It was a disappointing season for Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Hornets, failing to repeat their playoff qualification. The big man missed quite a few games due to injury, but feels he has unfinished business to attend to.
Jefferson averaged only 16.6 points per game, a drop off of 5.2 points compared to last season, which also manifested in his per minute and per possession numbers. Despite the good fit for Jefferson in the Hornets starving-for-points offense and the ability to minimize his problematic defense through Steve Clifford’s schemes, there were other issues that kept the Hornets from competing as they would like to.
I wasn’t the player I need to be to get this team to the next level. I’m still a young man with a lot of great basketball in me. Like coach always says – the responsibility to lead is with him and the best players. I’m disappointed in myself. I’ve got to redeem myself.
So he’s planning on coming back in good health and shape and train stronger than ever. Nice words. But is there an option for him on the open market? Jefferson has a $13.8 million salary next season which he can forego if he opts out of his contract. Can he make the same amount of money elsewhere? Is anyone going to give him that?
The Hornets aren’t title contenders, but with a good roster that needs some tweaks (especially add shooters) and committed to $59.6 million in salary for next season right now, they have the space and opportunity to improve further. Jefferson seems to honestly wants to be a part of what comes next with this team, and him actually leaving seems unlikely. Either way, it’ll be a blow to a team that doesn’t plan on starting another rebuilding process and doesn’t have the ability to attract marquee free agents.