Negotiations are progressing toward guard Julyan Stone being released from his contract with an Italian team so he can sign with the Charlotte Hornets.
A source familiar with the situation cautioned nothing has been signed yet. However, Stone could soon be available to be the Hornets’ third point guard behind starter Kemba Walker and backup Michael Carter-Williams.
Stone, 28, has played in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. The last three seasons he has played internationally (Turkey and Italy) and in the G-League, the NBA’s development league.
Stone played last season for Venice-based Umana Reyer Venezia, which won the Italian League. He signed a contract extension this summer that did not include an out clause to leave for the NBA.
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Stone’s father is in a coronary care unit with severe lung, heart and kidney ailments. He and his Los Angeles-based agent, Giovanni Funiciello, have asked the team to release him so he can be closer to his father in the United States for the upcoming season.
Funiciello could not be reached for comment Saturday morning.
To sign with an NBA team, Stone would have to arrange for a letter from FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, saying he’s not contractually bound to another team.
Stone went unselected in the 2011 draft after completing his college career at Texas-El Paso. At 6-foot-6, he has played point and shooting guard as a pro.
The Hornets have been looking to sign a third point guard for the veteran minimum. They released Briante Weber last month before his salary for next season – about $1.5 million – would have become guaranteed.
Stone’s size is attractive, with the Hornets using the 11th pick on Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk, who is somewhat undersized for his position at 6-3.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell