LaMelo Ball Makes Hornets More Desirable Destination for Free Agents, Kupchak Says

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 20, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 18: LaMelo Ball #2 of the Charlotte Hornets warms up prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 18, 2021 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by A.J. Mast/NBAE via Getty Images)
A.J. Mast/NBAE via Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets could be one of the more attractive destinations for free agents this offseason, according to general manager Mitch Kupchak. 

A lot of that apparently has to do with rookie star LaMelo Ball. 

"I think free agents around the league look at the pace we play, and players want to play that way. I think we have a player’s coach," Kupchak said, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. "And if (free agents) remember why (Ball) is so much fun to play with—his ability to pass—I don’t know why players wouldn’t want to come here to play with him.”

Ball averaged 15.7 points on 43.6 percent shooting (35.2 percent from three) with 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds in 51 starts for the Hornets this season. That helped elevate Charlotte to the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference and a play-in tournament bout,  though they fell to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. 

The No. 3 overall pick in last year's draft missed more than a month this season after fracturing his wrist, but he was able to return to finish this season. 

The 19-year-old has earned respect from players around the league, including LeBron James. 

"I think he’s damn good to be his age," James told reporters after his Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Hornets in March. "His speed, his quickness, his ability to make shots at all facets—in the paint, floaters, threes—he has the three tiers already, and he’s only going to get better." 

Ball is currently the betting favorite to win the NBA's Rookie of the Year award with -1900 odds via FanDuel (bet $1,900 to win $100). 

For all the latest betting information and reaction, check out B/R Betting.

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