How Shaun Livingston might fit as a Hornet if he returns to Charlotte

July 1, 2014 

Could point guard Shaun Livingston end up back in Charlotte, where he played for the Bobcats the 2010-11 season?

A knowledgeable source confirms the Hornets reached out to Livingston’s representatives overnight just after the start of NBA free-agency. The Hornets need a backup point guard and the 6-foot-7 Livingston would offer a contrast to 6-foot-1 starter Kemba Walker.

ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported the Hornets’ interest in Livingston. Stein also linked the Kings, Timberwolves, Magic and Spurs to Livingston.

The Nets have such a big payroll next season – a projected $88 million, well beyond the luxury-tax threshold – that it could be difficult for that franchise to match other teams’ offers for Livingston.

Livingston has played eight NBA seasons, overcoming a horrific knee injury he suffered in 2007 while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. That game was against the then-Bobcats. Livingston landed awkwardly on a breakaway layup, his left leg giving way. He suffered multiple ligament tears, a dislocated kneecap and doctors feared he might need an amputation due to blood-flow concerns.

Livingston recovered, and has since played for six other NBA franchises including the Bobcats. His most recent season, with the Brooklyn Nets, was arguably his best.

Livingston played 76 games and started 54, paired in the backcourt with Deron Williams. Livingston’s size allows him to guard either point guards or shooting guards. He doesn’t have 3-point range (17 percent last season), but he shot 48 percent from the field, mostly by posting up smaller guards to launch short jump shots.

Livingston would seemingly fit Hornets coach Steve Clifford’s desire for a taller, longer roster. Playing Williams and Livingston together allowed the Nets to play Paul Pierce at power forward in a lineup that won a first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors.

The Bobcats signed Livingston in the summer of 2010. He played 73 games that season, averaging 6.6 points and 2.2 assists. There was some concern at the time whether Livingston’s knee had sufficiently recovered that he could be counted on as an every-game player, but his performance last season suggested otherwise.

The Bobcats traded Livingston and Stephen Jackson to the Milwaukee Bucks in June of 2011 in a three-way deal that included the Sacramento Kings. That acquired the draft rights to center Bismack Biyombo.

Livingston originally accepted a scholarship to play at Duke, but then turned pro out of high school in 2004. The NBA later changed its draft-entry rule, so that American players couldn’t enter the draft until at least one year removed from high-school graduation.

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