Charlotte Hornets: It’s Time to Blow it All Up and Tank

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) and guard Nicolas Batum (5) walk off the court after their loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Utah Jazz defeated the Charlotte Hornets 105-98. Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) and guard Nicolas Batum (5) walk off the court after their loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Utah Jazz defeated the Charlotte Hornets 105-98. Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

The Charlotte Hornets’ once promising season has completely fallen off the rails and the team should look to build for their future rather than win now.

After a strong start to the 2016-17 campaign, the Charlotte Hornets‘ season has taken a turn for the worst. Since December 31st, the team only has a 5-18 record after starting the year 18-14 with one of the top four records in the Eastern Conference. Now that we have hit the All-Star break, they currently sit in the 11th seed.

Even though the Hornets are only 2.5 games outside of the eighth seed, they should still look to cut their losses and blow the team up this season. It may sound crazy and/or harsh but it is Charlotte’s best bet to reload and prepare for not only next year but for years to come. Having a fire sale at the trade deadline isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the team.

Many fans won’t like it because of the high expectations that surrounded the Hornets at the start of the season but this is what it has come to. This does not mean that the 48-win season last year was not a fluke, merely that this season’s team wasn’t as good as the previous squad. With Charlotte’s poor form, uninspired play and lack of enthusiasm, it is clear that they need some sort of shakeup.

More from Swarm and Sting

There’s still hope that they can turn things around in the second half of the season and make it to the playoffs but with the losses piling up, that becomes less and less realistic. Sure, the team could look for a quick fix by bringing in a one-year rental or a 30-something-year-old but that wouldn’t help them in the long run. I’ve been a critic that Charlotte should have a win now mentality and just got for all they can this year but the consistent losing has withered that way of thinking.

The problem for the Hornets is that their roster isn’t loaded with talent and players that other teams around the league desperately want to acquire. In order to really get something good in return, they would need to move a player that they value pretty highly. NBA expert Keith Smith reiterated this sentiment. This would mean that they would have to probably part ways with the likes of Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and possibly even Nicolas Batum.

It might sound crazy but looking at Nic, he isn’t the secondary option that the team expected him to be. He is a good role player and can be a solid third option on just about any contender but Charlotte’s still looking for a player to pair with Kemba Walker and get him some much-needed scoring help. Cutting ties with Batum, who is still owed around $100 million over the next four years, might be a safe bet to not only save some money but open up cap space to try and get a star in the offseason to play alongside Kemba.

More from Hornets News

On the other hand, Marvin Williams has underperformed and has been underwhelming this season. Same goes for MKG who’s jump shot has not shown any improvement. Jeremy Lamb has already been on the trading block multiple times so it wouldn’t be surprising if he was moved.

With the current roster and salaries, Charlotte will be capped until 2019. That leaves them very little wiggle room to add talent and get better. Moving some of their big contracts would solve that problem and give them flexibility which is always a positive in the NBA for a middle of the pack team.

Also, if the Hornets do find a way to turn things around this season, what is the benefit of making the playoffs as the eighth seed? A first round exit and probably getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers is not a great reward. Charlotte’s best bet is to sell, tank and hope for a high selection in the lottery of a stacked top-10 of the 2017 draft. With loads of talented players at the top end of this year’s upcoming draft, the Hornets have a shot at getting a star for the future.

It is no secret that the Hornets have made some bad draft picks over the past decade or so. But even Zach Lowe believes that “Rich Cho and Chad Buchanan, the top dogs in the front office, are smart dudes who will nail a draft pick in the middle of the first round at some point in the next few years.” I mean, it’s not like they can miss on every single first round pick in the future? Right?

If the Hornets choose to blow up their current roster, they could get a few first round picks and/or young prospects in return for MKG, Marvin, Jeremy, and Nic. What the team plans to do as the February 23rd trade deadline draws closer is still unclear. Their future should become more understandable with the decisions that they make at the trade deadline this season.

Next: Hornets Gave up on Biyombo Too Early

This current Charlotte Hornets’ roster just isn’t good enough to reach the goals that were set before the season. Players have disappointed and many have not lived up to expectations. That is both on management and the players but the team’s best option for their long-term future and success is to blow up this squad and rebuild for the next few years.