Charlotte Hornets big man Kai Jones wants to trade from the team, but he faces a hefty fine that could arrive sooner than his request.
The 22-year-old player forward went to Twitter/X on Oct. 9 and publicly requested to be traded from the Hornets — and now this move could cost him.
Jones and his career
Jones is reportedly estimated to have a net worth of approximately $1 million. He has been with the Hornets for a relatively short period of three years, having been acquired from the New York Knicks in a trade that took place during the 2021 draft. Although he was selected as the 19th overall pick in the first round, his performance has been less than stellar, with much of his time spent working with the Hornets’ G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, from 2021 to 2023.
The drop in the Bahamian player’s performance is notably significant, especially considering that his high school recruiting ratings before he signed with the Texas Longhorns were generally positive. Most outlets gave him four out of five stars, indicating high expectations for his potential in the league. At Texas he averaged 6.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game over two seasons before declaring for the NBA draft, but those pedestrian numbers did not deter the Charlotte franchise from taking him in the first round.
By this year, after a 2022-2023 season that saw Jones average 3.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 46 games played, on Sept. 30 the team announced that the disgruntled forward would be absent from training camp due to “personal reasons,” with no definite timeline for his return.
Trading in Public
Jones’ social media declaration of a trade request means he could potentially face a fine of up to $150,000 from the NBA, as outlined in Article VI, Section 18 of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
It reads: “Any player (or, for clarity, any player representative or person acting with authority on behalf of a player) who publicly expresses a desire to be traded to another Team shall be subject to a fine and/or a suspension. The maximum fine that may be imposed by the NBA on a player pursuant to the foregoing shall be $150,000.”
According to The Charlotte Observer, the Hornets already were worried about Jones’ social media activity since Sept. 26.
Jones was sidelined for making derogatory comments about multiple Hornets players, including Mark Williams and Nick Richards. The blue-haired player also asserted that he is superior to teammates LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller.
Is a Deal Still In The Making?
Jones could hold value because the new collective bargaining agreement values affordable rookie contracts.
He is set to earn $3 million this year and has a $4.7 million team option for 2024-25 before becoming eligible for restricted free agency in 2025.