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Hornets center Nick Richards agrees to three-year, $15 million extension

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Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards has agreed to a three-year, $15 million contract extension, per sources. The 7-foot center was selected 42nd overall out of Kentucky in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Through 58 appearances this season, Richards is averaging career highs of 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 18.2 minutes per game. Plus, the third-year player is shooting 62.3% from the field and a career-best 75.8% at the foul line.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Hornets are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. However, check out which sportsbooks are still showing favorable odds for the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Brooklyn Nets.

In the Hornets’ 129-102 season-opener win over the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 19, the center scored a then-career-high 19 points in 22 minutes off the bench. Along with grabbing 10 boards, Richards shot 7-of-13 (53.8%) from the floor and 5-of-7 (71.4%) at the free throw line.

Four days later, in Charlotte’s 126-109 victory against the Atlanta Hawks, the Kentucky product logged a career-high 20 points in 21 minutes off the bench. In addition to tallying 11 rebounds, one dime, and two blocks, he finished a perfect 9-of-9 (100%) shooting from the field.

Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards agrees to a three-year, $15 million contract extension, avoids restricted free agency this offseason

Richards is in the final season of his current contract. He’s earning $1,782,621 this season. This is part of the three-year, $4.3 million deal he signed with the Hornets in 2020. Based on his impressive performances over the past 58 appearances, the center deserves a payday.

Additionally, Richards was extension eligible until June 30 and now avoids heading into restricted free agency this summer. The center ranks 10th on the Hornets in scoring, second in offensive rebounds behind only Mason Plumlee, and seventh in defensive boards.

Not to mention, Richards is fourth in rebounds, and tied with P.J. Washington and Mark Williams in blocks. The center has missed 15 games so far this season. While he’s not as impressive or reliable as Plumlee, Richards is still only 25 years old. He has time to become an even better rebounder.

With only nine games left of the Hornets’ season, the team’s effort was quite disappointing. Then again, the bar was already set low based on previous campaigns. Charlotte is 23-50 and ranks 14th in the Eastern Conference standings. Of course, the Hornets have not qualified for the playoffs since the 2015-16 season.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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