The Charlotte Hornets elected to stand pat at the trade deadline for the second straight season.
Excluding the Terry Rozier/Kemba Walker sign-and-trade swap, the Hornets haven’t made a traditional trade since the flurry of moves that got Dwight Howard out of Charlotte in July of 2018.
It’s a disappointing deadline in a way—it’s always fun to have new players to root for, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure. It’s hard to make a mistake when you do nothing.
It would’ve been nice if the Hornets could’ve taken the Knicks place in the deal that ultimately sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers, but they might be hard-pressed to convince the Clippers that Marvin Williams is actually a better option. Other than that, there weren’t really any deals that looked like the Hornets could have fit in.
By standing pat, the Hornets preserve the roughly $50 million coming off the books this summer in the form of Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bismack Biyombo’s salaries. That’ll give the Hornets over $30 million in salary cap space to play with. They’ll want to do one of two things with that:
- Use that space to absorb salary for a team. The Grizzlies did this last year by taking Andre Iguodala’s salary off the Warriors’ hands so the Warriors had space for D’Angelo Russell. The Warriors gave the Grizzlies a first round pick for their help.
- Sign useful veterans to tradeable one-year contracts and try to flip those veterans to contenders at the deadline. The Knicks just did this with Marcus Morris and got a first round pick out of it. The free agent class of 2021 is going to be loaded. Having a bevy of expiring contracts in the buildup to that summer is a huge asset.
The Hornets will also be adding a top five-ish pick and another early second round selection in the 2020 draft to plug some of the holes this rebuilding roster has. Then we’ll start to get a clearer picture of this team’s long term direction.