Hornets' Devin Brown Exercises Player Option for '09-'10

Joe GerrityCorrespondent IJune 5, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 17:  Devin Brown #23 of the New Orleans Hornets drives against the San Antonio Spurs on December 17, 2008 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Journeyman Devin Brown of the New Orleans Hornets has picked up his nearly $1.1 million player option for the 2009-2010 season, passing up the chance to become a free agent.

In 2006-2007 while playing for the Hornets, Devin posted career highs in minutes played (29 per game), assists (2.6), and rebounds (4.3), and scored 11.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting; these numbers gave good reason for New Orleans fans to be excited when he was signed back in the summer of 2008 following a moderately successful year for the Cavaliers.

But unfortunately for the Hornets faithful, he played just under 14 minutes per game last year and averaged a meager 5.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.9 assists while turning it over nearly one time per game.

He managed to shoot just 35 percent from the field and 29 percent from behind the arc despite being given every opportunity to thrive. He was a member of one of the least-productive second units in the NBA.

In years past, Brown had no glaring weaknesses, but when the Hornets counted on him to produce his own shot in an otherwise stagnant offense in '08-'09, they saw who the real Devin Brown is.

He has the unfortunate tendency to pick up the ball like a running back when driving to the hoop, but he lacks the athleticism to get a decent shot off afterwards. And though he's normally a good rebounder for his position, he wound up having by far his worst boarding year as a pro this past campaign.

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So what is good about Devin Brown?

He's a competent defender, but this skill by no means is enough to justify any more playing time if he keeps shooting and handling the ball as poorly as he did last year.

He's also a two-time NBA champion, oddly enough, so he does bring some veteran experience. He played a very small role on both the '03 and '05 San Antonio teams and has played 106 total playoff minutes throughout his career.

There was very little upside to his season last year, and the Hornets likely would have rathered him just walk away this summer. His decision to stay essentially just takes away what little flexibility this club may have had to make roster changes this summer.

As it stands now, the Hornets have 11 players under contract at a total of $77.5 million, putting them well over the projected luxury tax line.