P.J. Hairston has started all three Charlotte Hornets games this season, but the team has not been impressed. They could have kept him around next season for just $1.25 million, but decided they would rather just let him walk.
In what is a rare move around the league, the Hornets did not pick up the team option on Hairston’s rookie-scale contract for next season, something Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported would happen and did just as he said. This means Hairston will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Hornets did pick up the option on Cody Zeller, he will stay with the team.
Hairston has been making bad decisions on and off the court since he was drafted and it ended up being too much for Charlotte. Off it he got in an altercation with a high school player at a pickup game before he got to Hornets camp, then twice was suspended for a game by coach Steve Clifford due to behavior issues. Don’t forget he had the flop of the year. This summer he was cited for driving without a license. And remember, this is a guy that was forced to leave North Carolina during college and went to the D-League before being drafted.
On the court, his decision making is not much better. While his defense has been good, he’s not provided the three-point shooting he is supposed to bring to the table (16.7 percent this year). His shot selection and other choices can be head-scratching. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out Clifford has given Hairston a chance as a starter, and after watching him for a few games the Hornets decided they didn’t want him even at a rookie-scale price.
He’s got the rest of this season as an audition for the other NBA teams.