CHARLOTTE - Cody Zeller was his usual, humble self Tuesday afternoon, not 12 hours after agreeing to a 4-year, $56 million extension with the Charlotte Hornets.
The center admitted jokingly -- maybe -- that it's $56 million more than he needs.
"I'm a simple kid from Indiana," he said while sitting next to General Manager Rich Cho. "I'll tell Rich now, but $56 million is crazy. I'd play this game for free."
So what will Zeller do with his $14 million annual salary? His teammates have a request.
"Frank (Kaminsky) started a petition that I have to buy myself a new car," Zeller said. "I have a Dodge Charger that I love. I'm happy with my Dodge Charger, but I don't know if I'm going to get away with keeping it for that long."
Charlotte and Zeller came to the agreement just before the deadline to lock up players from the 2013 draft class.
The Hornets, who selected Zeller fourth overall, did not want him to be a restricted free agent this offseason, when other teams could force Charlotte to match a high offer.
"It only takes one team and there are a lot of teams really desperate to get young, restricted free agents," Cho said. "We just felt like we needed to lock him up while we could."
Zeller set career highs in 2015-16 with 60 starts, 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
In 2016 he is averaging 10.7 points and 5 rebounds through the team's first three games.