The Charlotte Hornets have reportedly agreed to sign power forward Cody Zeller to a four-year, $56 million contract extension. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first broke the news on Monday night:
Charlotte's Cody Zeller has agreed to a four-year, $56M extension, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) November 1, 2016
Hornets Sign Cody Zeller to Contract Extension
Zeller’s new deal will kick in during the 2017-18 season. If the Hornets hadn’t extended him before Monday night’s deadline, he would’ve become a restricted free agent in the 2017 off-season. Zeller will now be under contract through the 2020-21 season.
Zeller averaged career highs of 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season, starting in 60 of the 73 games in which he played. He also played a career high 24.3 minutes per game. Through Charlotte’s first three games this season, Zeller has averaged 10.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game.
While this deal may seem like an overpay at first glance, the Hornets are clearly counting on the 24-year-old Zeller to improve significantly. That, along with the NBA‘s rising salary cap, could make this deal seem at least reasonable within the first couple of years. At the moment, though, Zeller becomes Charlotte’s second-highest paid player, with an annual salary of $14 million. He trails only Nicolas Batum, who the Hornets re-signed to a massive deal this off-season.
The Hornets selected Zeller with the fourth pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. He’s now in his fourth season in the league, all spent in Charlotte.
Zeller’s older brother, Tyler Zeller, plays center for the Boston Celtics.
January 15, 2016: Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller (40) passes the ball during the NBA game between the Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. (Photograph by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)