Charlotte Hornets Free Agency Review

Apr 8, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Washington Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons win 112-99. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Washington Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons win 112-99. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Charlotte Hornets have been active in free agency this offseason as they have come away with some sneaky good signings on team friendly deals.

Free agency for the Charlotte Hornets is coming to a close now and the talent pool is drying up. Teams will now be stuck with their main core for the season unless a trade is made. Trades after the first 2 weeks of free agency up until the season starts are not common so do not hold your breath for the Hornets to make one.

The roster that the team currently has, will likely be the final roster once the 2016-2017 NBA season beings. This was one of the most anticipated free agent classes in recent memory. Let us take a look at how free agency played out for the Hornets.

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Which Of Our Free Agents Did We Keep?

The Hornets started off free agency this year by resigning Nicolas Batum to a 5 year 120 million dollar deal. This was actually a very good signing for the Hornets for two reasons they got him for cheaper than he was worth on the market (especially after Kevin Durant‘s decision) and they kept a guy that takes some of the pressure off of Kemba Walker to create plays.

Batum is no doubt a special player and he is still pretty young. Letting him go to another team would have been a horrible decision but the Hornets made sure to sell him on staying. I give this move a A+.

After the Hornets signed Batum they turned their attention to Marvin Williams. They signed Williams to a 4 year 54.5 million dollar deal and he did end up taking less than what he was worth on the market. Though Williams is a solid player I have two problems with the signing and the first one is they added a third true power forward on the roster which takes away minutes for the younger guys.

The second problem I have with the signing is Williams is 30 years old which is not a big deal now but it will be in a few years when he is still on the roster. The age thing is not a huge deal but risky to say the least. Even with these two issues the signing itself was solid and reasonable. I give the signing a C+.

Which Of Our Free Agents Did We Let Walk?

Most analysts knew even before free agency that Jeremy Lin was going to leave the Hornets to find more money and a starting job. Lin found both with the Brooklyn Nets and most Hornets’ fans wish him the best of luck in his new journey. It hurt to lose Lin because he was capable of taking over games and capable of playing alongside Walker in certain situations. His departure will be felt this season.

Courtney Lee left the Hornets to sign with the New York Knicks. Lee was a stop-gap piece last season due to the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injury which sidelined MKG for the season. Fans will probably always remember the Lee three-point basket to essential seal the win in game 5 last season in the playoffs against the Miami Heat. He was a great defender and could knock down three-point shots which will be sorely missed.

One of the shocks for some people in terms of free agency for the Hornets this year was seeing Al Jefferson leave to go to the Indiana Pacers. Jefferson didn’t have a huge chance of coming back and in fact many knew he was gone it just didn’t really seem real until it was announced he was actually leaving. The Pacers are a great organization and Jefferson will fit right in. Jefferson leaving created a big hole at the center position.

Who Are The New Guys We Signed/Traded For?

The best signing for a new player the Hornets made was for an old BOBcat player. Ramon Sessions was a solid signing for the Hornets especially on a cheap 2 year 12.3 million dollar deal. Other players who averaged less than Sessions were getting deals for much more money so it is good the Hornets were able to sign him for a lot less. Sessions will fill the role that Lin had for the Hornets as a back up to Walker. Sessions is very good at getting to the basket but is not a reliable shooter from the three-point line. Though he does shoot a percentage from the three-point line similar to Lin. I give the signing a C.

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The trade for Marco Belinelli was essentially a trade to replace Courtney Lee. Belinelli shoots a worse percentage from the three-point line compared to Lee and plays terrible defense compared to Lee. Overall Belinelli is a big downgrade from Lee. We do not know if the trade for Belinelli has anymore moving pieces but it looks like it is just the 22nd pick for Belinelli which was not a good move if Belinelli doesn’t step his game up. I give the trade a D+.

Now for the worse move in free agency for the Hornets. The Hornets signed Roy Hibbert to a 1 year 5 million dollar deal. Hibbert used to be a great center for the Indiana Pacers but has fallen off big time lately. Even last year on a bad Los Angeles Lakers team he struggled to get minutes off the bench.

If Patrick Ewing could tap into whatever Hibbert has left in the tank then Hibbert could turn out to be a decent piece for the Hornets. However, even if he does have a great year the Hornets only signed him to a 1 year deal which means he is likely gone. If Hibbert continues playing terribly then the Hornets have a big hole at center that other teams will use to their advantage. I give the signing a D.

What It All Means

The Hornets kept two players they had on their roster last season who were free agents in Batum and Williams. They lost three players on their roster last season who were free agents in Jefferson, Lee, and Lin. The Hornets then added Belinelli, Hibbert, and Sessions to replace the free agents they lost. In my opinion the Hornets downgraded in terms of overall talent for each of the three players they lost in free agency. If MKG stays healthy then Belinelli doesn’t look so bad but if he gets hurt then it will become a huge hole on the team.

To the Hornets credit they tried to replace Lee with another vet but Belinelli is not the type of player Lee is. Hibbert is currently not as good as Jefferson is but it could change if Ewing can help him out. If Ewing gets Hibbert playing good then you can say bye to Ewing next offseason because it should earn him a head coaching job. Sessions was a solid addition in light of the Lin departure and most people in the sports world understand that.

Next: Roy Hibbert Will Flourish With Charlotte

I give the Hornets an overall grade of C- for the offseason and this will not change unless another trade is made. The Hornets seemed to take a small step backwards in terms of talent and did not seem to get better on paper. Many fans of the Hornets may not want to hear it but unless these players that were added turn it around we are looking at a team fighting to earn a playoff berth. It is quite possible that the Hornets miss the playoffs altogether. Either way it is still go Hornets!