After an eventful draft night, the Charlotte Hornets are now set to enter free agency. However, their plans have seemingly changed.
When the offseason began, most people believed that the Hornets would be big players in free agency. Specifically, the thought was that they would go after a center. Names like Richaun Holmes and Nerlens Noel became very popular amongst fans. Things have changed since the start of free agency, though.
On the night of the 2021 NBA Draft, the Hornets made not one, but two trades. First, they acquired Mason Plumlee and the 37th overall pick from the Pistons in exchange for the 57th overall pick. They then followed up that move by sending a heavily protected first-round pick to New York in exchange for the 19th overall pick, where they selected center Kai Jones.
Charlotte added two centers on draft night, and also drafted JT Thor, who could be classified as a four or a five. With the moves, they now have significantly less cap space to work with this summer, and also don’t have a huge need for a center anymore. Plumlee can act as their starter and safety net as they try to develop Jones, Thor, Vernon Carey Jr, and Nick Richards.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Hornets are not expected to go after centers in free agency anymore. Holmes is likely to return to the Kings, while Noel will probably end up back with the Knicks.
This doesn’t mean that Charlotte won’t be active in other areas of free agency, though. They could still stand to add a little bit more depth at the wing position. They still have decisions to make regarding Devonte’ Graham and Malik Monk as well. It should be a very interesting month of August for Charlotte.