Charlotte Hornets face difficult roster decisions ahead

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets future is murky and General Manager Mitch Kupchak faces difficult roster decisions ahead. Is it time to move Kemba Walker?

I woke up, had some strong coffee, and voted for Charlotte Hornets star Kemba Walker in the NBA All-Star game. That’s how I dealt with the recent Hornet’s home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

However, saying “loss” erases a lot of the context, it was more of a Mortal Kombat fatality type of a loss. Mavericks 122 to Hornets 84…yep, that’s 38 points. I could practically hear the video game’s signature “finish him” after the first quarter.

In the first twelve minutes, the Hornets allowed Dallas to hit 10 threes and score 42 points. The rest of the game was a formality, leaving three quarters to ponder the difficult roster decisions ahead.

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The loss, to a Dallas team who was 2-16 on the road, put the Hornets again under the .500 mark, where they’ve been treading water all year. Here’s the thing, though. Dallas, who as of right now has the same record as the Hornets, is pretty much out of the playoff hunt in the Western conference. They’re labeled as a rebuild. Meanwhile, Charlotte could hypothetically be the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference.

So, which roster is realistically closer to winning an NBA title? Which franchise is in a better situation? I mentioned this facetious question on Twitter and the Hornet’s fans that replied proved my point. The Mavericks, duh.

Some were borderline upset that I’d even initiate that debate. Several pointed out the two potential young stars, one which has an MVP type ceiling, as well as Dallas being an attractive place for free agents.

It’s true, they’re right. The Dallas organization has a core, established from solid draft picks in Dennis Smith Jr (9th overall in 2017), and most recently, Luka Doncic (3rd overall in 2018). They have solid coaching and signed DeAndre Jordan to mix with the young up-and-comers. Clearly, same record but with a drastically different trajectory.

Which leads to the heart of this Hornets situation, the point that I’m trying to prove, and the question all Charlotte basketball fans have: What should the Hornets do to put the franchise in a position to win a title?

(Braces for impact)

I’m gonna say it…

The Hornets might have to trade Kemba Walker. He is the only asset and must be leveraged as such. I know, it’s cold, but it’s also true.

Kemba should be an All-Star this year. He has been the face of the franchise, he’s the scoring leader. I get it. Break ups suck.

Worst case scenario, the Hornets back the money truck up to his front yard and Walker declines. Worth noting, the stubborn belief that signing Kemba Walker and then adding pieces around him has already been proven to be an average idea at best.

If the franchise decides to go all-in, cap space will vanish and the mediocre roster you see now will essentially be the insignificant team you see for years to come.

To win in the NBA, draft picks and/or cap space are the life blood and Charlotte needs both. So, if a team makes you an offer you can’t refuse, then please, General Manager Mitch Kupchak, don’t refuse.

Next. Charlotte Hornets ready to trade Frank Kaminsky. dark

Considering the Charlotte Hornets (1-7 vs Western Conference and 4-11 on the road) are on the verge of a six-game western road trip, it might be time to weigh all roster options. Even the difficult ones.