The Hornets franchise may have new owners, but the franchise player remains.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2023
New Hornets majority owners Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall made their first major decision as team presidents by extending LaMelo Ball’s contract through the 2028-29 season. (Former owner Michael Jordan chose Brandon Miller with the second overall pick.)
Ball receives his full rookie extension, which will begin at 25% of the salary cap and may go to 30% if he makes an All-NBA team next season. While Ball’s season was cut short due to ankle issues, the Hornets are convinced that surgery cured the problem.
Last season, the youthful Hornet boosted his scoring to 23.3 points per game and his assists to 8.4 per game. Last season, Ball, 21, became the second-youngest player in NBA history to record 1,000 points, rebounds, and assists. If you’re wondering why the Hornets are so high on Ball, consider that the youngest player to do it was LeBron James.
Ball has been famous for a long time, thanks to his brother Lonzo, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft (LaMelo was No. 3 in 2020), and his outspoken father, LaVar. His father founded the doomed shoe company Big Baller Brand and shuffled his youngest son through high school. Before joining the NBA and Puma, Ball played professionally in Lithuania and Australia.
He’s now the franchise player for Charlotte. What will the new owners do next? Obtaining assistance for Ball.