Hornets Pick Up Option On Marco Belinelli
The New Orleans Hornets picked up their team option of starting shooting guard Marco Belinelli today. Belinelli's option is worth $3.377 next year. Hornets backup power forward Jason Smith's option was not picked up by the team, making him an unrestricted free agent. Here is more from Jimmy Smith of the Times Picayune and nola.com.
Sources indicated Thursday, however, the Hornets would like to retain Smith, perhaps at a salary lower than the $3.135 he would have earned next season had the Hornets tendered him.
Belinelli started 69 games for New Orleans last season, averaging 10.5 points per game, his best numbers in four NBA season. Belinelli's option is worth $3.377 next year.
Uncertainty over the amount of next season's salary cap, because of the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement, was the reason the Hornets gave Smith for declining his option, Smith said Thursday.
Both moves make sense for the Hornets. Picking up Belinelli's option gives the Hornets 6 players under contract for the 2011-2012 season. Once the lockout ends, the Hornets will probably make modest offers to both Jason Smith, and Aaron Gray, who opted out of his contract earlier this week.