While fellow At The Hive writer James Plowright covers different options for Charlotte Hornets at center, there are also other rotational issues to address. Center is by far the most important position to address, but there are still other ways for the Hornets to improve.
With LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Malik Monk, and Devonte’ Graham at the guard position, Charlotte is relatively set there. However, there is plenty of room to improve the team’s wing depth.
Gordon Hayward showed flashes of his All-Star self last season. Meanwhile, Miles Bridges took some huge steps towards earning 30+ minutes a night.
Despite this, players such as Cody and Caleb Martin struggled during their time on the floor. Both shot below 30% from deep on the season and still played over 15 MPG a night.
Both Monk and Graham will need to be re-signed this offseason, but other than that the Hornets have some open roster spots to work with. The Hornets are expected to have roughly $13.5 million in cap space (third-most in NBA).
A trade could be possible, but those ideas can be covered later on. There are plenty of free agents on the market for the Hornets to sign.
The real question is, does Mitch Kupchak target veterans or take a chance on younger players? Well, that’s yet to be seen, so might as well take a look at both options.
Georges Niang, James Ennis III, Wesley Matthews
All three of these players would be able to make an immediate impact in the Hornets rotations. It would vastly improve the team’s bench shooting.
Niang would certainly cost the most out of these three players. He is crucial to the brand of basketball the Jazz play and in all likelihood will be back in Utah next season.
However, if the Hornets offer a large enough contract ($8-$10 million), they could pry him away. Niang shot 42.5% from deep on 4.1 attempts per game last season.
Ennis is almost certainly going to leave Orlando this offseason. With the team going in a more youthful direction, they will most likely save the roster spot for a rookie or younger player.
The scrappy veteran would bring great intensity to Charlotte’s bench while also providing some solid shooting. Ennis shot 43.3% from deep last year on 2.5 attempts per game.
Lastly, Matthews would bring similar attributes as Ennis. He’s a decent defender that can shoot the ball well.
He suffered a down-year from three-point range last year (33.5%) but is a historically decent shooter. In a limited role off of Charlotte’s bench, Matthews would be solid.
Terence Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, Gary Trent Jr.
Each of these options would certainly be far more expensive than any veteran the Hornets bring on board. In addition, they are all restricted free agents, meaning the Hornets would have to make an offer their previous team is unwilling to match.
Davis would most likely be the cheapest of the three options. Since Sacramento’s backcourt is already crowded, they could part ways with Davis if he received a large enough offer.
The undrafted gem plays with amazing intensity and averaged 11.1 PPG in his 27 games with the Kings last season. He shot 43.9% from the field and 37.2% from three-point range.
The Lakers kept Horton-Tucker out of trade talks when trying to acquire Kyle Lowry, so his value is fairly high. That being said, LA is tight on money and might not be willing to pay up.
Horton-Tucker is not a great three-point shooter (28.2%) but possesses great potential to grow into a versatile wing and ball-handler. He averaged 9.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 2.8 APG last season.
Trent Jr. probably has the most upside out of this group. He exploded once he was traded to Toronto, and they will most likely match any offer he receives.
With that being said, it would be well worth it for the Hornets to give him an offer anyways. He averaged 15.3 PPG on 38.5% shooting from deep last season between his time with the Raptors and Trailblazers.
That’s it. Just one name in a category all his own. This could be the perfect fit for not only the Hornets organization, but for Robinson as well.
Picture this - Ball handles the ball in a pick-n-roll and draws a defender while driving to the rim. He kicks it out to the corner to none other than Duncan Robinson. Swish.
Robinson is only rivaled by Klay Thompson and Joe Harris as the best catch-and-shoot player in the entire league. Put him next to playmakers such as Ball and Gordon Hayward and the offense would be even more fun to watch than it was last season.
With all that in mind, it would cost a pretty penny to bring Robinson to Charlotte. With shooting being at a premium in this league, don’t be surprised if he receives offers upwards of $18-$20 million. That’s the cost of elite shooting in today’s NBA.