul’s first appearance in the NBA All-Star game as he had 16 points and 14 assists, marking the first time a player had 14+ assists in an All-Star Game since Jason Kidd (2000). In addition, Paul is just the fourth player in All-Star Game history to reach 14+ points and 14+ assists in the game (Magic Johnson-four times, Isiah Thomas-twice and Oscar Robertson-as a rookie in 1961).