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Hornets sign Elliot Williams as 16th player

Charlotte Hornets  vs Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 08: Elliot Williams #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives against the Lance Stephenson #1 of the Charlotte Hornets at the Wells Fargo Center on October 08, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE/Getty Images

The Hornets want to be more competitive now, not down the road.

Apparently, that will start in training camp.

Hornets release:

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed free agent guard Elliot Williams.

Williams’ deal is partially guaranteed, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. I’d guess it’s also at the minimum.

Williams gives Charlotte 16 players – one more than the regular-season maximum.

The only other Hornet without a fully guaranteed deal is undrafted rookie Aaron Harrison, whose salary is $75,000 guaranteed. Quite likely, he and Williams will compete for the final roster spot, though it’s possible Charlotte eats a guaranteed contract.

Williams – the No. 22 overall pick in 2010 – has suffered multiple major injuries. As a result, he hasn’t looked very productive while playing for the Trail Blazers, 76ers, Jazz and Pelicans. It’s possible his injuries have sapped him of the athleticism that once made him a first-round pick.

Williams’ best chance for making the team will come with a strong defensive effort. The combo guard can use his length to his advantage, and that’s the end of the court where Charlotte coach Steve Clifford specializes.

Cho already has a connection with Williams, who played in Portland while Cho was the Trail Blazers’ general manager. Williams also signed a 10-day contract with the Hornets last season, though he never played for them.

I’d bet on the younger Harrison taking the final roster spot, but Williams at least has a fighting chance.