Charlotte Hornets: Breaking Down a Potential Rozier Lakers Trade

Charlotte Hornets Terry Rozier. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Terry Rozier. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Entering the third month of quarantine, boredom levels for Charlotte Hornets fan sare at an all-time high. Perhaps drumming up a nice trade idea would ease their boredom.

This can cause a person to do irrational things, such as spending an hour and a half looking at potential trade scenarios on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. And that’s exactly what I did today. Doing this, I found a trade scenario between the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Lakers that I believe is mutually beneficial.

In this scenario, the Hornets would send Terry Rozier to L.A. and receive Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green from the Lakers. Let me reiterate this: there is no reason to speculate that this trade is in the works. I merely came up with this scenario by playing around with the Trade Machine.

This trade would cause Charlotte to lose its second-leading scorer in Rozier. However, I believe the positive repercussions of this trade would outweigh the negative in both the short and long term.

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In the short term, the Hornets would add depth and versatility without sacrificing much in production. Rozier is averaging 18 points per game this season, while Green and Kuzma are combining to average just under 20.

In Green, Charlotte would add a starting-caliber guard with championship pedigree. The 32-year-old three-and-D model won NBA championships in 2014 and 2019, and he would add a strong veteran presence to a young locker room.

Green would slide into the shooting guard role that Rozier had transitioned to. This would be an improvement defensively, and Green is a better career three-point shooter than Rozier.

Green is not nearly the offensive creator that Rozier is, but his contributions would fill a few of Charlotte’s voids.

In Kuzma, the Hornets would gain another strong, young prospect on a rookie deal. The 24-year-old forward would fit in nicely with the Hornets’ young core and would add much-needed depth to the small forward and power forward positions.

Kuzma is a 6’8 220-pound stretch forward who can create his own offense. The main drawback of Charlotte’s young forwards Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington is that neither is a strong shot creator.

Bridges has made some strides in this regard, but Kuzma’s game is more suited for the role. Though Kuzma has taken some steps back this year after a strong first two seasons, he would surely find success in Charlotte’s system.

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Kuzma has lost a significant number of minutes and touches to LeBron James and Anthony Davis this season. When he was a starter for the Lakers in his first two seasons, he was able to impress through being more of a focal point of the offense, much like he would be in Charlotte.

The Lakers would certainly also enjoy adding Rozier, as it would give them a viable point guard that they currently lack as well as a strong scoring option with James and Davis.

The long-term effects of this trade would benefit the Hornets as well. Green and Kuzma would each only be under contract through the 2020-21 season, giving Charlotte more cap flexibility.

The main priority for the 2021 offseason will be resigning Devonte’ Graham. Getting Rozier’s salary off the books will allow the team to resign Graham while maintaining significant cap space.

Kuzma will also be a restricted free agent, meaning Charlotte could match any potential contract he signs and bring him back, should they so choose.

The 2021 free-agent class has a chance to be one of the best ever, potentially being headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Blake Griffin, Rudy Gobert, and Victor Oladipo, among many more.

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Being able to add one or two of those players to a young core of Graham, Bridges, Washington, the Martin twins, the 2020 and 2021 draft picks, and potentially Kuzma could be exactly what the Charlotte Hornets need to become a championship contender.