P.J. Hairston

Hornets signing Sam Thompson

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Sam Thompson knows his plan B – being a financial analyst at major investment firm.

But Thompson, who went undrafted this year after four seasons at Ohio State, is still working on Plan A.

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:

To be clear, the only way for a player to attend an NBA training camp is with an NBA contract.

Thompson will give Charlotte 17 players for 15 regular-season roster spots. He’ll likely compete with Elliot Williams ($80,000 guaranteed) and Aaron Harrison ($75,000 guaranteed) for the final spot.

The 6-foot-7 Thompson is an excellent dunker, and he uses his athleticism fairly well on defense. His unpolished ball skills – shooting, dribbling – are big negatives for a small forward, though.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hornets are just signing Thompson for an extra body during training camp. They have no D-League affiliate, so they can’t waive him and sign his D-League rights.

But with Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in line to start, Charlotte has no natural small forward off the bench. There’s little difference between either wing position, so shooting guards like Jeremy Lamb and P.J. Hairston could easily play down. But Thompson’s size could provide a different dimension and give him a chance of making the team.

Hornets’ P.J. Hairston cited for driving with revoked license


P.J. Hairston has had a rough first year in the NBA. Even before it started, he got into an altercation with high schooler at a pick-up game last summer (charges were dropped). Then he signed with an “agent” who was not certified to do business with the league (the players’ union does the certification). Late in the season he missed a workout and was benched by coach Steve Clifford, something that seemed the culmination of whispers about his work ethic and focus. Plus on the court he got in just 35 games and shot 32 percent from the floor when he did.

Hairston is currently playing for the Charlotte Summer League team trying to improve his reputation on and off the court (but he was shooting below 30 percent this summer heading into Wednesday).

This isn’t going to help: Hairston was cited June 18 for driving with a revoked license, reports the Charlotte Observer.

According to the citation, Hairston’s 2015 black Cadillac Escalade was traveling at 51 mph in a 35 mph zone on Toddville Road heading toward Freedom Drive. The tags were expired and his vehicle went more than half its width over the double yellow line for 25-30 yards, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer N.S. Bush in his report.

“P.J. is young, he’s human and we all make mistakes,” said Brittney Bogues, CEO of All In PR and who works with Hairston. “Some of it was misrepresented. He was given a citation like any other person would be given. And once you comply with the situation and show proof of rectifying the situation, which he’s done, everything is dismissed. He’s really trying to focus on what he’s here to do and that’s play basketball and support the community and get past this.”

If this were a one-off situation as his representation wants to sell it, you could see that. We all have made the stupid mistakes of youth. But in 2013 Hariston was popped for driving on a suspended license and misdemeanor marijuana possession, charges that were later dismissed after he updated his license and took a drug test.

Hairston is under contract with the Hornets for this season; then they have to decide if they will pick up the third year of his rookie contract.



North Carolina wing J.P. Tokoto declaring for NBA draft knowing he’s unlikely a first rounder


North Carolina hasn’t produced a second-round pick in five years.

It’s been boom or bust for the Tar Heels, who’ve sent P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Ed Davis to the first round of the NBA draft since Danny Green went in the 2009 second round.

That streak likely ends this year.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

North Carolina Tar Heels junior J.P. Tokoto will enter the 2015 NBA draft, he told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday.

“Going in, I know I’m not a first-round pick,” Tokoto told Yahoo Sports. “I know my jumper needs work, and I’m putting in that work now – and will keep doing it. My jumper is something that has me as a second-round pick right now, but I have a mindset of work to improve the form and range of my shot.”

Tokoto, who is 6-foot-6, is considered to be solidly in the second round of the draft, several NBA executives told Yahoo Sports.

“I want to focus on my game, working with trainers and pro coaches over the summer and next year. I think that’ll give me the best chance to grow than staying in school and being that player that fit into the mold of my first three years [at Carolina].”

Tokoto is right about his draft stock, but he’s clearly willing to take his chances without a guaranteed contract.

He’s an excellent athlete with who could become a lockdown perimeter defender. He’s quick on his feet, though he has to be, because he’s not particularly long.

As Tokoto noted, his jumper is a problem, but he’s not a zero offensively. He passes well, and could help get him on the court for a team that wants his defense. Still, in a modern offense, a better spot-up game would be ideal.

After three years at North Carolina, it’s unlikely Tokoto’s stock would have improved by returning. At a certain point, scouts just use the extra time to pick apart players even more.

He’s unlikely to go in the first round, but that hardly makes this the wrong decision.

Spurs’ Patty Mills receives flopping warning for play against Grizzlies (VIDEO)


Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs became the latest player to receive a warning for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules, and this one was well-deserved.

Mills jumps backward after being touched in the chest by the forearm of Mike Conley, which looks especially ridiculous in slow-motion.

Mills became the 27th player to receive at least one warning this season. Three players — Marcin Gortat of the Wizards, P.J. Hairston of the Hornets, and C.J. Miles of the Pacers — have been caught twice, which resulted in fines of $5,000 apiece.

Clippers’ Glen Davis receives flopping warning for ridiculous play against Warriors


Glen Davis committed one of the more egregious flops we’ve seen recently, flying wildly out of control well after he received contact during Sunday’s nationally televised contest against the Warriors.

The announcers laughed at the time, Leandro Barbosa tweeted about it a couple of days later, and now the inevitable has occurred: Davis received the official warning from the league office.

As a reminder, the league’s anti-flopping rules are largely toothless. There is no penalty for the first warning, and the fines for subsequent offenses are extremely small in relation to players’ salaries.

A total of 25 different players have received warnings this season, while just two of them — P.J. Hairston of the Hornets and C.J. Watson of the Pacers — have been caught twice, resulting in fines of $5,000 apiece.