The Charlotte Hornets have been very active with contract decisions the last few days as the deadline for picking up contract options, or giving out extensions, is midnight. Today, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, the Hornets will not exercise the option on P.J. Hairston's contract. This means that Hairston will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, and Charlotte will be able to extend a qualifying offer, match any offers he receives, or just let him walk.
P.J. Hairston has had an up and down time so far with the Hornets. Drafted 26th by the Hornets, Hairston was brought in to shoot 3-pointers, and hopefully develop into a decent defender. However, his time in Charlotte has been filled with many headlines related to off court issues, and questions about his work ethic. On top of this, he's been a less than stellar player. He shot 30 percent from 3-point range his rookie year, and is off to a horrible start his sophomore year. If he doesn't turn it around soon then the Hornets just saying goodbye to him in the summer wouldn't be very surprising.
What's really strange about all this is that Charlotte just gave Jeremy Lamb a contract extension. Now obviously Lamb has played better over the course of his career than Hairston has so far with the Hornets, but that's still a risk Charlotte took in hopes that Lamb will meet the potential he's yet to meet over many years in the NBA. Hairston on the other hand hasn't even had a full second season yet, but it already appears that Charlotte is thinking about their time without him. This could potentially have to deal with how they view him off the court, but that's mainly speculation.
This could also be a case of Charlotte trying to play free agency with future rising cap space. Hairston might be worth less in restricted free agency than he would be the following offseason, after picking up his option, if he were to break out this season. Of course, he would have to breakout first for that to be a consideration.