Hornets sign LaMelo Ball to five-year maximum extension

The Charlotte Hornets and LaMelo Ball are finalizing a five-year maximum contract extension that will pay him up to $260M, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The Hornets have finally made a move this summer, and it’s easily the most important move they could make. Ball became eligible for his rookie-scale max extension when the clock struck midnight, and it only took 15 hours or so to hammer out the details. The AAV comes in at a crisp $52M, making Ball the highest-paid player on the team by a wide margin come the 2024-25 season. The phrase “up to” implies he needs to meet certain criteria to earn the full $260M, which is likely an All-NBA team selection.

Ball is the third notable player from the 2020 draft class to receive an extension; Desmond Bane and Tyrese Haliburton both re-upped with their respective teams. Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Maxey, Onyeka Okongwu and others are still waiting for their first big payday.

It’s great to see the franchise cornerstone get a well-deserved raise, and so quickly at that. Clearly, there was zero hesitation to extend Ball and further his standing the team’s marquee player with a rookie-scale max extension. Despite a couple of freak ankle injuries and a broken wrist, Ball has established himself as one of the NBA’s premier young stars. There’s no questioning Charlotte’s belief in that. Now, it’s up to the front office to continue surrounding him with talent so he can help put an end to a seven-year playoff drought.

My dearest apologies to all of those that earnestly thought Ball would turn down a $260M maximum extension from Charlotte to flee and play second fiddle on a big-market team. Try again in six years.

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