The NBA offseason is moving along quickly and free agency has already arrived. Starting Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. teams can make their free agency deals official and bring in veteran players to add to their roster. After the events of the NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets are projected to have around $8.8 million to work with. This is significantly lower than the $20 million that we were expecting to have.
Bringing in Mason Plumlee will eat up about $8 million and the addition of another first-rounder in Kai Jones won’t come at a cheap price. Barring another trade, Charlotte has likely taken themselves out of the running for any of the big names they’ve been linked with entering free agency this year. That means no Richaun Holmes, Nerelens Noel, or Jarrett Allen if we could even pluck him away from Cleveland.
There has to be another move in the works unless Mitch Kupchak and staff are higher on Jones than most and think he can contribute big-time minutes right away. P.J. Washington could also be in contention to start at center this season, which is fine in a pinch, but that wouldn’t be an ideal situation if you were to ask me.
Right now Charlotte’s biggest needs are a starting center and depth on the wing. With the additions of Jones and Plumlee, the Hornets still don’t have that interior defensive presence that they’ve been calling out for. Even though this is one of Charlotte’s biggest needs it’s unlikely that they pursue a center in free agency this offseason They could bring in a guy on a veteran minimum deal.
On the wing, Charlotte could use a veteran “Three and D” player who can be a reliable shot maker and contribute on the defensive end. An underrated trait that the Hornets should be looking for is veteran leadership. This is a very young team and the Hornets will need a guy that these young players can look up to when the going get’s tough. Even though fan opinion of him is very poor, losing Bismack Biyombo will leave a massive hole in the leadership chain.
Charlotte will have to be smart with their wallet as they enter free agency and look to bring in some bargain deals that could potentially make a huge impact. Let’s take a look at three players who could be on that shortlist.