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Former Pitt star opts out of NBA contract

Hornets reserve center and former Pitt standout Aaron Gray is opting out of the final season of his contract.

Gray had until Thursday to decide whether to exercise an option for one more season with New Orleans at $1.1 million. Instead, he opted for free agency Monday.

However, Gray's agent said the 7-foot, 270-pound center remains open to returning to New Orleans.

"I think he really enjoyed being with New Orleans, the opportunity to come free made it a good time to explore the market for him," said Jason Zanik, one of Gray's representatives, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The Times-Picayune

Zanik added that Gray isn't concerned about the uncertainty of the NBA's labor situation.

The 26-year-old Gray averaged 3.1 points in 13 minutes per game during the regular season. His size helped the Hornets defend some of the NBA's bigger and more physical centers.

Gray's best game of the season came in the Hornets' victorious playoff opener against the Lakers, when he scored 12 points.

"The Hornets have been great to Aaron and it's merely the option in his contract to be able to do this," Zanik told the Times-Picayune.

Gray averaged 9.8 points and 7.0 rebounds while at Pitt and was a named to the All-Big East first team and All-America third team his senior season (2006-07).

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