The Charlotte Hornets addressed their pressing need for point guard depth Saturday, agreeing to terms with former NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.
Carter-Williams will sign a one-year contract worth about $2.7 million.
Carter-Williams received the ROY award in the spring of 2014, after averaging 16.7 points and 6.3 assists for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second of his four NBA seasons.
Hornets GM Rich Cho told the Observer Walker’s backup ideally would be a player who could both play with or in place of Kemba Walker. The Hornets had success two seasons ago playing Walker and Jeremy Lin together late in games.
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He played off the bench last season for the Chicago Bulls, averaging 6.6 points and 2.5 assists. The Bulls chose not to make him a qualifying offer off his original rookie contract, which made him an unrestricted free agent.
Carter-Williams starred at Syracuse, where his 6-6 height was a defensive advantage in the passing lanes. His size should complement 6-1 starting point guard Kemba Walker, who was a first-time All-Star last season.
The Hornets chose not to exercise a team option of about $6.3 million for next season on Walker’s former backup, Ramon Sessions. The other veteran from last season’s team, Brian Roberts, is an unrestricted free agent who is considering playing in Europe.
The Hornets have point guard Briante Weber under contract (his salary would become guaranteed in early August). Weber is starting on the Hornets’ summer-league team in Orlando, but he has little experience on the NBA level.
Hornets general manager Rich Cho called point guard depth the team’s No. 1 need heading into Saturday’s free-agency period.
Cho told the Observer Walker’s backup ideally would be a player who could both play with or in place of Walker. The Hornets had success two seasons ago playing Walker and Jeremy Lin together late in games. Lin left a year ago, signing with the Brooklyn Nets.
Carter-Williams’ height suggests he could defend shooting guards when playing in the same backcourt with Walker.
The Hornets entered free agency in a payroll pinch after adding salary in the trade that brought center Dwight Howard to Charlotte.
Depth in general was the Hornets’ greatest deficiency in a 36-46 season. Once the Hornets sign Carter-Williams, they can play a second unit with him at the point, rookie Malik Monk at shooting guard, small forward Jeremy Lamb, power forward Frank Kaminsky and center Cody Zeller.