Thursday was the first day that NBA moves could be finalized, so new acquisitions Roy Hibbert and Ramon Sessions, along with general manager Rich Cho, were presented to the Charlotte media to answer questions. Here's what we learned.
1. The Hornets accomplished their number one and two priorities in free agency
Charlotte made it well-known that their main goal for this offseason was re-signing Nicolas Batum, which the team accomplished by meeting with the Frenchman as soon a free agency opened. Cho noted how important it was to get Batum to agree to a deal that night because six or seven teams were willing to give him a max deal.
Cho admitted that priority number two was re-signing Marvin Williams, who last seasons turned into the ideal stretch four for Steve Clifford's new offense. Williams was out of town and will officially sign his contract this weekend.
2. Sessions impressed with Charlotte's growth
When Ramon Sessions last left Charlotte as a member of the city's basketball team, that team was known as the Charlotte Bobcats and Charlotte's athletic teams were...struggling, to put it nicely. Sessions noted in the press conference how much things have changed, and how he can already tell the level of excitement for both the Hornets and the Carolina Panthers. He noted how difficult the Hornets were last season with both Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin on the floor and how he was prepared to take over that role, having shared the floor with John Wall at times last season.
Sessions added that the proximity to his hometown of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was a decision in his return. There's no place like home, right?
3. Hibbert is ready to turn his career around
Roy Hibbert admitted in the introductory press conference that his career has taken a tumble following an impressive rookie campaign, but he is ready to turn that all around. Hibbert said that Charlotte was one the places he was looking forward to speaking with when free agency opened, saying that he "wanted to play with a group ready to take it to the next level" and adding that the atmosphere of the home games in Charlotte created by the fans was something he loved and admired. The chance to work with Clifford and Georgetown legend Patrick Ewing probably didn't hurt either.
Hibbert also mentioned that he has not tried much of Charlotte's local cuisine and was looking for recommendations. Might we suggest the BBQ, Mr. Hibbert?
4. The team REALLY wanted Belinelli
The trade for Marco Belinelli was made official on Thursday, and we also got to learn just how badly the team wanted the Italian shooter. Not only did the Hornets try to sign him during last year's free agency, but they also tried to acquire him via trade last season. To say that Cho must be ecstatic to have finally gotten Belinelli is an understatement.
Additionally, Belinelli has been playing with a mask in Europe since suffering his fractured jaw and has been playing fine, scoring 19 and 11 points of Italy's two Olympic qualifiers so far.
5. Charlotte is not done making moves yet
Cho said that the team is happy with the moves they have made so far, but added that they are looking to bring in one or two more players. Cho's goal was to make depth a strength on next season's iteration of the Hornets much like it was for last season's team. He also added that Walker and Frank Kaminsky, who both had surgeries this offseason, should be fully recovered next month.