Hornets

Is a Hornets’ Fire Sale Brewing?

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The Charlotte Hornets parted ways with Terry Rozier, lighting a fire sale that has undoubtedly piqued interest around the league.

The veteran guard headed to Miami to pair up with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro en route to another potentially deep playoff run. In return, the Hornets received Kyle Lowry and a lottery-protected 2027 first-round draft pick. This has cleared over $55 million in cap room for the Hornets this summer, the third-highest in the league.

I anticipate this money isn’t for free-agent purposes, but instead for an OKC Thunder-esque reset that will allow Charlotte to take on bad contracts from other teams in exchange for future draft assets.

According to Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak, their only untouchable pieces are All-Star LaMelo Ball and the second overall selection in the most recent draft; Brandon Miller.

In particular, Miles Bridges, Cody Martin, Kyle Lowry, Gordon Hayward, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington are in demand from other teams looking to make a playoff push.

So what’s next?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hornets “aren’t done” for the trade deadline, a time when they are typically quiet. We can likely anticipate further moves to sell the aforementioned talents.

But to where? Here’s a trade-deadline plan that allows Charlotte to continue stocking up on future assets.

Trade 1: P.J Washington and Cody Martin to Dallas.

Hornets Receive:

Mavericks Receive:

For the Mavs, they rid themselves of $55 million in bad contracts from players who don’t really play. They receive P.J. Washington, the perfect floor-spacing four, who will allow Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving to make the most of their isolation scoring abilities, as no one will be able to leave Washington to double either of those players. Washington also recently inked a fantastic value, long-term deal.

They also bring in Cody Martin to fill the gaping whole in their lineup; the wing position. They have no wings with strong defensive abilities. In Martin, they get a player who can guard the opponent’s best offensive player every night, and allow Doncic and Irving to focus their energy and attention on the offensive side of the ball. Martin brings a level of intensity and desire you can’t teach, and Mavs fans and front office alike will fall in love with his game.

The Hornets get a fantastic prospect in Olivier Maxence-Prosper. He projects as the ideal 3&D wing so highly coveted in todays game. They also add the all-important future draft assets, with second-round picks in 2025 and 2028 coming their way.

Trade 2: Bridges Heads Home

Hornets Receive:

Pistons Receive:

It is important to note that when Bridges signed the qualifying offer, part of that deal is a no-trade clause. If the Hornets are going to trade him, it has to be somewhere upon which he agrees.

It was just 18 months ago that numerous teams — including the Pistons — were reportedly prepared to offer Bridges a contract of around $30 million annually before assault allegations deterred teams from looking to sign him.

The Pistons, now arguably one of the worst American sports teams ever, are in desperate need of veteran leadership and elite talent to right the ship. This season, Bridges is averaging career highs in points, rebounds and three-pointers made per game. While he isn’t an elite shooter, he would instantly become one of the better floor spacers on the team, at 35.5% on six attempts per game.

It’s worth noting that the Pistons would also retain Bridges Bird rights in the deal, allowing them to offer him more money and years then any other team vying for his services in free agency.

The Hornets get their potential backup point guard of the future in Marcus Sasser. He brings innate intensity, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, and an elite sense of playmaking for his age.

They also receive a solid, reliable backup point guard in Monte Morris, who averages a solid ten points and four assists per game, on 39% from three.

Finally, they retain yet another valuable draft asset. While it may be a second-round pick, it is the best of either Washington or Memphis’ pick, which means it will almost definitely fall in the 31-33 range, effectively making it a first-round pick, or at least as close as you can get to it as possible.

Trade 3: Hayward Heads to Western Conference Contender

Hornets Receive:

Thunder Receive:

The Thunder are going to get very expensive, and fast. In two years, they are going to have to start paying their young core, many of whom will demand maximum deals. They don’t have long left under the cap, and they need to capitalize while they can by locking in elite talent. They are able to go over the cap to re-sign their own players, but not to sign other players, which leaves a window of just one offseason to set their permanent plan in motion.

This deal open up a max spot this offseason for the Thunder. They obviously have the assets to target a superstar with their plethora of first-round picks, but if they don’t do it this offseason, the deal will HAVE to include one of their foundational pieces. Should they make said move this offseason, though, they will be able to give up purely draft capital and retain their immense depth.

Don’t be fooled by the whole ‘Gordon Hayward for a first-round pick’ side of it. If you look at the details of the pick, it’s likely to fall in the late 20s. The Thunder also don’t need to worry about picks— they have 36 tradeable first and second-round picks right now.

For the Hornets, they add an elite shooter in Davis Bertans, helping them space the floor and further aid the development of LaMelo, Miller, Nick Smith Jr. and Mark Williams. They also receive another first-round pick, further bolstering their growing cabinet of future draft assets.

Trade 4: Richards Joins Pelicans

Hornets Receive:

  • Larry Nance Jr. (2yrs/$21M)
  • 2025 First-Round Pick (via Milwaukee, protected 5-30, becomes second-round picks in 2026 and 2027 if not conveyed.)

Pelicans Receive:

According to Jake Fischer, Nick Richards is a hot name on the market right now as a reserve big on a good value contract. One such team that may be interested in his services is New Orleans, who are currently either playing Cody Zeller as their backup big, or are experimenting with the 6’6″ Zion Williamson at the five.

Either way you cut it, neither are going to work in a playoff scenario, and the Pelicans will likely want to improve the situation given their current seeding (seventh). They also rid the large contract of Larry Nance Jr., which gives them nearly $30 million in cap space this off-season. They could tempt some veterans to join a young core of Williamson, Ingram, Murphy, Jones and Daniels. They could also target a star via trade when one inevitably becomes available, with nine tradeable first-round picks.

The Hornets take in Nance Jr., who could offer some veteran leadership. Most importantly, though is obviously the first rounder. The pick almost definitely won’t convey, but two second for the services of Richards is a deal the Hornets have to be interested in.

Trade 5: Lowry Joins Eastern Conference Competitor

Hornets Receive:

  • Marcus Morris Sr. (1yr/$17.1M)
  • Paul Reed (3yrs/$22.8M)
  • 2026 First-Round Pick (Worst of LAC, OKC, Houston, top-20 protected)

76ers Receive:

The 76ers would receive a veteran in Kyle Lowry, who brings plenty of all-important playoff experience as they look to make a deep playoff push. He brings a steady hand and mind in the intense moments, and can guide young guard Tyrese Maxey through the most tumultuous point of the season, particularly for young lead guards.

Most importantly, though, this deal opens up $101.9 million in cap space this offseason, which they can elect to use in free agency, or to target big-time names in the trade market. To put it into perspective, this would be the most cap space of any team this offseason.

If things blow up in their faces this post-season as they seemingly so often do, the 76ers can ramp up a full roster overhaul to capitalize on the impending primes of Maxey and Joel Embiid. They would have have five tradeable first-round picks and all the cap space in the world.

If things finally do right, the 76ers can bring back everyone and still have two max spots available to further build on their success.

The Hornets would take on the contract of Paul Reed and Marcus Morris, whilst receiving a first-round pick in the process. While the pick has next to no value and is closer to a second-round pick than anything, it is still technically a first-rounder. The Hornets should be thrilled to take one of those in for half a season of Lowry.

They would also receive somewhat promising backup big Reed, who can take the chance to shine in a bigger offensive role in Charlotte behind Mark Williams (with the departure of Richards).

About Nic Thomas

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