The Hornets frontcourt got a massive upgrade last season in just-named All-NBA Center Al Jefferson. His ability to post up and create for himself with above-average passing ability was the center of the Bobcats offense. Then there was Josh McRoberts, catching the ball up at the elbow and at the top of the key. From there he would operate and choose whether he should drive, shoot, or more than likely pass.
While the starting frontcourt was effective, it had its weaknesses. Josh McRoberts, as great a passer he is and as useful as he was with that passing, is one of the weaker starting big men when comparing across the NBA. He's found a spot in Charlotte where he's effective and his skills are utilized but the Hornets would not be doing their job if they weren't out there looking for upgrades.
Under the assumption the team wants to run the same schemes they ran last season, a suitable replacement for McRoberts is a player with good shooting ability. Seeing as he attempted 291 threes last season, it's safe to assume the Hornets want a guy that can shoot from deep.
Chris Bosh (Early termination option)
I have a dream that Chris Bosh wants to go back to his Toronto days of being the number 1 option on a team and having it built around him. However he's made comments that he wants to stay with the Heat. The Hornets can try throwing a ton of money at him and see if they can appeal to that side of him but the chances of him leaving Miami for Charlotte are slim to nil.
Zach Randolph (player option)
Should the Hornets decide to change schemes or look to completely over-power people in the paint, Randolph would be interesting. He doesn't provide the spacing the offense needs so this would put the futures of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson in question considering most teams have a minimum of two shooters on the floor at all times. He has a bit of range to his jumper, but he doesn't rely on it much. Randolph and Jefferson would glean the glass for rebounds, but that frontcourt would be completely devoid of rim protection and would lack help defense.
Greg Monroe (restricted free agent)
Monroe is 6'11 and is seen as a center by many. However, many also believe he has enough of a shooting touch to play power forward. Should the Hornets choose to go for Monroe that would be two gigantic men down low allowing them to punish teams that go small against them. But, he's mainly effective near the rim and I'm not sure he's good enough on defense to justify the damage you do to spacing.
Channing Frye (player option)
Frye came out one year after heart surgery and was fantastic for the Suns. A career 38 percent shooter from three he fits the needs of a stretch 4 the Hornets would be looking for. He won't move mountains as far as raising the team to the next level but he could be an improvement over McRoberts. At 6'11", adding that size down low with the ability to stretch the floor would be a great fit for this team. However, he has a player option so if he opts out he's going to be looking for a decent sized contract. If the Hornets can get him at the right price, he could add to their offense and perhaps even their defense.
So the options for starting stretch power forwards are slim. Bosh would be the best option but the chances of getting him are extremely low. So in a realistic scenario, Frye is probably the best player to put into the offense without too many problems. The chances of signing Monroe or Randolph are higher but the Hornets would have to sacrifice some spacing and change their schemes, which isn't exactly a bad thing but continuity for a young playoff team is better than not.
Of course there are other options where Charlotte could use improvement. The bench is always in need of improving. The frontcourt options on the bench last year weren't exactly striking fear into their opponents and really anytime that Jefferson had to come out of the game it was just a battle of how long can the team go without him. As far as players the Hornets should keep an eye on.
Spencer Hawes (unrestricted free agent)
Not a huge upgrade but he's a good enough shooter and can play center. Clifford could play him with Zeller and not have too many spacing issues. Considering Biyombo played 14 minutes per game last season, the Hornets might be looking for a player that can be a consistent rotation-level center at an NBA level and Hawes can do that.
Emeka Okafor (UFA)
Okafor is coming off neck surgery so he could be gotten for pretty cheap. Before the surgery he was a solid defensive center and rebounder. Hornets lack a true rim protector outside of Biyombo, and Okafor could provide help in that role quite nicely.
Ed Davis (RFA)
Davis has been in the NBA for four seasons now but has yet to make much of an impact. The Hornets could go after him in hopes of catching a late bloomer but it makes more sense to draft a big guy with one of their late picks in the draft and develop them over time instead.
Jordan Hill (UFA)
Hill's a great rebounder and hustle guy. He struggled and bounced around a bit before his time with the Lakers, where he had a bit of a revival. It wasn't anything too overly impressive in Los Angeles but Drew Garrison wrote for SB Nation why he should have been playing more.
Glen Davis (Player option)
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA no. Okay to be honest Davis's biggest strength is that he's quick enough on his feet to be good on rotations on defense. However between his off court problems, black hole nature on offense, and tendency to pull down his pants there aren't many arguments for signing him. He's a giant walking red flag that should be avoided.
There's naturally a larger option of bench players for the Hornets to choose from. They'll likely be looking for a rim protector and anybody that has any shooting ability.
The Hornets have a real chance to make some front court improvements this offseason. They have a couple of starter level players they can go after should they look to improve at that position and a handful of bench level frontcourt players they will probably give a few calls to. For the right price one or two of these names could be Hornets at the start of training camp.