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Report: Julyan Stone released from Italian team, to sign with Hornets

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 06: Julyan Stone #77 of the Toronto Raptors during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 6, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Julyan Stone had bounced around the NBA a little as a backup combo guard — he played with the Nuggets and Raptors— but last season, when his NBA options had dried up, he signed with the Italian team Reyer Venezia and helped lead them to a title. This summer he worked to find an NBA home again because he wanted to stay stateside and be close to his very ill father. Nothing seemed to materialize, so he signed a two-year deal with Venezia again.

Then the Charlotte Hornets called, looking for a third-string guard to round out its roster. That’s where things got complicated because the new deal with Reyer Venezia did not have an NBA out. However, the sides have worked something out, and Stone is headed to Charlotte, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

Stone has gotten his release from Venice-based team Umana Reyer Venezia after several weeks of negotiations, an informed source told the Observer. A 6-6 combo guard, Stone played last season for that team, which won the Italian championship...

Stone is expected to sign a two-year contract with the Hornets for the veteran minimum, probably Thursday or Friday. He can’t sign until the Hornets receive a letter from FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, saying he is no longer under contract elsewhere.

Stone will be the Hornets’ third point guard behind starter Kemba Walker and backup Michael Carter-Williams. His size is a plus: It makes him suitable to play either guard spot and also can help compensate for rookie Malik Monk’s relative lack of height.

This is good news for Stone, who gets to be close to his father.

The Hornets look to be a team that will step back into the playoffs in the East, somewhere in the bottom half of the bracket. The addition of Dwight Howard at center is an upgrade, particularly defensively (where coach Steve Clifford wants to focus), and he can still get buckets. They need Walker to stay healthy and keep playing like an All-Star, Nicolas Batum to step up, and guys like Monk and Frank Kaminsky to contribute, but in a depleted East the Hornets should make the postseason.