Pargo signs two-year deal to return to Hornets

Updated: August 3, 2007, 5:25 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Free agent Jannero Pargo has agreed to a two-year contract with New Orleans Hornets that will allow the Hornets to continue to use the five-year veteran as one of their top backup guards.

Jannero Pargo


Pargo's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the Associated Press by phone Friday that the deal is worth nearly $4 million with a player option in the second year.

Hornets general manager Jeff Bower confirmed Friday afternoon that a verbal agreement had been reached and said the official signing should take place "sometime next week."

Pargo averaged 9.2 points and 2.5 assists in the 2006-07 season, then opted out of his two-year contract in June to become an unrestricted free agent. He was hoping for a four-year deal worth more than the $1.08 million he made last season. He ended up with only half as long a contract, but did get the raise he was looking for.

"He wanted to come back," Bartelstein said. "He likes the direction they're going. He really enjoyed his role and hopes to expand on it this year. He's also excited about going down to New Orleans and hopefully creating lot of positives with the rebirth of the city down there."

The Hornets narrowly missed the playoffs last season despite missing top players to injury, including Peja Stojakovic, David West and Chris Paul, during long stretches.

All are expected to be healthy for the opening of the 2007-08 season. If they can stay that way, the Hornets are expected to contend for their first playoff berth since joining the Western Conference when the NBA realigned divisions before the 2004-05 season.

This season will also mark the beginning of the Hornets' full-time return to New Orleans since the franchise was displaced to Oklahoma City by Hurricane Katrina, which struck before the 2005-06 season.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press