Charlotte Bobcats' Gerald Henderson (15) drives past New York Knicks'...

Charlotte Bobcats' Gerald Henderson (15) drives past New York Knicks' J.R. Smith (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. (April 26, 2012) Credit: AP

Charlotte shooting guard Gerald Henderson and the Bobcats have agreed to a three-year, $18 million contract, said a person familiar with the situation.

The person says Henderson, 25, has the option to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. The person spoke to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been signed.

Henderson, a four-year NBA veteran, was a restricted free agent. Yahoo Sports first reported the deal.

The 12th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Bobcats, Henderson averaged 15.5 points per game last season, second best on the team.

Henderson finished the 2012-13 season playing the best basketball of his professional career, averaging 23.9 points over the final 23 games while shooting 48 percent from the field.

Henderson is the Bobcats' longest tenured player on the roster.

The Bobcats view Henderson as one of their core players, along with fellow co-captain Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and rookie Cody Zeller, the No. 4 pick in this year's draft.

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The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Henderson has started 143 games over the past three seasons and averaged 11.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game during his career. He's averaged better than 15 points per game in each of the last two seasons.

Still, the Bobcats would like to see his 3-point shooting continue to improve.

In 2011-12, Henderson shot just 23 percent from beyond the arc. He showed considerable progress in that area last year, converting 33 percent of his 3-point attempts.

The move likely precludes the Bobcats from signing any other high-profile free agents this summer.

The team earlier this offseason signed free agent center Al Jefferson to a three-year, $41 million contract after using the amnesty clause to release forward Tyrus Thomas. It was the largest free agent contract the Bobcats have ever handed out.

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