LaMelo Ball had the option of leaving the Charlotte Hornets in the hopes of signing with a team that would be a serious contender for an NBA playoff spot in the coming seasons.
Instead, the point guard for the 2022 All-Star team decided to embrace his current predicament with the Hornets by signing a five-year deal earlier this month that will pay him as much as $260 million for five years. As a result of this action, he became the first player in the history of the Hornets to sign a rookie maximum contract extension, providing Charlotte with a foundational component around which to construct.
Ball has stated that he is content with his decision to stay in Charlotte because he believes in the direction the Hornets are trying to take their franchise.
“Where we at, I feel like we are all growing together,” Ball said on Wednesday during his first news conference since signing the contract. “I believe that we are all moving in the right direction now, and I believe that it is a great position for us to be in.”
Ball stated that remaining with the organization was a relatively easy decision.
Ball stated that throughout his years at this location, he had enjoyed himself. “Life wasn’t all that horrible. If things aren’t going too well with the basketball part of things, then you should focus on just living your life and having fun. You want to be living well, and that’s exactly what I’m doing in Charlotte. It just seemed like a good choice all the way through.”
Mitch Kupchak, the general manager of the Hornets, referred to the retention of Ball as a “big step” for the team.
He believes that the Hornets are on the verge of breaking Charlotte’s trend of not making the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, which is the longest active streak in the league.
According to Kupchak, “We have not had a great deal of success as a team, but that is something that will change.” It’s pretty thrilling for a guy of his caliber to come back to us after being away for so long.
According to Kupchak, the team’s objective has been to assemble its roster through the draft.
The Hornets only had a significant presence in the free agent market other than the re-signing of Ball and Miles Bridges. Because Kupchak wants to allow younger players to improve their skills, this is partly by design. He predicted that as the team wins more games, notable free agents will express interest in joining the Charlotte Hornets.
Kupchak was quoted at NBA Online Betting PH as saying, “I’m not thinking we necessarily need to add more talent.” “I believe that the talent that we require to get to where we want to go is already within the system. Now all it will take is a short amount of time to get everyone up to speed and get us to where it is that we want to be. My opinion is that there isn’t a significant problem that needs to be fixed.”
The massive contract will undoubtedly put additional pressure on Ball, who will be selected third overall in the 2021 draft. On the other hand, the unruffled young man, who is now 21 years old, stated that this is something he has never been concerned about when playing on the court, and he has no plans to begin doing so now.
“Growing up, my pops always said pressure was finding your next meal, finding where to sleep, and stuff like that,” Ball said of his father, LaVar Ball. “Pops” refers to Ball’s father. “When it comes down to it, I’m fairly lucky. The only thing I need to focus on is playing well. Absolutely no issues to report. I don’t have any gay tendencies.”
Ball is coming off of an injury-riddled season in which he could only participate in a total of 36 games. After suffering a slew of ankle ailments, including a fracture in late February that forced him out of action for good and required surgery, he was unable to return to play.
When he was playing, he contributed at a high level, averaging a career-high 23.3 points and 8.2 assists per game while shooting 37.6% from 3-point range. This was his finest performance ever.
Ball asserted that he is completely healthy and is anxious to make a greater contribution.
“That’s a lot of motivation for me to get back on the court and do what I love,” Ball added.