The agent for guard Julyan Stone still hopes to work out a compromise with an Italian pro team, allowing Stone to sign with the Charlotte Hornets.
Stone would be the Hornets’ third point guard behind starter Kemba Walker and backup Michael Carter-Williams. The Hornets are reportedly prepared to sign Stone, 28, to a two-year contract. That would be contingent on Stone being released from the contract he signed recently with Venice-based Reyer Venezia.
“The Hornets have been super supportive,” Stone’s agent, Giovanni Funiciello, said in a phone interview with the Observer Monday.
Stone is in a family health crisis that is the driving factor in his wanting to play in the United States next season. According to Stone’s Instagram account, his father is in a coronary care unit with severe lung, heart and kidney ailments. Stone said on Instagram that he and Funiciello have proposed numerous compromises with Reyer Venezia in pursuit of a release.
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Funiciello is hopeful of coming to a resolution sometime this week.
“Unfortunately, he’s extremely ill,” Funiciello said of Stone’s father. “The last thing we wanted to do was get this out there in the public.”
International basketball website Sportando reported Stone signed a new two-year contract with Reyer Venezia this summer that does not include an opt-out allowing him to leave for the NBA. Reyer Venezia won the Italian League championship in June, beating Trento 4-2 in a best-of-seven series.
“An opportunity presented itself that would help me provide for my father and his health care, as well as being close enough to be with him,” Stone wrote on Instagram. “This opportunity alone will allow my father to have the proper insurance that will give him the best chance to continue to fight for his life.”
The Hornets have been looking for a third point-guard option, recently holding a large-group tryout at the Spectrum Center. The Hornets cut Briante Weber recently, rather than allow Weber’s contract of about $1.5 million to become guaranteed for next season.
Because the Hornets’ player payroll is close to the NBA’s luxury-tax threshold for next season – approximately $119 million – the team needs to fill that third point-guard spot with a veteran-minimum salary.
Stone, 6-6, went unselected in the 2011 draft after playing college ball at Texas-El Paso. He played for the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors from 2011 through 2014. Since then, he has played internationally (Turkey and Italy) and in the G-League.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell