Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week, you are well aware of the twists and turns the Hornets fan base has dealt with during the Free Agency Frenzy in the NBA. The team lost it’s leader on and off the court to that team and fan base that wears green and says thinks like “Wicked Awesome” and “Chowdah” much to the dismay of this writer and a large portion of Hornets fans, but Dammit I’m all cried out (wonder what the dudes in 112 are up to?) and like we have become used to around these parts since the team returned its time to open the curtains, draw in a deep breath and get ready for what fresh hell this team is going to put us through next.
OH GOODY, ANOTHER REBUILD
The Hornets found their replacement for Kemba in the form of Terry Rozier as part of the Sign-and-trade and agreed to a robust 3 year 58 million dollar contract. This is an absolute overpay for the youngish point guard who had a solid run in the playoffs 2 years ago in Kyrie Irving’s absence. A scoring points guard who has shown some flashes as a player in his 4 years in Boston, his game has some holes that hopefully he can improve on as the every night starter in Buzz City. The Hornets front office likely felt like they had to strike on Rozier due to lack of cap space even with Kemba leaving. This gives the Hornets someone to team-up with the current crop of young player to begin the process of rebuilding around a young core while the overpaid veterans slowly leave this team by trade or contracts expiring. Its a Re-birth if you will, the beginning of a new era in Hornets basketball history. The problem is there are some guidelines the Hornets front office needs to follow as we move forward, and that scares the crap out of many of us.
PLAY THE DAMN KIDS
This should be the easy part, but we will see. We all know what the veterans on this team brings, that is why we are in this mess to begin with. So they need to find out what Bacon, Bridges, Monk, Graham, Willy and Washington can do now and what they can become over an 82 game season. There is no reason for these guys not to be playing lots of minutes this season, and as a fan no one wants to watch Batum play 28 minutes and take 2 shots or watch Biz fumble the ball out of bounds twice a game. Give us something to look forward to. It cannot be about wins this season, (That hurts my heart to say that) it has to be about development and knowing exactly what we have going forward. Can Monk be a consistent scorer in the NBA? Can Bacon be an effective starting shooting guard on a nightly basis? Is Bridges a small forward or a power forward and is his 3-point shot going to be reliable. These are the kinds of things we need to know as the 19-20 season comes to a close.
ASSETS, ASSETS, ASSETS
This is where my heart starts pounding and my hands get sweaty. The Hornets front office must use the Expiring contracts of Marvin, MKG and Biz to their advantage to accumulate as many picks or young players as they can to help rebuild the roster. Guys like Marvin and MKG will likely have value to teams who are contending or hope to contend. Turning them into late first rounders or multiple seconds while also being able to take on longer contracts is key for the team. General Managers feel pressure leading up to and at the deadline to make moves to help push their team over the top. The Hornets need to take full advantage of those opportunities. I don’t think any playoff teams will feverishly chasing Biz and his 17 million dollar contract for help on the court, however, teams that are either over the tax line next year or who need to free up space to sign their own free agents or bolster their roster will be looking for guys on expiring deals. The Hornets are in a great position there as well because they can take on someone on a 2 year deal or longer due to having cap space open in the future as well. How the front office handles these deals will go along way to jump starting this rebuild and giving the team the ability to return to respectability in a Brooklyn Nets time frame, not a Phoenix Suns time frame.