Baron Davis Stays With The Hornets

Baron Davis is sticking with the Hornets after all, signing a contract that will bring him to New Orleans for the next seven years. Hornets executive vice president Bob Bass said Tuesday the contract adds six years to the one year left in Davis' previous deal.

The team, which recently moved from Charlotte, reportedly had offered Davis an $84 million package. While not confirming the compensation details, Bass said Davis would earn an annual salary equal to about 25 percent of the NBA team salary cap. The cap is $40.271 million for the 2002-03 season and is adjusted annually.

Bass called the agreement "a terrific long-term commitment to the city of New Orleans.''

"Our owners' intention is to sign the best possible players and bring the best possible team to New Orleans,'' Bass said.

Earlier this month, the All-Star point guard said he was weighing what direction the team was headed, and wanted to find out more about the Hornets' new home.

At Tuesday's news conference, Davis said he decided to stay with the Hornets because he did not want to start over again on a new team.

"I'm not greedy, I'm not selfish, I just wanted to make the right decision. This was the biggest decision I've had to make in my life,'' he said. "It's been a long, tough process.''

Davis, 23 and a Los Angeles native, said he was also taken by New Orleans' "Southern hospitality.'' Hoping to lure Davis to New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin invited Davis earlier this month to dinner at Antoine's, a historic upscale French Quarter restaurant. Davis said he had been thinking about playing for a team in a bigger market than New Orleans.

"Everybody wants to play in a big market, and that's what I wanted,'' Davis said. "I'm happy it's over with and I'm ready to start playing.''

Davis averaged 18.1 points, 8.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds last season. Team co-owner George Shinn said the contract "solidifies our team for years to come since he's already an All-Star at the young age of 23.''

Coach Paul Silas said Davis had shown "maturity and leadership on and off the court.''

"We can't wait to show our fans in New Orleans what a quality team we have as we continue to make strides and contend for a championship,'' Silas said.