2014-15 Charlotte Hornets Trade Value Power Rankings Part I


Welcome to the Charlotte Hornets Trade Value Power Rankings! Today, I will kick-off my Charlotte season preview package by counting down the best trade assets belonging to the Hornets. Before getting into the rankings, I will go over the basic schematics of why this ranking system exists, and what I hope you will get out of the rankings.

First, what is an asset? An asset is a player, draft pick, coach or anything that could be used to acquire another asset from another NBA team. For instance, Charlotte’s first round pick is an asset. The new Hornets colors are not an asset, but they are wonderful.

Jun 28, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rich Cho speaks to the media during the first round pick Cody Zeller introduction press conference at Time Warner Arena. Mandatory Credit: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports

Next, how should I think about this list? Think about it as if you are Rich Cho, Charlotte’s general manager. Let’s say Phoenix’s GM called you and offered Markieff Morris as a trade piece, who would you be willing trade in return? Would you rather part ways with Gerald Henderson or Cody Zeller, or a combination of other things?

Well it would depend on what exactly you were getting back. The Hornets made a couple trades this year during the draft. Miami wanted Shabazz Napier, Charlotte wanted P.J. Hairston, so we swapped late first round picks and got Miami’s 2019 second round pick also. That second round pick is now an asset, albeit not a very good one.

What I am attempting to do here is rank Charlotte’s assets in the order I believe Rich Cho would value them relative to the future of the franchise. For Josh Smith, the Detroit combo forward, I would consider trading a combination of Cody Zeller and Gerald Henderson, but not Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston. For Kevin Durant, I would trade anyone and everyone on this list. For a first round pick next year…well, it just depends. I’ve put the assets in a tiered system that gives a very general explanation of when I’d consider parting ways with them.

A couple round rules:

– Past performance matters just not as much as future potential.

– Money matters. Team options on a contract are more valuable than a player option because team options give more flexibility.

–  The only draft picks included are from 2015 and 2016 to keep things simple, plus the pick acquired this past season from Miami.

Note: The 2016 Second Round draft pick was traded to San Antonio for Theo Ratliff in 2010. This pick is Top-55 protected in 2016, so unless the Hornets finish in the top six, it’s heading to the Spurs.

Tier I: Make an offer, any offer!

20. Ben Gordon

Yes, I know Ben Gordon is no longer on the team, but if he were, he would be here. Gordon was the least valuable asset on the Bobcats last season since Gana Diop. I am incredulous about how Gordon swung his two-years, $9 million deal with the Magic.

Jan 22, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats guard Jannero Pargo (5) prepares to drive into the paint during the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 95-91. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

19. Jannero Pargo

Pargo was signed to the veterans minimum this offseason, amounting to a 1 year, $1,448,490 contract. With the likes of Ramon Sessions still out there in free agency, the Hornets basically had their choice for a third point guard. While Pargo is a nice veteran presence in the locker room, his talent and contract are easily expendable.

18. 2019 Second Round Draft Pick – Via the Miami Heat

Of all forms of currency in the NBA, second round picks are second to only straight cash as the least valuable asset in a team’s possession. Charlotte has only one of its recent second round picks on the current roster in Jeffrey Taylor, and he was taken 31st overall. Simply put, second round picks rarely develop into valuable long-term talent. If the Heat are terrible in 2019, this pick may be worthwhile, I guess. It’s more likely this asset is used to facilitate another trade in the future.

17. 2015 Second Round Draft Pick

See above. Players in the second round are developmental talent, and with a team as talented across the board as Charlotte, the future is more closely tied to acquiring veterans with playoff experience than college players. A pick in the mid-to-late second round is just not very valuable.

Tier II: We like these guys, but…

If any of the players in this tier are traded, it would likely be as an inclusion piece in a larger trade for immediate help.

16. Brian Roberts

Roberts was a productive back-up point guard last season in New Orleans, averaging 9.4 points and 3.3 assists per game while shooting an incredible 94% from the line. The Hornets signed Roberts to a very reasonable two-year deal worth a bit over $5.5 million total. Roberts is slotted this low in Tier II because of the depth of the current point guard market. He would only be traded if another point guard was returned in the deal, a-la the Sessions-for-Luke Ridnour swap last season.

15. Gary Neal

Apr 2, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Charlotte Bobcats guard Gary Neal (12) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Bobcats defeated the Sixers 123-93. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Neal shot over 40% from three as a Bobcat last season, and was a major player during the playoff push. However, with the addition of Lance Stephenson and P.J. Hairston, both larger and more physical players on the wing, Neal’s role on the roster becomes murky. He is not a great defender or playmaker, and needs the ball in his hands to be valuable. Neal was able to carry the second unit for stretches last season, but for the right price, I’m sure Charlotte would be willing to part ways with his expiring $3.25 million contract.

14. Bismack Biyombo

It is safe to say Bismack has not lived up to his potential as a 7th overall draft selection.  His abilities to alter shots and rebound efficiently are usable NBA skills. However, his utter lack of an offensive game is preventing Bismack from being a worthwhile rotation player. I’ve ranked Bismack in the middle of this group for a couple reasons. First, his defensive skills may intrigue some teams looking for another big man. Second, and most importantly, Bismack is on the final year of his rookie contract, making him an attractive add-on piece if the Hornets ever care to make a trade.

13. Jeffrey Taylor

Taylor was in the midst of a decent sophomore campaign when he blew out his Achilles last season. The Hornets have been high on Taylor’s athleticism and defense since drafting him out of Vanderbilt in 2012. Had Taylor stayed healthy last season, it would have been interesting to see the dynamic between Taylor and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist regarding playing time. Taylor will probably finish behind the others in this tier in terms of statistical value to the Hornets this season. However, Taylor is on the last year of his rookie contract and has a higher upside than the players behind him on this list.

12. Gerald Henderson

Apr 20, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson (9) against the Miami Heat during the second half in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 99-88. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Two things must be said about Gerald Henderson. First, he is a great pro and a true Hornets ambassador. He played on the 2009-10 Bobcats playoff team and has started at shooting guard for three consecutive seasons. By all accounts, he is a pro’s pro and seems willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Second, and this is the reason he appears so low on this list, he is the owner of the worst contract on the roster this season. When Henderson signed his 3 year, $18 million contract prior to last season, it seemed like a decent contract for a starting shooting guard on a mediocre team. Henderson wisely agreed to a player option for the final year of his contract, meaning he can choose to remain under contract or enter free agency. The $6 million per year is not so bad; it’s the player option that makes his contract so unappealing. I’m not sure if any team would accept Henderson in a trade unless they truly value his talent. And I’m not sure if any NBA teams right now truly value a shooting guard who can’t shoot.

Part II Coming Soon….

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