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tiggerpolice 08-16-2005 04:49 PM

Hornets complete busy two days by signing Andersen
Hornets complete busy two days by signing Andersen

Special to The Advocate

Associated Press photo
Chris Andersen (left) was a favorite of coach Byron Scott, leading the Hornets in blocked shots (100) and field-goal percentage (.534).
NEW ORLEANS -- The Hornets completed a whirlwind two days by re-signing reserve forward/center Chris Andersen on Wednesday.

His return, which had been anticipated for weeks, came a day after New Orleans re-signed forward Bostjan Nachbar, signed guard Arvydas Macijauskas, and acquired forward Rasual Butler and guard Kirk Snyder as part of a five-team trade that included an NBA record 13 players.

The flurry of acquisitions left the Hornets with 14 players under contract and likely concluded their activity for the free agency period that began Tuesday.

"Now we've got 14 guaranteed contracts," General Manager Allan Bristow said, "so I don't see us doing any more moving in the near future."

New Orleans signed Andersen, 6-10, as a free agent prior to last season and he averaged 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. He led the team with an average of 1.49 blocks and a .534 field goal percentage in 67 games.

"One of our top priorities of the summer was to re-sign Chris due to the development of his overall game last season," Bristow said. "We're excited to see him continue that progress while still giving us the hustle, defense and rebounding that got him to where he is today."

Andersen, who spent the first three years of his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets, was the leading scorer off the Hornets' bench and had career-highs in nearly every offensive category while becoming a fan favorite.

"I'd like to thank (coach) Byron Scott for giving me the opportunity and the minutes that I had worked hard to get," Andersen said. "He just let me get out there on the court and be myself and I just went out there and gave them everything I've got."

Scott spoke often last season of the value of the energy and hustle that Andersen, nicknamed "The Birdman", brought off the bench.

"He had a fantastic first year with us," Scott said. "The Birdman is an exciting player, he's a terrific human being, he works as hard as anybody I've had in recent years as a basketball player to improve his game and the one thing I love about him is that he's very coachable.

"You can tell Bird to do this and do that and he'll try to do it to the best of his ability. Our talk this summer was to expand his game and make us a little more versatile as a basketball team."

Butler, 6-7, was Miami's leading scorer off the bench last season, averaging 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 65 games last season. He made 37 percent of his 3-pointers.

In three seasons with the Heat, Butler has averaged 6.9 points and 2.2 rebounds. He will compete with Nachbar for the starting small forward position.

"Rasual has shown a lot of promise and he will help us immediately at the small forward position," Bristow said. "He will get a chance to play more minutes here and continue to develop his overall game while continuing to provide shooting, athleticism and defense."

Snyder, 6-6, worked out for the Hornets prior to the 2004 draft. Utah selected him with the 16th overall pick, two spots before New Orleans chose J.R. Smith. Both players are shooting guards.

As a rookie, Snyder averaged 5.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in 68 games. He finished fifth among rookies with a .353 3-point percentage.

"Kirk had a solid rookie season and we look for him to continue his progress with us," Bristow said. "We had our eye on him in last year's draft and are very aware of his capabilities and potential."

The addition of Snyder and Macijauskas to a backcourt that includes Smith, No. 1 draft choice Chris Paul and veteran Speedy Claxton means the Hornets will no longer pursue re-signing free agent point guard Dan Dickau.

Unless a trade develops, the roster is likely set.

"We're going to be very exciting this year," Andersen said. "We've got Chris Paul. We've got J.R. Smith. We've got (No. 2 draft choice) Brandon Bass. We've got some new trades. They told me we've got some new players and it's going to be real exciting this year."

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