Pelicans point guard Brian Roberts to sign with Charlotte Hornets

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.comJuly 13, 2014 

— The Charlotte Hornets have come to agreement with point guard Brian Roberts on a two-year, $5.5 million deal to back up starter Kemba Walker next season.

The Hornets need a backup, and probably a third point guard, too. The then-Bobcats finished last season with Luke Ridnour, who came to Charlotte in the trade with the Milwaukee Bucks that acquired shooting guard Gary Neal. Ridnour’s contract expired, and the Hornets were not expected to bring him back.

Roberts spent the past two seasons in New Orleans. He wasn’t chosen in the 2008 draft after a college career at Dayton. He played overseas – first in Israel, then in Germany – before catching on with the New Orleans at summer league in 2012.

Roberts got considerable playing time last season due to an injury to starter Jrue Holiday. Holiday had season-ending surgery in February to treat a stress fracture in his right leg.

Roberts played 72 games and started 44 last season, averaging 9.4 points and 3.3 assists. He should be a plus to the Hornets’ sub-standard shooting, as he shoots 94 percent from the foul line and 36 percent from 3-point range (42 percent overall).

Roberts is listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, so he’s very similar in size to Walker.

The Hornets explored several options at point guard, including ex-Bobcats Shaun Livingston and Ramon Sessions, before focusing on Roberts.

This was the second time in as many days the Hornets added a free agent. Saturday they came to terms with forward Marvin Williams. Williams, who played college ball at North Carolina, will play both power and small forward. He’ll make $14 million over two seasons.

The Hornets’ agreement with Roberts was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

Hopson dealt: One day after acquiring him from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Hornets have traded guard Scotty Hopson to the Pelicans, in return for cash.

Hopson has a $2.4 million contract that is unguaranteed for next season. The Hornets likely would have cut him to preserve cap space, so trading him serves that purpose, plus provides some cash compensation.

Notes: Cody Zeller got to Las Vegas from his brother Tyler’s wedding at shortly before game time Sunday. So the Hornets elected not to have him play against the Sacramento Kings.

Zeller should be set to play Monday at 4 p.m. against the New York Knicks. The game will be televised on NBATV…

The Hornets didn’t ask small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to play in summer league, but he’s practicing with the squad. Also, Gary Neal participated in shootaround Friday morning.

Rick Bonnell: (704) 358-5129; @rick_bonnell

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