The Charlotte Hornets and unrestricted free agent Marvin Williams have reached an agreement on a four-year, $54.5 million deal, as reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. That price in this market is very team-friendly for Charlotte, especially because Williams rejected multiple offers that would have paid him $15 million a season, according to Wojnarowski.
The fourth year is a player option, according to USA Today's Jeff Zilgitt. By agreeing to take less, Williams allows the Hornets to acquire other players to fill out their roster.
Williams had offers in the $15M a year range, but has loved playing in Charlotte and deal allows them to keep building roster.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
Don’t think $54.5M on Marvin’s contract is an accident. It’s just enough to squeeze him under Early Bird rights. Preserves CHR’s cap space.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 2, 2016
Williams signed a two-year contract with the Hornets in the summer of 2014 and quickly became a key cog in Steve Clifford's system. The stretch power forward was a starter on a Charlotte squad that won 48 games to make this past postseason and pushed the Heat to seven games. It was one of the best years of his career and it came just as he was about to become a free agent.
Things haven't always gone as smoothly for Williams as they did last season. He was selected second overall in the 2005 draft by the Atlanta Hawks, ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams, and never lived up to the potential he flashed at the North Carolina. He was always under the microscope in Atlanta, even though he helped the team make the playoffs in five of his seven years there.
When Danny Ferry took over as Hawks' general manager, one of his first moves was to trade Williams to the Jazz. At the time it seemed like a step back in his career, but it proved to be the change he needed to discover his game. After filling in as starting small forward in his first season in Utah, the next year he transitioned to the power forward spot, where his shooting and slashing ability -- mediocre for a wing -- became a huge asset. He continued to improve until becoming one of the best stretch power forwards in the league.
Williams gives up some pounds to traditional power forwards but at 6'9" he has the length needed to hold his own on defense. His rebounding is not great but it's good enough to not be a detriment to his team, provided he's surrounded with other players that can help in that area. Most of his value resides in his ability to spread the floor on offense, as he shot a career-high 40 percent from three last season. Williams is simply a great fit for the modern NBA.
It makes sense, then, that the Hornets have decided to retain him. His shooting has allowed Clifford to completely overhaul the offense, and with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist set to return after missing last season with injury, the concerns about rebounding and defense dissipate. The Hornets have needed a clear team-building strategy and an on-court identity for years. The fact that they have retained Williams suggest they have finally found both.