The Charlotte Hornets Off-season by Brad Kirby
The first year return of the Charlotte Hornets ended in disappointment and many questions needing to be answered regarding the future of our team. At the beginning of the year, there were thoughts from our whole entire fan base that the Hornets were ready and set to explode into the spotlight. With the additions of Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, Brian Roberts, Jason Maxiell, our two draft picks Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston, and Mo Williams and Troy Daniels during the season, our confidence level as fans jumped very high going into opening night and throughout the whole entire season. From Opening night to the last home game, the fan base supported the Hornets the whole way to the finish line through the good times and the bad times. But now, the good times are approaching as the NBA draft and free agency signing period are coming up quickly.
The Hornets Players Contracts Heading into Next Year
As the Hornets have 67 million dollars overall, but 60 million dollars will be tied up in all of our players if Al Jefferson opts in. It would put the Hornets in a situation where the Hornets wouldn’t have a lot of money to spend in the offseason. Al Jefferson has recently stated to media that he has unfinished business here, so it looks as if he will be opting in his contract this summer. As the Hornets approach this offseason, the organization should look to cut, amnesty or trade players on the roster to free up cap space for this upcoming free agency period.The Hornets should look into many trades that consist of Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, or Gerald Henderson for trading away their contracts. I know people are wondering why Lance Stephenson isn’t on this list but I would give him one more chance to shine and if he can’t develop this next year at least you know you tried to make it work with a very skilled player. A draft night trade is what the Charlotte Hornets truly need to consider. Once the NBA lottery results come out, which hopefully will give us luck, the Hornets need to make a game plan on the draft right away and make a bold move on draft night. During the free agency, they also need to sign one big time player that will contribute any given night.
The Scenarios on Draft Night from most likely to happen to least likely to happen
1. It’s the day of NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick in the NBA draft. The Hornets are on the clock and they select Stanley Johnson, freshmen small forward from the University of Arizona. Johnson has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA draft class as he is 6-7 and 237 pounds with a fast moving motor. He is a very athletic prospect who can shoot the 3 ball and finish strong around the rim. If they don’t select Stanley Johnson then they will go with Willie Cauley-Stein, junior from the University of Kentucky. He is a 7-0 and 240 pounds with top notch shot blocking ability and very high elevation of the floor which makes him an alley-oop machine. If Cauley-Stein can develop better post game presence then the sky is the limit for him. Patrick Ewing could help him in this area very well over the summer. Cauley-Stein could definitely be Al Jeffersons replacement in the future.
2. It’s the day of the NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick. The Hornets organization are eyeing down Justice Winslow, a 6-6 and 222 pound freshmen from Duke University, who has fallen past the fourth pick of the NBA draft. The team who has the 5th overall pick are about to receive a call from the Hornets that states that they will give up Cody Zeller, Gerald Henderson, our first round pick this year, and a future first round pick that is lottery protected for your 5th overall pick. The team accepts the deal and Justice Winslow becomes a Charlotte Hornet. The Hornets needed to draft a proven prospect that has all-star capability, that can finish around the rim, that can expand his jump shot and that has a motor that would pair well with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s. The Hornets are giving up many pieces but in the end it would be well worth it to draft Winslow.
3. It’s the day of the NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick. The Hornets organization are eyeing down Karl Anthony-Towns, a 6-11 and 250 pound freshmen from the University of Kentucky and Jahil Okafor, a 6-11 and 275 pound freshmen from Duke University. The Hornets are in big need of a replacement at the center position for the future. The trade the Hornets would propose would have to include Cody Zeller, Gerald Henderson, Al Jefferson, our first round pick, and a future first round pick for their first or second overall pick. The team the Hornets would propose this too would maybe not accept the deal but the Hornets need to at least give the trade a chance. If the Hornets draft Towns, the Hornets would be getting a player with major upside who dominated college basketball with his scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking at Kentucky. With Okafor, the Hornets would be getting a player who is drawing comparisons with our big man Al Jefferson. Okafor could come in with very polished skills and post moves that are hard to guard down low in the post. His defense would need some work but everyone has one flaw when you get to the next level.
Now to Free Agency where the Hornets solidify a team
The Charlotte Hornets last summer made a big splash in free agency for Lance Stephenson which hasn’t panned out too well so far. So what’s the Charlotte Hornets plan this year? The Hornets will not have too much cash to spend out of their pockets this year as they spent much money last summer. The Hornets will need to shed some of their contracts or it will be a very quiet free agency period in Charlotte. A very good fit for the Charlotte Hornets would be sharpshooter Danny Green who is currently playing for San Antonio Spurs. Green can spread the floor and hit any shot which is a very big weakness on this Hornets team. An intriguing option would be all-star Jimmy Butler but he will require a max deal this offseason so the Hornets would need to lessen the contracts of the players to make this work out. The Hornets also need to add a big man into the rotation. Bismack Biyombo needs to resigned immediately this summer once free agency begins. Other than Bismack, the Hornets need to look at guys in their affordable price range. The Hornets would for sure love a Paul Millsap or a Greg Monroe but that would be a hard add with the amount of money tied up in our organization right now. I’m looking at Tyler Hansbrough, a proven pro and hard worker or Thomas Robinson, a young player that has very high potential. All the Hornets need are players to help this team so they can reach the next level. All of us as a fan base need to truly believe in the Hornets this offseason and get Charlotte buzzing for next year when we make a run to the playoffs and beyond.