10/21/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/21/2019 14:35
It was an eventful couple of days for the Charlotte Hornets' front office as six transactions involving four different players were made over the course of about 24 hours between this past Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
After Ahmed Hill was waived, rookies Caleb Martin and then Jalen McDaniels were subsequently placed on two-way contracts and then bumped up to multi-year guaranteed deals, moves that filled out the 15-man roster. Third-year guard Kobi Simmons - the first NBA player to ever sign a two-way deal back in 2017 - is now Charlotte's second two-way signee.
'They all fit our culture as far as hard work, competitiveness and youth,' said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego after Monday's practice. 'There's length out there, there's versatility. That's what we're trying to build here. They all played well. I'm proud and happy for them.'
Martin is the first undrafted first-year player to make the Hornets' 15-man roster since Aaron Harrison did so back in 2015. The Nevada product finished fifth in preseason scoring (9.6 PPG on 43.2% shooting) amongst all rookie players not selected in June's NBA draft.
'Tenacious, ferocious, competitive individuals that want to get better every single day,' Borrego added, describing the play of Caleb and Cody Martin. 'Caleb separated himself making plays, his aggressiveness, getting to the rim. He made some shots. He's better defensively than I anticipated and now I expect him to grow. He's got a real shot to see minutes if this thing keeps going in his direction.'
'I think a lot of it was just energy,' said Caleb Martin, when asked about the deciding factor in landing a guaranteed deal. 'Coming out of college, I was known as a scorer, but I think I was able to show the staff and the organization that I can do more. I can play multiple roles and I can adjust to the game.'
President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak stated during Monday morning's press conference that he envisioned McDaniels and both Martin brothers to spend significant time in the G League this season. The Greensboro Swarm roster could also feature a trifecta of recently waived training camp guards in Hill, Joe Chealey and Josh Perkins.
As two-way players, Simmons and Robert Franks will spend a majority of the season with the Swarm and up to 45 days on the Hornets roster. If either player reaches this threshold and the team wants to continue utilizing him at the NBA level, his contract would need to be converted to an NBA deal or he'd have to be released.
Charlotte kept one open spot at the start of last season, which was eventually filled when point guard Shelvin Mack was claimed off waivers from Atlanta in February. With the Hornets in a developmental stage at the moment, it makes sense to maximize the roster as much as possible and see which of these young players can make the most of their opportunity.