Currently in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, the Charlotte Hornets are now in possession of the worst record in the NBA. Being just over a third of the way through the season, the outlook is starting to look dire.
However, when one door closes, another opens. The door that appears to have closed is the postseason, and the door that appears to have opened is that of a generational talent to pair alongside LaMelo Ball. Given that the Hornets are now tied for the best odds at landing the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, it may be time to embrace the tank.
Despite the outlook of tanking, it is actually a fairly legitimate way to build a team. In fact, former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie became notorious for it, coining the phrase “Trust the Process.” This led to the 76ers drafting Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the former an MVP-level player and the latter an All-Star level player. The development of Embiid propelled the 76ers into championship contention, and the same could happen for the Hornets.
For the Hornets to continue on this course and have the best odds at a top pick, some changes are required. This begs the question of who is “untouchable”, and who could find themselves on the trading block.
Which players are “untouchable” for the Charlotte Hornets?
The first player that needs to be covered is Terry Rozier. Rozier is far and away the most interesting player on the Hornets. His ability to make tough shots is second to none, and his chemistry with LaMelo Ball is a huge plus. His talents could fetch the Hornets a first-round pick from a contender. His relationship with Ball is very close, however. They have made it known that they are close friends off the court. For this reason, Terry Rozier is considered safe. Not only is he talented and on a good contract, but he helps ensure that Ball is happy in Charlotte.
The following players are considered safe for the same reason. They are all young players who have shown talent and upside. These players could fetch decent value on the trade market, but it is worth keeping them and seeing how they develop.
Which players are on the trading block for the Charlotte Hornets?
Players Who could be moved if the price is right:
Dennis Smith Jr.
Players firmly on the trading block:
Kelly Oubre Jr.