AP Source: Hornets' Walker gets 4-year extension
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract extension with point guard Kemba Walker, a person familiar with the deal said Tuesday night.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal had not been announced publicly. The person said deal takes effect beginning in the 2015-16 season, meaning Walker will be under contract through the 2018-19 NBA season.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan indicated earlier Tuesday the team was eager to finalize a deal with Walker before Friday's deadline to prevent him from becoming a restricted free agent in July.
In three seasons Walker has started 180 games and averaged 16 points, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game for Charlotte. He has averaged 17.7 points per game in each of the last two seasons.
Jordan said Tuesday before the deal was signed that he expects Walker, Al Jefferson and recently signed Lance Stephenson will play key roles in the future of the organization.
Jordan was impressed with Walker when he led Connecticut to the 2011 national championship and Charlotte selected him with the ninth overall pick. He split time with D.J. Augustin as a rookie before taking over as the full-time starter in 2012.
Coach Steve Clifford has raved about the work Walker has put in this offseason, saying he has went above and beyond looking to improve his 3-poing shooting and jump shot.
The 24-year-old Walker improved late last season as a passer and helped the Hornets win 43 games and reach the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.
''I think Kemba will shoot better from long range,'' Clifford said at the team's media day earlier this month. ''Last year, he was a little over 33 percent. If he can get to 36 or 37 percent, which I think he can, that'll make him a different player. His defensive improvement was terrific.''