The Charlotte Hornets have interest in signing Julyan Stone to be their third point guard, an informed source confirmed Saturday.
The complication is Stone, who has played for the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors, is under contract to a pro team in Italy.
International basketball website Sportando reported the Hornets’ interest in Stone Friday. Stone, 28, recently signed a two-year contract with Venice-based team Reyer Venezia. According to Sportando, Stone would like to sign with the Hornets, but doesn’t have an out clause in his contract.
The issue for Stone relates to his father’s health: Based on Stone’s Instagram account, his father is in a coronary care unit in the United States with severe lung, heart and kidney ailments. Stone would like to be let out of his contract in Italy to be closer to his father the upcoming season and to better pay for his care.
The Hornets are looking for a veteran third option at the point, behind starter Kemba Walker and recently-signed backup Michael Carter-Williams. As the Hornets come close to the NBA’s luxury-tax line next season – about $119 in payroll – they likely would have to fill that spot with a veteran-minimum player.
Walker had surgery on his left knee in May to repair a torn meniscus, his second procedure on that knee during his NBA career. Walker played Saturday in an exhibition in South Africa that matched NBA players with African ties with a World team. Walker and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki captained the world team.
Hornets general manager Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford said repeatedly during the offseason that they want to add an experienced third point guard. The Hornets recently waived a point guard, Briante Weber – who played a handful of games last season – to avoid guaranteeing his salary of about $1.5 million. The Hornets recently held a group workout of several point guards at Spectrum Center.
Stone has good size for a guard at 6-foot-6. He went unselected in the 2011 NBA draft, after playing four seasons of college basketball at Texas-El Paso. Stone made the Denver Nuggets, playing his first two seasons with them. He spent the 2013-14 season with the Raptors.
Since then, Stone has played internationally in Turkey and Italy and in the G-League with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Mad Ants.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell