Fri, 22 Jan 2021

Hornets sign top picks Ball, Carey among several moves

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2020, 15:40 GMT+10

The Charlotte Hornets have signed their first- and second-round draft picks, LaMelo Ball and Vernon Carey Jr., the team announced on Monday night.

In a flurry of moves, the team also announced the signings of second-round selection, Grant Riller, and Nick Richards, who was drafted in the second round by New Orleans and sent to Charlotte in a trade.

In addition, the Hornets re-signed nine-year veteran Bismack Biyombo and signed undrafted free agent Nate Darling.

The moves come one day after acquiring star swingman Gordon Hayward from the Boston Celtics in a sign-and-trade.

The 19-year-old Ball, younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, was taken third overall in the draft.

Ball played 12 games for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia's National Basketball League last season. His season ended early with a foot injury, but Ball averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists 1.7 steals a game.

The Hornets did not announce terms of the signing, but Spotrac.com says the 6-foot-7 Ball will make just over $7.8 million next season from being selected third overall. He is guaranteed two years and $16 million, according to the website.

The 19-year-old Carey, a 6-foot-10 center, played one season at Duke, earning second team All-America honors for averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds. He led the ACC by shooting 57.7 percent from the field and was third in the conference in scoring.

Carey was drafted 32nd overall.

The 6-8 Biyombo played in 53 games for Charlotte last season, starting 29. He averaged 7.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game.

A nine-year veteran, Biyombo has played the last two seasons for the Hornets, his third NBA team. He was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the first round (seventh overall) in 2011. He landed with the then-Charlotte Bobcats on draft day and spent four seasons with the Bobcats-Hornets before spending a season with the Toronto Raptors and two with the Orlando Magic.

Charlotte drafted Riller with the 56th overall pick out of the College of Charleston. The 6-3 guard averaged 18.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 132 games.

The Pelicans chose Richards 42nd overall and dealt him to the Hornets for a 2024 second-round pick.

The 6-11 Richards played three seasons at Kentucky. Last season, the All-SEC First Team and All-Defensive Team selection averaged 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 29.7 minutes in 31 games played.

His 62.8 percent shooting percentage was third in school history.

Darling, a 6-5 guard, played two seasons at UAB and one at Delaware last season. Voted to the Colonial Athletic Association's first team, he averaged 21 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 38.2 minutes per game as a season-long starter.

--Field Level Media

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