Hornets ink Morris Peterson for 4 years

Unrestricted free agent Morris Peterson signed with the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, ending a seven-year tenure with the Toronto Raptors.

Unrestricted free agent Morris Peterson signed with the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, ending a seven-year tenure with the Toronto Raptors.

Peterson, 29, reportedly inked a four-year, $23-million US contract.

He is projected to start for New Orleans at shooting guard, a position occupied by seven different players since 2004.

"I am excited about getting a fresh start in New Orleans," Peterson said. "It is an opportunity to make history and be a part of a franchise on the rise."

"Morris was our top free-agent target this summer," Hornets general manager Jeff Bower said. "He is a reliable, veteran scorer who can stretch the defence with his three-point range, which is exactly the role we were looking to fill."

Peterson averaged 8.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 21.4 minutes in 71 games, including 12 starts, for the Raptors last season.

The Michigan State product is a 42.1 per cent shooter as a pro, averaging 12.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 29.6 minutes in 542 NBA games (364 starts) since being drafted 21st overall by Toronto in 2000.

"I am looking forward to having Mo on our team," Hornets head coach Byron Scott said. "In addition to what he brings to us on the court, he exemplifies the type of high-character individual that can help us build a positive team environment."

Peterson was the longest-serving player on the Raptors, but wasn't re-signed because they secured free-agent Jason Kapono for four years and $24 million US on July 11.

Kapono set personal highs in virtually every offensive category last season, averaging 10.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 26.4 minutes in 67 games (35 starts) for the Miami Heat.

He also led the NBA from three-point range at 51.4 per cent (108-210) — the fourth-highest success rate in league history.

With files from the Associated Press