Charlotte Hornets: Boosting trade value of veterans will be key in 2019-20

Charlotte Hornets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Going into a rebuild season, the Charlotte Hornets would be wise to showcase some of their veteran players to opposing teams as trade bait.

The Charlotte Hornets have a trio of veterans that have been with the team for the long run. They’ve been through ups and downs, but at the end of the day, all three players hold some sort of value around the league. Those three players are Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Two of those three players, Zeller and Kidd-Gilchrist, are coming off a disappointing 2018-19 campaign. When he was on the court, Zeller was productive and underrated, per usual. The problem was that he wasn’t on the floor very much, playing just 49 games due to injury.

Kidd-Gilchrist, meanwhile, saw his role plummet compared to previous seasons. He was even out of the rotation at times during the season, and because of that, he couldn’t really get into a rhythm. He’s always really good defensively, but he has always struggled on the offensive end. There’s been times where he just can’t throw a rock in the ocean.

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Williams had another good season for the Hornets, and has proven time and time again to be a reliable stretch four in this league. I’d say he and Zeller are both pretty underrated among casual fans.

Going into the 2019-20 season, I believe that the Hornets should prioritize getting not only the younger players minutes, but these three veterans as well. The trio could become valuable trade assets during the season, especially since two of the three (Williams and Kidd-Gilchrist) are on expiring deals.

If the Hornets can obtain a first round pick for any of these guys, then it would be a slam dunk. I don’t think MKG is worth a first rounder at the moment, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a playoff team dishes one out on Zeller or Williams in order to make a playoff push. All three have attributes that can help winning teams.

Since Charlotte will likely be rebuilding for the foreseeable future, stockpiling assets like draft picks is going to be important. Teams like Atlanta and Cleveland have done a great job over the past year collecting draft picks. Same goes for Boston a few years ago, and like the Pelicans and Thunder have done this summer.

The good thing for the Hornets is that they have more incoming picks than they do outgoing picks. If they can keep adding picks in the future, then they’ll be on the right track. Building through the draft is a long process, but in the end, it’s worth it.

Nicolas Batum and Bismack Biyombo are two other players that many fans would like to see traded. However, as most Hornets fans know, trading Batum’s bloated salary is going to be extremely tricky. He will likely play out the rest of his contract with Charlotte and become a free agent in 2021.

Using the stretch provision on Biyombo remains a possibility. His contract expires after this season, but it’s unlikely that the Hornets trade him.

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Time will tell if the Charlotte Hornets can acquire draft compensation in exchange for any of their veterans during the 2019-20 season. Losing long-tenured players like Zeller, Williams and MKG would be tough, but it would be the right thing to do as a rebuilding team.