Charlotte Hornets Mailbag – Volume I

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chris135 Chris Kroeger
Raised in the Charlotte area since the age of 7 and a diehard fan of...
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We’ll try to make this a weekly occurrence throughout the year, the Charlotte Hornets mailbag. Feel free to submit your questions throughout the week via Twitter. So, let’s fire it up:


Good question. Unfortunately, Rich Cho has kept the Hornet’s free agent wish-list as one of the best-kept secrets in the NBA. Cho and company have been under-the-radar in most of their moves throughout his tenure thus far. Lance Stephenson was linked to the Hornets last week, but it seems that would only be at the right price – probably closer to a short-term deal around $8 million per year with a team option in year three or four. If no Hayward or Stephenson, expect budget finds to maintain cap flexibility for a future trade or free agency in 2015.


Interesting question. Here’s the thing with any team that takes on Lin’s disastrous nearly $15 million contract, you’re guaranteed to get some massive future assets in return and his contract is expiring – meaning it’s possible you could move it again before the trade deadline. The Rockets own their future first round picks over the next few years and at least one of those picks would need to be sent back with Lin in any trade. That being said, the Hornets have approximately $20 million in cap space so that would leave only $5 million left for any other signings. It would solve the backup PG situation, but would only leave space for roughly one veteran player. The Hornets could make it work and it would certainly continue to add assets to this young core, but I’m not sure it makes the team better this season – which is a priority for this organization.


I do think it means more playing time for Zeller and Vonleh, but I do not believe the Hornets roll into this Fall with only those two on the roster. Names like Marvin Williams and Kris Humphries instantly pop into my head as veteran PF’s who can give you something while Zeller and Vonleh continue to develop. Neither would command a lot of money and/or long-term deals. Ideally, McRoberts would’ve resigned in Charlotte to buy the team a few years until transitioning to their young power forwards, but clearly the allure of potentially joining Wade, Bosh and LeBron in South Beach was too good to pass up for McBob.


We had Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders on PRIMETIME late last week. Kennedy said he heard more rumblings of potential trades for the Hornets than free agent signings. If the right deal came along at the right price, like Lance Stephenson on a three-year deal for $8 million per year and the third year being a team option for example, I think the Hornets would jump at it. That being said, a lot of teams have a lot of money to spend and the market is not a buyer-friendly one. Guys are being overpaid all across the league due to the massive amount of money available. Given the future assets and cap space, the Hornets have a lot of flexibility to swing a trade – both now and once the season starts. Don’t be shocked if this is how the team improves the roster.


While the Hairston situation isn’t pretty and is a blackeye for the Hornets right now, if Hairston does shape up and stay out of trouble, this will all be a blip on the radar in a few months. It’s not fair, but winning cures everything. Look at any athlete who’s made mistakes over the years. The moment they produce on the court or field, past transgressions are more or less forgotten. McRoberts going to South Beach won’t cause this team to miss the playoffs next year, but he was a glue guy and did a lot of little things for the Hornets. His loss also creates an urgent need to find a veteran PF to ensure Zeller and Vonleh don’t shoulder more of a load than they are ready for right now. McRoberts would’ve created serious depth on the Hornets next year, something we saw the Spurs use to their advantage as they won the NBA Finals this year.

Well, it was fun. Let’s do it again next week!

- Kroeger

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