P.J. Hairston was selected with the 26th overall pick by the Miami Heat in this year’s draft, before ending up with the Hornets in exchange for Shabazz Napier.
Hairston’s case was an unusual one, in that he was suspended mid-season while playing for the University of North Carolina, so he took his talents to the D-League to show the NBA scouts what he could do.
His performance there was enough to see him get drafted in the first round, which comes with it a guaranteed contract. The Hornets made that signing official on Friday.
The Charlotte Hornets have signed rookie P.J. Hairston, the former North Carolina shooting guard they acquired in a draft-night trade with the Miami Heat.
The Heat chose Hairston 26th overall before dealing his draft rights to the Hornets. Under the NBA’s rookie pay scale for first-round picks, Hairston will get a guarantee the next two seasons totaling about $2 million. The Hornets would then hold two one-season options on Hairston before he’d become a restricted free agent.
Hairston’s troubles aren’t entirely behind him, as he was charged by authorities after getting into a fight during a pickup game in July. He later apologized, likely thanks to an assist from Hornets PR.
But Hairston was drafted based on his ability to play basketball, and he can certainly do that — he averaged 21.8 points per game in 26 appearances with the Texas Legends of the D-League last season.