The Charlotte Hornets are close to locking up one of their top young players for the next four years, as they're on the verge of signing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a $52 million extension, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Charlotte selected Kidd-Gilchrist with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and the Hornets have watched him develop into one of the NBA's premier wing defenders. Kidd-Gilchrist started to make all-around strides in his third pro season last year, averaging career-highs in points (10.9 per game), rebounds (7.6 per game) and minutes (28.9). His outside shot will remain his main focus for improvement.
When assessing new NBA contracts, it's important to keep in mind the rising salary cap set to kick in over the next two summers. Kidd-Gilchrist's new deal will only be about 12 percent of the league's projected cap in two years. Hornets fans seem excited about the contract:
I was terrified MKG would command upwards of $17 million per season. 13!? Amazing— Joshua B. Priemski (@HoopPlusTheHarm) August 25, 2015
Kidd-Gilchrist had a $12.6 million cap hold heading into next season, according to former Nets executive Bobby Marks, which means his new deal will not hurt Charlotte's salary cap flexibility. The Hornets' big move of the offseason was trading for Blazers forward Nicolas Batum to pair with Kidd-Gilchrist on the wing.
Kidd-Gilchrist did not attempt a single three-pointer last season. He has made 3-of-18 attempts from deep in his three years in the league. It's worth noting that he still very young. At just 21 years old, Kidd-Gilchrist is younger than five players selected in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.