Charlotte Hornets Exercise Team Options On Ball, Bouknight And Jones

October 27, 2022 – Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today the team has exercised its fourth-year team option on guard LaMelo Ball and its third-year team options on guard James Bouknight and forward/center Kai Jones.

Ball, the third overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, has appeared in 126 games (106 starts) in his career, averaging 18.3 points (43.1 FG%, 37.8 3P%, 82.6 FT%), 6.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 30.9 minutes per game.

He recorded 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists last season, becoming the third player in NBA history to average 20-6-7 in his age-20 season, joining LeBron James and Luka Doncic. Ball earned the first All-Star selection of his career, becoming the fourth-youngest All-Star in league history (20 years, 182 days) behind only Kobe Bryant, James and Magic Johnson. Ball joined Johnson as the only two players in NBA history to average 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals over the first 100 games of their career, in addition to becoming the second-youngest player ever to record five career triple-doubles. Ball sank 220 3-pointers, the seventh-most in a season in Hornets history, and became the youngest player in league history to connect on 200 3-pointers in a season. He was one of three players to accumulate 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists last year, alongside Doncic and Nikola Jokic. Ball finished 10th in steals per game (1.6) and ninth in assists per game (7.6) last season, and was one of four players to rank in the top-ten in both categories (Tyrese Haliburton, Dejounte Murray, Chris Paul).

Bouknight is in his second season with the Hornets and has appeared in 35 games, averaging 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 10.5 minutes per game. He appeared in 12 games (12 starts) with the Greensboro Swarm last season, posting 23.0 points (45.4 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 84.1 FT%), 6.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals in 34.0 minutes per game. The Hornets selected Bouknight in the first round (11th overall) of the 2021 NBA Draft after he spent two seasons at the University of Connecticut (2019-21), where he appeared in 43 games (30 starts) and averaged 15.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 27.9 minutes per game for his career. He earned All-AAC Third Team honors as a freshman and All-Big East First Team recognition as a sophomore.

Jones is in his second season in Charlotte and has appeared in 23 games, recording 1.1 points and 0.5 rebounds in 3.0 minutes per game. He averaged 16.5 points (62.2 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 59.5 FT%), 9.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks in 30.3 minutes per game in 32 games (31 starts) with the Swarm last season. Jones was selected in the first round (19th overall) by the New York Knicks in the 2021 NBA Draft, and he was acquired by the Hornets via trade in exchange for a 2022 first round pick. He spent two seasons at the University of Texas (2019-21), where he averaged 6.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game across 53 contests (14 starts).