NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Hornets extend Kidd-Gilchrist — The Charlotte Hornets drafted Michael Kidd-Gilchrist second overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, largely based on the potential of Kidd-Gilchrist continuing to develop into a complete small forward. And while three years later he still has a ways to go offensively, Kidd-Gilchrist has been a great fit for the Hornets, and become one of the best defensive players in the league. Which is why the Hornets were so keen to sign Kidd-Gilchrist to a four-year contract extension, writes Rick Bonnell in the Charlotte Observer…
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 Lillard got a 5-year, $120 million contract.
And most recently Jonas Valanciunas got a four-year, $64 million contract from the Toronto Raptors.
No. 2: Chris Paul remembers Hurricane Katrina — Back in 2005, the New Orleans Hornets used the fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft to select Chris Paul out of Wake Forest. Paul arrived in New Orleans a decade ago this summer eager to make an impact on the franchise and the city. And as Arash Markazi writes, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans 10 years ago this week, having a lasting effect on one of America’s great cities…
Paul’s first memory of Aug. 29, 2005, was the sound of his mother’s voice waking him up and directing him to the television. The images were hard to fathom as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
“It was one of the most devastating things I had ever seen,” Paul said. “That was my new home. Even though I had only just gotten drafted, it was going to be my first time away from home and I felt a connection to the city. I couldn’t believe what I was watching.”
Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans that early Monday morning, and as Paul huddled in front of the television with his family, he looked at his older brother and wondered what the future held for him and his new home.
“That was the most uncertain time of our lives,” C.J. [Paul] said. “Chris had just been drafted and closed on a house … he’s just getting a feel for the city and all of a sudden that new city you love is in trouble. Just to see all the people who were affected by it and to know we were there just a few days before it hit …
“It seemed like it was a third world country we were watching on TV,” C.J. added. “It didn’t seem like it was a place in the United States we were due to live in in a week.”
While Paul and his family watched Katrina’s wrath unfold on television, the experience of going through it left deeper wounds for those living in the city. Jim Cleamons, who was an assistant on head coach Byron Scott‘s staff, says he and his family still have emotional scars from Katrina 10 years later.
“It was a horrific experience,” Cleamons said. “To some degree, I don’t want to remember some of the things myself.”
No. 3: Noel working on jump shot — After sitting out his rookie season to recover from a knee injury, Sixers center Nerlens Noel came close to averaging a double-double last season. But Noel is looking to improve on the offensive end, and is spending his summer in Rhode Island rebuilding his jump shot, writes Keith Pompey for Philly.com…
Noel spent the month of June here before joining the Sixers at the Utah Jazz and NBA summer leagues in July. Then he returned in August.
Of course, Noel could be doing this at the Sixers’ practice facility at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“Yeah, I could,” Noel said Wednesday night over dinner. “But I felt individualizing this for myself, putting all the attention on myself, working on something up here . . . I thought this is a little more dedication to be in Newport,R.I., where there isn’t too much going on.”
While his physique won’t be confused with Dwight Howard‘s, Noel’s muscle gain is noticeable.
The 21-year-old weighs about 223 pounds, up from the 217 he carried last season. Mainly, Noel has worked on his jump shot, which has been his Achilles’ heel.
“A lot of people say work on your weaknesses until they become strengths,” Carroll said, “because in the NBA if you have weaknesses, people will exploit them.”
If he improves his shooting, Noel’s ability to get to the rim will improve as well.
“I think it’s really going to help me as a basketball player overall, especially at [power forward],” Noel said of the daily workouts. “[It will] help space the floor with my ability and start hitting the jumper consistently and complement our whole offense. And, you know, just changing my whole game and how effective I am.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Utah Jazz have agreed to a multi-year deal with Jeff Withey … Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka may have been their secret MVP in their pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge … Andre Drummond has offered Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson a place to live next season … The Lakers have had “casual conversations” with Metta World Peace about a reunion … Could Nick Young join the Australian National Team? …