Hornets get significant LaMelo Ball boost regarding his future

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

LaMelo Ball is the crown jewel in the Charlotte Hornets roster. A true superstar, both in talent and in demeanor. At just 21 years old, there is so much room for development that it’s hard to postulate just how good LaMelo will be by the time he enters his prime.

As such, it makes sense that the Hornets are going to do everything in their power to sign LaMelo to a contract extension at the earliest opportunity. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, it would appear that the Hornets are likely to get their wish this summer, as LaMelo is expected to commit his future to the team that drafted him in 2020.

"“I don’t believe there’s a clear-cut favorite after [Victor] Wembanyama,” Marks wrote. “There’s an argument that Charlotte should not go [Scoot] Henderson with LaMelo Ball on the roster and likely to sign an extension in the offseason.”"

Once his future is set, keeping LaMelo happy, engaged, and motivated becomes the primary objective. If that means the Hornets have to prove their willingness to rebuild their roster around him, then so be it. This is a potential All-NBA talent, after all. 

Of course, you can’t take a rumor for granted. LaMelo could easily decline to sign an extension, play out next season, and then hit restricted free agency – where the Hornets would almost certainly match any offer sheet he signed. It’s doubtful that either side would want things to get to that point, though.

The Hornets will definitely want LaMelo to feel wanted in Charlotte, so there’s no chance they look to short-change him on a contract offer. As such, it would be LaMelo who could scupper a contract extension, but given that Charlotte would simply match an offer next season, that wouldn’t make much sense either, so long as the money was right.

Since being drafted by the Hornets, Ball has participated in 162 games, averaging 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists on 42.6% shooting from the field and 37.6% shooting from deep. However, in what could have been his most impressive season thus far, LaMelo suffered a fractured ankle, cutting his opportunity for developmental growth short and putting him on a path of recovery and rehabilitation.

The Hornets, and their fans, will be hoping that LaMelo is back to 100% in time for the 2023-24 season, so they can see their star player begin to build some chemistry with whoever they select second-overall in the 2023 NBA Draft.

dark. Next. 3 Reasons the Hornets should avoid drafting Scoot Henderson