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The Charlotte Hornets and LiAngelo Ball agreed Thursday to a non-guaranteed contract.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Ball will start the 2021-22 season with the Greensboro Swarm, Charlotte’s affiliate in the NBA G League. Charania reported Monday that the 22-year-old was originally planning to sign a G League deal ahead of the league’s Oct. 23 draft.
Ball played for the Hornets’ NBA Summer League team and averaged 9.6 points and 2.0 rebounds in five games. HIs best performance came in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, when he made five three-pointers and scored 16 points.
NBA insider Jordan Schultz reported in August that team officials were encouraged by what they saw from the 22-year-old:
Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report
Spoke w/#Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano, who said this of @LiAngeloBall: “Great kid. Love him. He was at the facility practicing everyday for two months to play in the Summer League. Shows a ton of character. He can shoot it, great feel, knack for scoring.”
Head coach James Borrego told reporters during the Hornets’ media day that Ball “performed well and opened eyes and played at a higher level than I expected.”
That wasn’t enough for him to crack the their training camp roster, though.
Ball hasn’t had the chance to play in the G League yet. The Oklahoma City Blue acquired his rights in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic paused and eventually canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 G League season.
Suiting up for the Swarm provides the California native with his clearest path to earning an NBA roster spot. Even if he’s unable to team up with his younger brother LaMelo on the Hornets, he could perform well enough for another franchise to give him a shot.