Courtney Lee wants to return to Hornets next season
The 30-year-old was traded to the Hornets from the Memphis Grizzlies before the trade deadline in February in part of a three-team deal. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for the season, Lee stepped into the starting lineup and became a steady contributor, playing solid defense while averaging 8.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, on 44.5 percent shooting from the field and 39.2 percent from three.
He started all seven playoff games for Charlotte, putting up 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game as the Hornets fell to the Miami Heat in the first round.
Lee is a free agent this summer, but he clearly enjoyed his brief experience with the up-and-coming Hornets, as he told NBA.com’s Sam Perley he’d like to re-sign.
“Of course I would like to be [back]. [I] got a chance to build chemistry and friendships with the guys since I’ve been here and it’s been fun playing with them. Everybody is just playing together. There’s no egos out there at all. It’s always about making the right play and the best play to help win and that’s the kind of guys I want to be on a team with.”
The former first-round pick out of Western Kentucky has bounced all over the place in his eight-year NBA career, playing for the Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics before playing with Memphis and Charlotte this year.
If he does return to the Hornets, he may not hold on to the starting role he had since the trade. Kidd-Gilchrist will presumably take back his starting small forward role when he returns from his shoulder surgery, which would slide Nicolas Batum back over to shooting guard — if he chooses to re-sign. But with his outside shooting and well-regarded defense, Lee would be a nice piece to have coming off the bench and provides insurance if MKG isn’t ready to go or suffers yet another injury.
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