The Charlotte Hornets are off to a surprisingly great start this season in a way that many of us weren't expecting. The slow grind it out style that relied on post ups and kick outs has been replaced with a style featuring a heavy dose of 3-pointers and screens. The much welcome change has not only made the Hornets more aesthetically pleasing, but it's led to a team that currently sits fifth in a tightly contested Eastern conference. Charlotte's playing great basketball at the moment, and it's hard to see them not finishing somewhere between the upper or middle areas of the conference come playoff time.
However, if there's one thing we know about this front office regime it's that they're not afraid to change things up if they feel the need to do so. Especially during the season. With December 15th coming and going, players that were signed in free agency are no longer off limits for trades. This unofficial start to trade deadline season is when NBA teams start making calls, and listening to key players that could acquired. Hot names available right now are Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans in New Orleans. There's been a lot of rumors out there that Dwight Howard is unhappy with the struggling Houston Rockets, and the Milwaukee Bucks might be looking to make some moves after their massively disappointing start.
So where does this leave the Hornets? Recent history has shown that Michael Jordan and Rich Cho are big fans of attempting to improve the roster right around the trade deadline in attempts to make that final push at the playoffs. In 2012, a small trade for Josh McRoberts added some life to a dull team thanks to his incredible passing, and his addition led to Charlotte gaining a key piece for their playoff run the next season. During that run, the then Bobcats made another small deadline trade to add for Gary Neal in order to add backcourt depth. While Neal wasn't an incredible player by any means it's hard to ignore that his 3-point shooting was very much necessary for a team that at the moment was lacking the ability to score from deep. Of course, Neal didn't stick around long as he was then shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves the next season for Mo Williams as the Hornets tried to save a disaster season. He provided a nice scoring touch off the bench, but in the end both sides knew it was a short term relationship with Williams leaving in free agency.
Now, after a total roster overhaul in the offseason, Charlotte finds themselves in a situation they weren't in during any of those previous trades. All of those teams were either bad, struggling, or had an obvious flaw that needed to be worked on. This year's group, while obviously not perfect, doesn't fall into any of those categories. They're a playoff team that currently sports a top five offense, and a top 10 defense. If there's areas the team needs to improve on they aren't going to be fixed with a simple midseason trade.
Which begs the question, will the Hornets even make a trade this season? Previous years say that they're definitely going to explore it, but this front office has never had a group that's played this well this late into the season. Would they be willing to risk trading anybody right now, and possibly ruin the good thing they have going? That seems unlikely. Past history has shown the Hornets aren't afraid to make changes, but they need a reason to make that change. Right now, Charlotte has no need to mix it up, and that just shows how far this team has come over the past few years.