Hornets sign Edmond Sumner, Théo Maledon, RJ Hunter

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that they have signed free agent guards RJ Hunter and Edmond Sumner, along with signing Theo Maledon to a Two-Way contract. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke news of the Sumner signing.

After missing the 2021-22 season with an Achilles tear, Sumner appeared in 53 games (12 starts) with Brooklyn last season, averaging 7.1 points per game and shooting 46.1% from the field. Drafted by Indiana with the 52nd overall pick in the 2017 Draft, Sumner spent his first four seasons with the Pacers, putting up 7.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game as a steady rotation player in 2020-21. He was known for his first-step quickness and finishing at the rim prior to his injury, and has positional size that makes him an easy plug into various lineup configurations.

The long-rumored Hunter signing finally came to fruition. Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported back in August that Hunter would join the Hornets for camp, though there were no other rumblings regarding the deal until it was made official today. Here’s Jonathan’s summary of Hunter’s last few years of basketball:

Hunter was the 28th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft after a very good career playing for his father at Georgia State. He never caught on and ended up out of the league after just 45 appearances with three different teams. He hasn’t played in the NBA since he played in the last game of the season for the Celtics at the end of the 2018-19 season. He scored 17 points in that contest, his only NBA appearance of the season. His first NBA stint ended with him averaging 3.0 points per game on 37.1% shooting from the field and 29.5% shooting from three.

He spent the last four years playing internationally in Turkey and Australia. He appeared in three games for the Sydney Kings last season, where he averaged 4.0 points on 29.4% shooting. Prior to that, he was at Galatasaray, where he averaged 19.1 minutes per game across 15 contests. He scored 9.0 points per game on 42.2% shooting.

At long last, the Hornets brought back Theo Maledon on a Two-Way contract for the 2023-24 season. Woj was first on that one as well.

It took quite a while, but Maledon accepted the Two-Way qualifying offer from Charlotte. From his perspective, it makes sense to wait until the last minute before NBA camps open to exhaust all avenues of potentially earning a guaranteed deal elsewhere, or even overseas. I’d convinced myself there was a chance Nathan Mensah or one of the other E10s played themselves into the third Two-Way slot since it appeared Maledon was out of the fold, but alas.

Between Maledon and Sumner, the Hornets should be able to find a capable third-string point guard during the preseason, with Hunter and Ntilikina filling out the depth as a wing shooter and defensive specialist, respectively.

Earlier today, the Charlotte Hornets announced that the team has waived Angelo Allegri, Tre Scott and Jaylen Sims.

It was reported a few weeks back that these players had all signed Exhibit 10 deals, along with Mensah. An Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed NBA contract that, if the player is waived during the preseason, entitles them to a $75,000 bonus so long as they subsequently sign and spend 90 days with the NBA team’s G League affiliate. Allegri, Scott and Sims are all likely to feature on this year’s Greensboro Swarm squad.

It could be notable that Mensah has not been waived. The only centers on the roster right now are Mark Williams, Nick Richards and Kai Jones — an injury to any of them puts Steve Clifford in a tough spot when constructing lineups that have a semblance of size or rim protection.

At 6-10 and 230 pounds, Mensah was more than able to withstand the physicality of the pro ranks at Summer League and put up a serviceable 8 points, 5 rebounds and 1 stock in 16.2 minutes per game out in Vegas. There’s a strong chance he’s a higher quality and more reliable defender than Jones at this stage, too. Solidly built yet surprisingly fluid and light on his feet, particularly as a roll-man, Mensah could have a role within the Hornets organization in some capacity.

The roster now stands at 21 players with Maledon’s signing and the reported addition of Sumner and Hunter — the Hornets have to get down to 18 players to abide by the NBA’s roster guidelines. Mensah and two of Hunter, Ntilikina or Sumner are the likely options to be waived.

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