Dennis Smith Jr., Hornets Agree to 1-Year Contract; 9th Overall Pick in 2017 Draft

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 21, 2022

PORTLAND, OREGON - FEBRUARY 08: Dennis Smith Jr. #10 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles against the Orlando Magic during the third quarter at Moda Center on February 08, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. 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. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets have signed point guard Dennis Smith Jr. to a one-year deal, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Smith spent last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 5.6 points and 3.6 assists in 37 appearances. He was waived in February after suffering a UCL tear in his right elbow.

The 2017 No. 9 overall pick has also spent time with the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons during his five years in the NBA.

The former North Carolina State star burst onto the scene while averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 assists per game in 2017-18, earning a spot on the All-Rookie team. During his second year, he was a key part of the trade to the Knicks that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks.

Smith scored 14.7 points per game in 21 appearances during his first stint in New York.

His offensive production has fallen since, averaging 5.8 points over the next three years while shooting 38.3 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from three-point range.

The 24-year-old still remains a positive defender on the perimeter, however, which should provide value for the Hornets as they try to take the next step as a playoff contender.

Charlotte already has quality backcourt options in LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier with James Bouknight coming off the bench. Smith could still carve out a role in the rotation after the team lost veteran Ish Smith to free agency.