The Charlotte Hornets have made sure Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a Charlotte Hornet long-term.
The Hornets have agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract, sources confirmed Monday. The deal will keep him off the free-agent market, similar to when the Hornets signed point guard Kemba Walker to a four-year, $48 million contract a year ago.
Kidd-Gilchrist is considered the Hornets’ defensive stopper. Coach Steve Clifford has called him one of the best individual and team defenders in the league.
However, he lacks offensive prowess. He averaged 13.4 points and 9.4 rebounds and took no 3-point shots last season. Then-assistant coach Mark Price spent much of last summer improving his jump shot.
The Hornets were under a certain economic pressure to get this deal done. Three other rookie-scale extensions had been completed: Anthony Davis was signed for five years and $145 million, making him the highest-paid player in NBA history. Portland’s Damian Lillaird got a 5-year, $120 million contract.
And most recently Jonas Valanciunas got a four-year, $64 million contract from the Toronto Raptors.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell