The 2024 NBA Trade Deadline Winner No One Talks About


Typically after the trade deadline, much of the focus shifts to teams that actively get better for the playoff race.

It’s always about the teams that received assets but not the teams that gave up the assets. This year we’ve heard how the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks got better. Those teams got better by getting pieces from the Charlotte Hornets, but you don’t see the Hornets being labeled much as winners of the trade deadline.

Despite the somewhat-positive grades they have received for the individual transactions. Why is that?

The most common response you will probably hear is, “the national media does not care about small market teams”. There may be some evidence to back that claim, but that’s not quite the reason. The most rational cause of this is that people don’t realize how much of a change the Charlotte-based franchise needed. Hornets fans could tell you that they were longing for a shakeup of any kind after years of running back the same roster but expecting different results.

To an extent, you could understand where the front office was coming from. Consecutive play-in berths for teams that had higher potential if they weren’t riddled by injuries to players such as LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward. However, you can see why the fans were upset because the stagnation of the team was obvious considering the skill sets of the players on the roster.

Now with new owners Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, roster change has finally come. It started off with trading Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat for a 37-year old Kyle Lowry and a 2027 lottery-protected pick that turns into a 2028 unprotected first-round pick if not conveyed. Rozier was seen as the most tradable asset the Hornets own. Terry was posting 46/36/85 shooting splits along with a career-high 6.6 assists per game.

That trade was seen as the start of a new era in Charlotte as the franchise usually does not make moves of that nature during the season, but it wasn’t enough. If you’ve been watching the team, you were hoping that trading the Youngstown, Ohio native was only the beginning. The expectation of this move would be that it allows Brandon Miller to be more involved. It also provides cap relief as Rozier had two years left on his deal.

Since this deal, Lowry has been bought out and will be off the books this offseason and Miller has averaged 21 points since the trade.

Fast forwarding to deadline day, rumors essentially surrounded the entire roster outside of an injured LaMelo and Mark Williams, and of course, Brandon Miller. The entire NBA trade deadline was not the action-packed day fans thought it would be; for the Hornets it was everything you could dream of. They were able to get rid of Hayward who has been hurt since December and get rid of PJ Washington, who ideally was a great fit for this team, but you could tell he was the odd man out despite having a 40-point performance earlier this season.

For Hayward, the Hornets received Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, Davis Bertans, a 2024 and 2025 second-round pick. For an NBA fan, of course the Thunder won this trade. They received a wing that — when healthy — makes the right basketball plays and knows how to play inside the group he is on the floor with. The Thunder needed some veteran leadership on the court as they are more than likely playoff bound as a higher seed.

At the other end of the deal, a 10-win team at the time received three players where none of them played over 30 games. In addition, two second-round picks that are pennies compared to the millions of picks it feels like the Thunder have. For Washington, the Hornets received Grant Williams, Seth Curry and a 2027 top-two protected first-round pick.

Why would Hornets fans be excited for this haul of players and assets? It surely can’t change anything for the team, right? Anyone who thought this would be wrong. Immediately, coach Steve Clifford gets probably the best bench unit he has had in his second tenure with the team. Most will see going from Bryce McGowens and JT Thor to Grant Williams and Seth Curry as an upgrade.

This just does not impact the X’s and O’s, but this impacts the culture!

Lack of culture is an ongoing issue for this franchise, from players acting out on social media to court cases. That can all change with the right players in place.

Now you have Seth Curry, a respected veteran around the league and his father Dell, a commentator for the team alongside the great Eric Collins. Add Grant Williams, who is Vice President for the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Vasilije Micic is a EuroLeague MVP and a two-time champion of that same league. Davis Bertans has been around some successful teams in San Antonio and Dallas. Not to mention Tre Mann, though 23, is one of the most poised players you will see in the younger generation of this league.

Without having touched on what those five players can do on the court, it’s obvious what impact these players can have on an organization that was not only in desperate need of change on the floor, but maybe even more so off the floor, and these players can bring that. Pair that with two NBA governors who are active within the fan base and with the ins and outs for the team, it’s a step in the right direction. Something that has been longed for in Charlotte.

The beloved Charlotte franchise is 3-1 since the deadline. Securing wins against an injured Grizzlies team and a five-games-above .500 Pacers team and you can tell that the energy is changing. Both games have been home games and you can see the crowd buzzing. Fans have always loved this franchise but felt as though the franchise has not reciprocated that love.

It’s safe to say all Hornets fans are willing to believe things really may be different this time.

About Darian Thomas

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