Ranking the Charlotte Hornets’ Top 5 Trade Assets

Steve Clifford, Charlotte Hornets Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Clifford, Charlotte Hornets Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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#4 James Bouknight could need a fresh start away from the Charlotte Hornets

James Bouknight, Charlotte Hornets.
James Bouknight, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

When the Charlotte Hornets drafted James Bouknight from the UCONN Huskies in 2021, they thought they were getting a fearless scorer who had the potential to put up points in bunches and take over games. To this point, though, things haven’t worked out as planned, as Bouknight has found the step-up to the NBA a difficult transition.

Just because Bouknight has struggled in his first two years doesn’t mean he won’t figure things out though. The question is, will he figure them out while with Charlotte? In two seasons, Bouknight has played in 65 games as he struggles to crack the rotation behind LaMelo, Rozier, and, this season, Dennis Smith Jr.

Of course, injuries have played their part in Bouknight’s slow start in the NBA and are a legitimate reason why he hasn’t seen the court more frequently. However, NBA front offices appear to love the notion of being the team that helped a guy figure things out in the league, so Bouknight is probably a reasonable trade asset due to his potential, status as a recent lottery pick, and team-controlled salary until 2025 (with the 2024-25 season being a team option.)

#4 The Charlotte Hornets could package some of their 2023 draft picks

Mitch Kupchak, Charlotte Hornets.
Mitch Kupchak, Charlotte Hornets. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Outside of owning the 2nd overall pick in the upcoming draft, the Charlotte Hornets also boast the 27th, 34th, 39th, and 42nd selections. If we’re being honest, it’s highly unlikely the front office keeps all of those draft picks, so it would make more sense if the team looked to package some of them into a trade.

The question then becomes, do the Hornets look to move up in the first round or add a proven talent from a team that’s looking to get younger? Either route will have its pros and cons, but both make sense from a team-building sample.

Personally, I would like to see Charlotte use some of their picks to get into the early 20s, where they can take a run at acquiring Michigan Wolverines’ wing Jett Howard, or maybe the Hornets add Bouknight into a potential deal to slide into the late lottery in order to acquire draft combine standout Amari Bailey.

Regardless of what Kupchak decides to do, having so many selections in the upcoming draft ensures the Hornets have multiple avenues to improving their current core of young talent.