Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is finalizing a four-year, $52 million extension, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal is expected to be officially announced sometime this week.
The Hornets (then Bobcats) selected Kidd-Gilchrist No. 2 overall after losing out on the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. While it’s been a bit of a rocky road for the 21-year-old offensively, he’s grown into an elite defender and solid rebounder, and his offense has improved.
Kidd-Gilchrist averaged a career-high 10.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game last year. He shot 46.5 percent from the field and saw his free throw percentage go from 61.4 percent to 70.1 percent.
Kidd-Gilchrist also saw his mid-range shooting proficiency increase from 28.4 percent in 2013-14 to 39.5 percent in 2014-15 on nearly double the volume, per NBA.com. He didn’t shoot a single three-pointer, but that uptick in efficiency from mid-range and the free throw line shows his reworked jumper is improving, and perhaps he can extend that range out to the three-point line.
Even if the three-point shooting never comes, if Kidd-Gilchrist couples respectable offense with elite defense, this extension will be worth it in this new salary cap climate. It’s kind of surprising the youngster is prepared to take this deal instead of waiting until next summer and possibly getting a whole lot more, but he clearly wants the security of a long-term deal right now (he’s had some injury problems), and the Hornets are happy to oblige.