Former Kansas PG Devonte’ Graham agrees to sign-and-trade deal with New Orleans worth $47 million


Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte Graham gestures after making a 3-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Charlotte, N.C. The Hornets won 125-100. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)

Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte Graham gestures after making a 3-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Charlotte, N.C. The Hornets won 125-100. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek) by Matt Tait

*Updated at 9:03 p.m. Monday night*

Three days after Charlotte drafted UConn guard James Bouknight, crowding the Hornets’ backcourt even further than it already was, team GM Mitch Kupchak announced the Hornets had made a qualifying offer to free agent guard Devonte’ Graham.

One day after that, Graham was traded to New Orleans as part of a sign-and-trade deal that will send Graham to the Pelicans and a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick to Charlotte.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojarnowski was the first to report Monday's trade.

As part of the deal, Graham, 26, agreed to a new four-year, $47 million contract.

The Pelicans were in need of backcourt help after 2020-21 starter Lonzo Ball agreed to a massive contract with Chicago earlier in the day.

In New Orleans, Graham will join a young core that features star forwards Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, and Brandon Ingram, the No. 2 pick in 2016. The Pelicans finished 31-41 last season, just missing out on a spot in the postseason play-in tournament.

Regardless of where he's playing, Graham's approach to the game has not changed from his days at Kansas.

“At the end of the day, everybody has a role and you just have to go out, maximize it and bring what you bring to the table,” he said during exit interviews following the season, according to Charlotte's team website. “Whatever role it is that I have to play, I can play that role. People who know me know that I’m not a big ego guy, that I have to be starting or this and that. I feel like I’m going to be on the court playing meaningful minutes regardless and helping the team. I don’t let my ego or pride get in the way. It’s all about winning.”

Graham just wrapped up his third season with Charlotte, averaging 14.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 30.2 minutes per game while appearing in 55 games.

Graham ranked 14th in the NBA last season in total 3-pointers made, knocking down 179 shots from 3-point range, making him just the second player in franchise history with 175+ 3-point field goals in consecutive seasons.

The former Kansas All-American also finished 15th among all NBA players in real plus-minus (3.88), an ESPN-generated metric that estimates “on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possession, [while taking] into account teammates, opponents and additional factors.”

Selected with the 34th overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Charlotte acquired Graham via a draft night trade with the Atlanta Hawks on July 21, 2018.

Graham has played in 164 career games — with 100 starts — and holds career averages of 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 27.7 minutes per game.

In just three seasons with the Hornets, Graham has made 431 3-pointers, which already ranks sixth all-time in franchise history.

Graham's former KU teammate, Svi Mykhailiuk, also received a qualifying offer from the Oklahoma City Thunder, making him a restricted free agent, as well.

A former second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers, Mykhailiuk started the 2020-21 season in Detroit before being traded to OKC. With the Thunder, Mykhailiuk averaged 10.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 30 appearances.


Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

“ 15th among all NBA players in real plus-minus (3.88)”. That’s a great stat.

Devonte has lots of value though he still appears to be rather under appreciated.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 2 months ago

So glad to see DG is standing on his own and being successful.

Andy Godwin 1 year, 2 months ago

The Charlotte organization is not showing too much loyalty to Devonte. I hope he gets some serious offers from other organizations, so as to force Charlotte to commit to a player who has gotten better and better each season. Let's be realistic, Devonte is at a stage in his professional baskeball career where he needs some financial security.

Eliott Reeder 1 year, 2 months ago

$47 million is pretty financially secure.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 2 months ago

WhooHooo excellent news much needed. Great to see Devonte get a huge raise. New Orleans not a bad landing place. DG try to live in a place 50 feet above the flood plain. They do not handle water well there...

Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 2 months ago

50 feet above the flood plain?? I think it's more like 50 inches!! I would be careful about buying a real expensive house there unless you can get good insurance for hurricanes. Go get 'em Devonte!!

Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

The new contract is fabulous. It did seem that Charlotte was always chasing a new skirt; never appreciating what it already had.

Don’t know much about the NOLA organization, but have family that moved there and love it. Even weathered several hurricanes. As with most (?all?) news, the most dramatic is what is portrayed to the rest of the world. Real unlikely that a $12M employee is going to buy a house under water, and there are lots of other places.

Hurricanes and insurance are standard there just as other disasters are elsewhere. Maybe the one difference is that there is a 30 day wait for new policies to take effect.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 2 months ago

Nice! So happy to see Graham made it this far. A true Cinderella story. A 34th 1st rounder pick! Now making just as much as 1st round pick. Amazing....

Spencer Goff 1 year, 2 months ago

Steal of the draft in 2018 and Charlotte is just gonna move on from him. Fine then.

Good for him and I hope he continues to do well.

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