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Is it too early for the Hornets to press the panic button?

We've passed December 15, the trade rumors are flying, is it still too early to push the panic button?

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Ren and Stimpy aside, it might be time to start pushing the panic button in Charlotte.

Lets give a quick recap. Over the summer the Hornets got "better". While they lost Josh McRoberts, Charlotte signed Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, Brian Roberts, and drafted two players with the potential to help immediately. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jump shot was supposed to be all fixed, Al Jefferson was coming off an All NBA season, Steve Clifford was a coach of the year candidate, and Cody Zeller had a year of experience under his belt. This team was supposed to succeed and become a contender in the conference.

Fast forward to today. The Hornets are 6-18, Lance Stephenson is rumored in trades, the rookies aren't playing, some fans want Steve Clifford fired, and everybody not named Cody Zeller has regressed. Is it too early to hit the panic button? When things are going this bad, no, it is certainly not.

First lets make one thing clear, hitting the panic button is not always a bad thing. Depending on the situation, the panic button can be as small as a bit of a shakeup to get things together, or it can be as big as firing the coach, or trading away a big name player. The panic button varies from team to team, and the Hornets more so fall into the category of the former.

The Hornets do not need to make any massive changes. The core of Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson, and Lance Stephenson does need work, but that doesn't mean the entire team needs to go through an overhaul. It's still too early to throw in the towel to tank for a high draft pick, and it's certainly too early to think about blowing things up. The roster has talent but the pieces don't seem to fit together. With this in mind, the most likely result of pushing the panic button will be a trade or two. If changes are not made then the Hornets will likely struggle all season.

If Charlotte instead decides to slam the panic button and do something drastic, like fire Clifford without a decent replacement in mind, then things could get very bad, very fast. NBA teams that make rash decisions are usually not among the top seeds come playoff time.

As weird as it sounds, the Hornets aren't really in a position where they can avoid pushing the panic button. They have to make a move of some kind. Staying with the status quo isn't working and obvious needs have to be addressed. How the organization reacts to the panic button could likely decide the future fate of this current core. Lets just hope whatever they decide doesn't blow out a chunk of the planet.