The Charlotte Hornets and Al Jefferson made it official today as Big Al will not opt out of his contract and will come back to the Hornets for the 2015-16 season. By doing so, Al will forgo free agency and will make $13 million in the final year of his contract.
That is no surprise. Who would turn down $13 million GUARANTEED especially a guy who is starting his 12th season in the NBA?
With this being the last year of his contract with Charlotte, expect Big Al to be a force this season. At least that's what Hornets fans hope to see.
Nothing is more motivation than a contract year and Al has a lot to play for this season. Let me put an emphasis on A LOT.
Sure he is 30 years old and the end is coming soon for the big man, but until then, he is looking for 1 more big pay day. The salary cap is going to jump from $67 million this season to close to $89 million in 2016-17. That is a lot of extra money for all 30 NBA teams to spend.
Al is coming off one of his worse statistic seasons ever in 2014-15 thanks in part to injuries. He only played in 65 of 82 games.
Al became a regular starter in Boston in 2006-07. That year, he scored only 16 points per game. His lowest ever as a starter. Last season, Big Al averaged only 16.7 points per game. His rebounding was the worst ever as a starter as he averaged just 8.4 per game. 16 and 8 is not a bad stat line to average, but it's not Big Al status. Hornets fans know what he can be as he averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in 2013-14 and was 3rd team All NBA.
If Al gets back to that level, he is going to really get PAID and the team could very well be back in the playoffs. A win-win for everyone evolved.
After last season, Al talked about losing 25 pounds before this season. That will certainly help. He has never really been known for his defensive, but his low post skills are still sharp. If the team gets better shooting from 3 point land, along with a healthy Big Al, watch out Eastern Conference.
Next week's NBA Draft will be key to watch as they can really help themselves by getting one of the great shooters like Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia, Mario Henzonja of Croatia, or Devin Booker from Kentucky.
If you are a Hornets fan, you should be be excited for next Thursday to see how the draft falls.