Two regular-season games were apparently enough for the Charlotte Hornets to commit to shooting guard Jeremy Lamb.
The team announced Monday that it has signed Lamb to a contract extension. An informed source confirmed the deal is for three seasons with a total value of about $21 million.
The Hornets also announced they have exercised their option on power forward Cody Zeller for the 2016-17 season under the rookie scale. That guarantees Zeller, the fourth overall pick in 2013, about $5 million next season.
Monday at midnight is the deadline for such extensions for players in the 2012 draft class. The Hornets similarly extended point guard Kemba Walker at the outset of the 2014-15 season and small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last summer to keep them off the free-agent market.
Lamb, the 12th overall pick in 2012, came to the Hornets in a June trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is averaging 10 points and three rebounds in two games off the bench for Charlotte after recovering from a recent ankle sprain.
“It’s huge. Things didn’t start out in the NBA the way I thought they would but God had a plan,” Lamb said at practice when asked about the extension.
“The culture here is great. Marvin (Williams) works extremely hard, Kemba works extremely hard, MKG works extremely hard. I feel like I fit in good with this system. We have a lot of unselfish guys and the offense is a good fit for me. They like me and I like being here.”
ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported the contract talks involving the Hornets and Lamb.
Lamb was originally drafted by the Houston Rockets following his sophomore season at Connecticut. Lamb was traded to the Thunder in a package that sent James Harden to the Rockets in Lamb’s first NBA preseason.
Lamb got limited playing time in his three seasons with the Thunder, playing behind various veterans on a team with championship talent. So far he’s averaging 18 minutes a game off the bench for the Hornets.
Zeller misses practice
Zeller sat out Monday practice with what the team is calling dehydration. According to coach Steve Clifford, Zeller has unexpectedly lost about 10 pounds of late.
“They’re trying to figure it out. In the last week and a half he’s lost 8 to 10 pounds. He actually gained some of it back today and they ran a bunch of tests this morning,” said Clifford. “The funny thing is he doesn’t feel sick at all, but he’s losing weight and his energy level is down.”
Clifford said a preliminary test indicated Zeller isn’t suffering from mononucleosis.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell