The biggest news of the day was Kevin Durant joining Golden State, but the Hornets made a pair of signings that should finish up their offseason work.
Ramon Sessions, who played in Charlotte for a year and a half during the Bobcats era, has returned to the team on a 2-year deal worth $12.5 million. In the new cap landscape, this is an incredibly cheap deal, even for a backup that won’t be expected to move the needle very much.
In his previous stint in Charlotte, and for most of his career, Sessions has been used as a backup that can come in and score in bunches. He’s never started more than 38 games in a season, and that was on the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first year after LeBron James left for Miami, a team that won 19 games. In his career, Sessions has averaged about 11 points per game in just over 24 minutes.
Sessions, along with the recently traded for Marco Bellinelli, will be expected to fill the role of the now-Brooklyn Net Jeremy Lin as a guard that comes off the bench to score and handle the ball to let Kemba Walker rest or have the chance to play off the ball. There’s reason to believe that he can help in that aspect: the most points he’s averaged over a full season was 14.4 for Charlotte in 2013.
The Hornets have also signed big man Roy Hibbert to a one-year, $5-million deal. Just like Sessions’ contract, it’s a pretty small price on today’s market. Hibbert is coming off of a very bad year for the Lakers, but he’s only a few years removed from being a very useful player in Indiana, as well as having a great role as a guest star in Parks and Recreation.
Charlotte has lacked a true rim protecter for some time, and the 7’2” Hibbert should be able to provide that, even if he comes off the bench in limited minutes, which he likely will. It should be interesting to see what Steve Clifford, a certified defensive mastermind, will be able to do with him. This is a great deal for the team — best case scenario, he protects the rim at a high level and becomes a useful player on one of the league’s best defenses at a great price. Worst case, he’s buried in the rotation, Clifford continues to craft a great defense without Hibbert, and his relatively tiny contract is off the books in a year.
The Hornets’ offseason should be over for now, barring anything unexpected. Charlotte has managed to replace Lin, Courtney Lee, and Al Jefferson with some intriguing, low-cost options that could help the team if all things go well.