Josh McRoberts comes to verbal agreement with Heat

Grant Halverson

It looks like the Hornets won't be getting Josh McRoberts back.

Josh McRoberts has reached a verbal agreement to sign with the Miami Heat for 4 years at the full mid-level exception. The Hornets also offered the full mid level exception in their offer to McRoberts, which is a contract worth about $5.2 million a year.

McRoberts averaged 8 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds per game for Charlotte last season. While his stats don't say much, he was invaluable to the team last year thanks to his passing ability and ability to instill offense based in ball movement.

While many thought McRoberts leaving was a possibility, it's still going to be surprising to see him leave. After floating around the league for a little while, hinting at what he could be but not playing up to his full ability, McRoberts thrived in Charlotte. On a team lacking shot creators, his ability to pass the ball became a valuable weapon. Add in some good shooting mixed with athleticism and McRoberts became more than just a passer. He was constantly used as an off-ball threat, cutting to the basket for dunks or spotting up for threes. His active defense also proved to fit in with Clifford's scheme, even without being a decent shotblocker.

While McRoberts was useful, there was debate over if keeping him was going to help or hurt the Hornets in their long term plans. He was a good player but probably not a starter on most other NBA teams. Now with him leaving, the Hornets are left with Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh, two very young players with a lot of promise. It would not be surprising to see the Hornets decide to focus on developing this young pair rather than replacing McRoberts through free agency. Or they could also swing for the fences. While the team is hurt by McRoberts leaving, this does leave them with lots of options on what their next move might be.

The Hornets' total team salary will sit at about $42.9 million, adjusting for the Haywood deal that has yet to be made official. That also includes the unguaranteed contracts of Jeff Taylor ($915,243) and Alonzo Gee ($3,000,000). Cap holds for Noah Vonleh, P.J. Hairston, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Anthony Tolliver bump them up to $47.8 million, which makes for cap space of an expected estimated $15.4 million. However, given that Gee might be waived, this could be even more.

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