Report: Hornets sign free agent Ely to contract

Updated: September 13, 2007, 1:12 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Free agent forward/center Melvin Ely has reached an agreement with the Hornets on a contract, an NBA source Wednesday told The Associated Press.

The source confirmed the signing but did not want to be identified before Thursday's formal announcement was made.

Ely, 29, 6-10, 260 pounds, is a fifth-year veteran traded by the Charlotte Bobcats to the San Antonio Spurs in February. He played in six games for the Spurs but was inactive for the playoffs. The Spurs won their third NBA championship in June against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Los Angeles Clippers drafted Ely in the first round of the 2002 draft out of Fresno State. He played two seasons with the Clippers before they traded him to the Bobcats.

Ely's best season was in 2004-05, when he averaged 7.3 points and 4.1 rebounds for Charlotte.

Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower said the team was looking to sign a center to provide depth behind starter Tyson Chandler and second-year player Hilton Armstrong.

Ely's signing likely is the Hornets' last major roster addition before training camp begins next month. The Hornets open against the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 31.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press