Following continued social media videos and posts, the Charlotte Hornets have taken a stance to separate themselves from Bahamian professional basketball player Kai Jones.
The Hornets waived their former first-round pick on Wednesday, essentially giving him his wish after he publicly requested a trade earlier this week.
Jones had a series of bizarre videos and postings on X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram Live, including being critical of teammates and declaring himself the GOAT (Greatest Of All-Time). All of that led to a non invitation to the Hornets training camp prior to the start of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) preseason.
It’s been a topsy-turvy few weeks for the Bahamian star.
Two Saturdays ago, the Hornets announced that Jones, a 6’ 11” forward/center, would not join the team for training camp due to “personal reasons” and is indefinitely away from the team. Inexplicably, Jones continued releasing the videos and postings on social media.
With a number of people, including Bahamians, worried and concerned about his well-being, Jones continued the strange behavior. He posted on X that he “officially requests to be traded” from the Hornets, and instead of trading him, the Hornets gave him his release, according to president of basketball operations and general manager Mitch Kupchak on Wednesday.
The public request for a trade could cost Jones up to $150,000.
According to the NBA’s and National Basketball Players Association’s (NBPA) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), with respect to trades, any player who publicly expresses a desire to be traded to another team shall be subject to a fine and/or a suspension. Section 18 of the CBA goes on to state that the maximum fine that may be imposed by the NBA on a player pursuant to the foregoing shall be $150,000.
Jones, 22, endeared himself among Bahamians for his national team play in the second round of the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup Americas Qualifiers last summer. In two games against Venezuela and Argentina, Jones averaged 18 points and added eight rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals per game. He shot 81.3 percent from the field, going 13-for-16, and was 2-for-9 from deep.
In 67 career games in two seasons with the Hornets, Jones averaged 2.7 points and two rebounds per game. Last season, he averaged 3.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in 12 minutes per contest off the bench.
Drafted in the first round (number 19 overall) out of Texas in 2021, Jones signed a four-year deal worth $13,421,215. He was in the third year of that deal up to his release on Wednesday. His money for this season is guaranteed and he will still earn a reported $3.05 million this season.
The NBA preseason is underway and opening day is set for Tuesday, October 24.
It remains unclear what is going on with Jones, but one thing is for certain – he is now done in Charlotte. Whether another team in the league gives him a chance remains to be seen.