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Your 2018 Hornets Trade Deadline Primer

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The trade deadline is at 3 o’clock pm EST. Here is what you need to know about who the Hornets could move, and who they could go after.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With the clock ticking on NBA teams to make a move before the trade deadline, the market is really starting to pick up. This is one of the most exciting times during the yearly.

There have been many moves around the NBA so far:

  • Blake Griffin to Detroit
  • Tyler Zeller to Milwaukee
  • Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans

and of course...

  • Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte

The Hornets move to acquire Hernangomez from the Knicks was an interesting one. Hernangomez, 23, reportedly asked for a trade from the New York Knicks because he was not receiving enough playing time. However, I am not sure if the Hornets will be able to give him any more playing time than he had in New York, since Charlotte has two centers and two power-forwards ahead of him in the rotation.

This could mean that the Hornets are going to make another move before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline. What will that move be? It’s very hard to know considering that the Hornets are very airtight when it comes to trade rumors.

Players that Charlotte could potentially trade away:

Kemba Walker

Walker, 27, is easily the Hornets most talented player. Michael Jordan also said that he would not trade Walker for anything other than another all-star, but would listen to opportunities. Rich Cho reiterated earlier this week that it is his job to listen to trade offers, and yesterday he stated they weren’t actively shopping him, but they would consider an offer if it was good enough. Bookmakers feel the same way. A Walker trade isn’t likely, but brace yourself for it just in case.

(UPDATE: 11:53 p.m. EST)

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicates that Cleveland is trying to advance talks on a deal for Walker, but have gained no traction:

Dwight Howard

This may come as a surprise to most, but Dwight Howard’s contract isn’t exactly the cheapest. He is due to make over $45 million over the next season and a half, so it is likely that Charlotte will at least explore options regarding Howard before tomorrow’s deadline. The Bucks and Cavs are potential suitors.

Marvin Williams

Perhaps the player teams would most likely be willing to take on, Williams has been a solid 3-point shooter and defender this season. He is due to make about $14 million each of the next three seasons. If a team gets desperate to fill the power-forward need before 3 p.m., Williams could be on his way out of Charlotte.

Frank Kaminsky

Though averaging over 10 points per game this season, Kaminsky might be moved. He has been an integral part of the Charlotte bench, but, he has been wildly inconsistent, and has not found a defensive rhythm yet in the NBA.

Cody Zeller

Charlotte Hornets fans love Cody, but with the recent acquisition of Hernangómez, the Hornets might move one of their big’s to create playing time for the young center. Zeller, who has been coming off of the bench this season, has been very good when he has actually played.

OK, but who are some of the players that the Hornets should look to acquire?

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart would be a delightful fit in Charlotte as the backup point-guard, and the Celtics are reportedly asking for a first-round pick in exchange for him. Smart is a defensive-minded player that can lead the offense. He averages 10 points, five assists, and four rebounds coming off of the bench for a Celtics team with an elite point-guard. The one question mark about trading for Smart would be re-signing him in the summer. Smart, a restricted free agent in the offseason, reportedly turned down the Celtics offer to re-sign him last offseason. If that is true, I am not so sure Michael Jordan would be willing to go into the luxury tax for a backup point-guard, though the fit would be really nice.

Emmanuel Mudiay

Recently, the Denver Nuggets made Mudiay available in trade discussions. Mudiay, though inconsistent for the Nuggets, has averaged 9 points, three assists, and two rebounds this season while shooting 40 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. Surely the price tag on Mudiay is not high compared to other players like Smart, for example. He is another player that the Hornets could develop into a solid backup point-guard, behind Kemba Walker.

(UPDATE: 2:05 p.m. EST)

Mudiay is on his way to New York as part of a three-team trade.

Taurean Prince

The Atlanta Hawks have apparently made everyone on their team except for John Collins available in trade discussions. Prince is one of those guys that goes under-the-radar due to his team being one of the worst in the NBA. Prince, 23, is currently averaging 12 points, two assists, and five rebounds in his second NBA season. Not to mention, he’s been no slouch on defense either. The Hornets do have a logjam on the wing though, so they would likely have to unload one of those guys (MCW, Lamb, MKG, Graham) to acquire Prince.

Jordan Clarkson

As the Lakers look to make a splash in free agency in either the 2018 or 2019 offseason, they are also looking to unload some contracts to make that possible. One of those guys that LA is looking to trade away is backup PG Jordan Clarkson, who is averaging 20 points, four assists, and four rebounds on a field goal percentage of 48% in his last nine games.

(UPDATE: 12:10 p.m. EST)

Clarkson is on his way to Cleveland along with Larry Nance Jr. for Isaiah Thomas, per Woj.

Any first round draft pick

Look, this season has not exactly gone according to plan. The Hornets are seven games back from .500 and have a 24 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. They are just inside the luxury tax threshold and are probably going to look to offload one of their major contracts, and if Charlotte is able to get a first-round pick out of it, they will consider it a “win”.

What would the dream trade deadline trade look like, though?

If I could make any deal for the Hornets without any limitations, I would send a first round pick that is so heavily protected that it turns into two second-round picks to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Marcus Smart. The impact that Smart could have on the Hornets could be instrumental to their future success if they re-sign him. He, once again, is a defensive ball-handler who can make plays. He also gives the Hornets another guy off the bench that can guard both opposing point guards and shooting guards. All in all, he is a perfect fit for Charlotte and what they could do in the future. I also would not mind Jordan Clarkson, who is quite the opposite of Marcus Smart. He is more of an offensive-minded PG who can create his own shot and lead the bench in scoring. I’m not sure what the Lakers would want from the Charlotte Hornets considering they want to create cap space, not take in large contracts.