A day after signing Kemba Walker to four more years in Charlotte, the Hornets locked up Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller for another year before the newly branded Hornets tipped off the 2014-15 season.
The Hornets exercised their fourth-year option on Kidd-Gilchrist and their third-year option on Zeller just before their 108-106 overtime win Wednesday night against Milwaukee, meaning both players will be in Charlotte next season.
Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte’s 2012 first-round pick at No. 2 overall, finished Wednesday’s game against the Bucks with 17 points and eight rebounds. Zeller, the No. 4 pick in the 2013 draft, had 11 points off the bench.
“We are excited to keep both of these young talents as part of our core for another season,” general manager Rich Cho said in a statement. “We have been very pleased with their improvement and look forward to seeing them continue to grow alongside the great group of guys we have in our locker room.”
Stern on Jordan: Former NBA Commissioner David Stern said Michael Jordan has changed in the four years he’s owned the Hornets, but he’s the same guy in one crucial way:
“If there’s a more competitive person in the world, I haven’t met him yet,” Stern said of Jordan. “His competitive juices have really flowed as the owner of this team.”
Stern was in Charlotte for the first game in Time Warner Cable Arena under the Hornets rebrand. He joked, “I guess I get to do this once every 26 years.”
Stern played a significant role in Jordan buying majority control of the team from Robert Johnson. Stern said it’s only natural that Jordan would need time to adapt to an ownership role, particularly after being the NBA’s top player for so long.
“There are two things he can do as owner (to impact winning and losing): How he put together a coaching staff and what kind of roster you build,” Stern said. “The evidence I’ve seen suggests he’s responded greatly to that task.”
• Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame sang the national anthem.
• Panthers owner/founder Jerry Richardson and team President Danny Morrison were at the game.
• Former Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson took in the game from courtside.
• Jordan was at his usual spot at the end of the Hornets bench and not in his suite.
• North Carolina coach Roy Williams stuck around Charlotte after ACC basketball media day to see his former players Kendall Marshall, John Henson, P.J. Hairston and Marvin Williams.
• Marvin Williams gave the 3-point goggles sign when he made his first two 3s in the first half.
• The Hornets made a 360-degree panorama at the first timeout of the first quarter. Try to find yourself in the crowd at hornets.com.
• The all-teal jerseys looked nice on the court, but those uniforms and the all-red Bucks uniforms should never share the same floor.
• Walker drew a technical in the first quarter for yelling after a made basket. The guard crossed over Brandon Knight and sunk an 18-footer. After getting off the floor following what he felt should have been a foul, Walker yelled something and the official gave him his first technical of the season.
• Gary Neal took the long way to the bench midway through the fourth quarter. After a loose ball went out of bounds, coach Steve Clifford substituted Neal, who had just chased after the ball, for Walker. Neal, already in the tunnel on the far end of the court, walked around the bowels of the court and back to the bench through the other tunnel.
• Center Bismack Biyombo did not play (coach’s decision).