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October 29, 2003

Hornets Sign Steve Smith; Waive Haston


Steve Smith spent the 2002-03 season as a member of the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs
New Orleans - The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have signed free agent guard Steve Smith. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released. In order to make room for Smith on the roster, the team waived forward Kirk Haston. Haston averaged 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds in 27 games for the Hornets over the last two seasons.

Smith, a 12-year NBA veteran, holds career averages of 15.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 821 games. The former All-Star also boasts career shooting percentages of .441 (4,388-9,944) from the field, .355 (1,064-2,996) from three-point range and .843 (2,918-3,462) from the free throw line. Last season, Smith averaged 6.8 points in 53 games to help the San Antonio Spurs win the NBA championship.

"Steve has been known as one of the best shooters in the league throughout his career and his offense, experience and leadership will help us tremendously as we start the season," said Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Bob Bass. "He's had a long career based on not only his ability on the court, but his professionalism and character off the court."

Originally drafted by the Miami Heat in the first round (fifth pick overall) of the 1991 NBA Draft, Smith has also played for the Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs. He was named to the 1992 All-Rookie Team as a member of the Heat, where he played from 1991-94. Smith was traded to the Hawks two games into the 1994-95 season, where he went on to lead the Hawks in scoring in four of the next five years. He was named an All-Star during the 1997-98 season, in which he averaged 20.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Following the 1998-99 season, Smith was traded to Portland. He spent two seasons with the Blazers before being traded to San Antonio prior to the 2001-02 season. During his first year with the Spurs, Smith led the NBA in three-point percentage at .472 (116-246). In addition to his regular season experience, Smith is a veteran of 82 NBA playoff games (the equivalent of an entire regular season). He holds playoff career averages of 15.9 ppg and 3.2 rpg with a .389 (130-334) three-point shooting percentage.

Known for his work in the community as well as his work on the court, Smith has received numerous awards and honors in recognition for his charitable efforts. He received the 1998 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award and also won the 2002 NBA Sportsmanship Award. Smith donated $2.5 million to Michigan State (his alma mater) to build the Clara Bell Smith Student Activity Center in honor of his late mother and has also donated over $600,000 to his former high school for a scholarship program. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for "Reading is Fundamental" and is active in the Boys and Girls Club.
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