It won’t be long until the NBA offseason is upon us. Could the Charlotte Hornets add some firepower via free agency?
The NBA is on the verge of being back in full swing and although the Charlotte Hornets won’t be participating, it’s still a great feeling to have the sport return in some capacity after its long hiatus. For die-hard Hornets fans, though, news and speculation will be what sustains them until next season.
With the team expected to have about $28 million in cap space this coming offseason, they could look to save it for a rainy day, eg., the batch of 2021 free agents. Or, they could use it now and perhaps add a few pieces to a developing core of young up and comers.
Whichever route the team goes, one such scenario could be trying to lure in Danilo Gallinari, the soon-to-be 32-year-old sharpshooter from Italy. Gallinari has most recently spent time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he has helped lead the team to another winning season, despite the departure of their two superstars, Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
The notion of added shooting is always enticing, but is Gallinari the right fit for the Charlotte Hornets?
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This past season with OKC, the 6’10” forward scored 19.2 points a game and snagged 5.5 rebounds per contest while making 44% of his shots from the floor and 41% from behind the arc. That kind of offense would be a welcome addition to a Hornets team that scored the fewest amount of points in the NBA.
Is there anything other than money that could interest him, though? At this point in his career, the unrestricted free agent may want to join a winning team and by the looks of it, Charlotte won’t be that for a few more years.
Not to mention that he could stifle the development of the younger players, namely P.J. Washington, with whom Gallinari shares a position. He can play at the small forward spot and has throughout his career, but at his age, he’ll lack the mobility and speed on defense to keep up with most players at that position.
With very few stars on the roster and the team not known for being a glamorous destination, the Hornets might not even be on his radar. For them to be, his asking price would most assuredly be too high, especially since he made over $22 million this past season and will surely be looking for a salary upwards of that range.
If they could get him for the right price, however, it might be worth considering, as unlikely as that will be. A veteran presence capable of putting up anywhere from 16-20 points a night would be something most any team would covet.
The Miami Heat were very interested in the deadeye big-man earlier in the year and were prepared to trade for him and offer an extension, but the deal ultimately fell through. So, whether it’s the Heat or some other team, there is a high demand for a player of his skillset.
Like most speculatory signings, this is all a pipedream and probably won’t happen, but Gallinari would at least be of help for the immediate future. The Hornets are thinking long-term, though, and while it’s tempting to go after the Italian, Charlotte may be better off holding on to their money.
Will the rebuilding young team take a shot on the proven veteran talent? We’ll see in just a few short months. Until then, keep your eyes here for all the latest news on the Charlotte Hornets.