Fischer has written about multiple NBA rumors in the past few weeks. He dropped the bomb that Bradley Beal could request a trade soon, as well as reporting on the trade market for some of the league’s most available players.
In the article, Fischer states that multiple teams are looking to trade out of the lottery in the hopes of acquiring win-now talent. The Hornets are one of those teams. The others are the Kings at nine, the Pelicans at 10, and the Pacers at 13.
Unfortunately for these teams, the market for a lottery pick is not very large at the moment. Fischer reports that “few veteran impact players are considered to be available at the moment,” according to various sources around the league.
While this may seem like a blessing in disguise to most Hornets fans, there is one team that has expressed interest in adding a lottery pick - the New York Knicks. In addition, the Utah Jazz are reportedly one of the only teams selling veteran players this offseason.
The Knicks are coming off of their most successful season in the last eight years. They will have the most cap space of any team this offseason, so most of the talent they hope to acquire could be added in free agency. At the same time, adding a lottery-level talent to the roster could strengthen their young core even more.
As for Utah, they are in a bit of a pickle. Mike Conley is a free agent this summer, and retaining him seems to be their number one priority. However, they have a serious lack of financial wiggle room. Trading players such as Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic could be necessary if they want to re-sign Conley.
If the Hornets are serious about trading their pick, or trading any of their picks in general, these two teams could be of interest. The Knicks could be interested in 11, while the Jazz may be willing to take on a couple of seconds in order to move off of one of their larger contracts.
Most Hornets fans have gotten attached to the idea of taking a rookie at pick 11. However, if the Hornets have the option to add proven NBA talent instead, it might be worth it. It all depends on who they receive in return.
The difficult part about trading the pick to New York is that they don’t have many assets to offer in return. Most of their core pieces are going to be free agents this summer. Realistically, the best, most realistic trade they could offer would be something along the lines of Mitchell Robinson and pick #21.
That may even be more than they are willing to trade. However, if that package were to become available, it would help solve the Hornet’s issues at the center position. There could even still be some solid players available at 21. Some mock drafts have players such as Jared Butler, Usman Garuba, and JT Thor are projected to be available at that spot in various mock drafts.
As for the Jazz, the trades they could offer are even less enticing. Pick 11 is far too valuable for anything they are willing to offer (unless they want to send Donovan Mitchell to Charlotte). However, if they truly just want to dump Royce O’Neale’s contract, the Hornets could offer them a couple of second-round picks. This would give them a backup wing to bring off the bench. O’Neale is a lights-out three-point shooter who would help out Charlotte on the defensive end as well.
The Hornets should keep tabs on both of these teams as the draft approaches. There could be some sneaky-good deals to be done at the draft if they play their cards right.