#3 Nick Richards is used as a sweetener in a Charlotte Hornets trade
Both Mark Williams and Nick Richards enjoyed somewhat of a breakout year for the Charlotte Hornets this past season. However, it’s clear that Williams will likely be the starting big man of the future for the Hornets, with Richard’s being their primary bench big man.
Sure, Richards is currently the more polished player of the two, but he also boasts less upside than Williams, who flashed a more polished game, but he doesn’t appear to have the upside Williams does, especially when it comes to expanding his shooting profile. Add in Richards’ team control for the next three seasons courtesy of a $15 million extension, and suddenly he becomes a desirable asset in trade discussions.
Clearly, Richards isn’t going to be the centerpiece of a potential trade for the Hornets, but his presence in an offer could be the type of sweetener that sees Kupchak get a deal over the line. After all, who doesn’t want a young center with upside as a reliable role player on a team-friendly deal? Still, if you ask me, keeping Richards around, at least for this season, makes far more sense than packaging him a trade – unless you’re getting a genuine talent boost, of course.
#2 The Charlotte Hornets end the Gordon Hayward experiment
As he enters the final year of his $120 million deal, Gordon Hayward will be seen as a desirable trade chip for the Charlotte Hornets. When healthy, the former All-Star is a valuable veteran who can provide secondary ball-handling, solid perimeter defense and is capable of being a featured offensive piece on a team.
The problem is health has eluded the veteran over the past five or six years, at least consistent health. Hayward consistently misses between 20 and 30 games per season for one reason or another, which has limited his ability to generate a rhythm on the floor, and, thus, ensures we seldom see his full potential on display.
For the Hornets, who had hoped Hayward would be their star player – or second star after they drafted LaMelo, Hayward’s health has been a big blow. Yet, for a team that is looking to add some extra firepower, potentially off the bench, and is willing to absorb the final year of his deal to do so, Hayward could be seen as an ideal trade candidate.
Furthermore, cap space teams looking to take on a bad contract in return for some draft assets and young talent could also be interested in acquiring Hayward, especially if it means adding someone like Bouknight or Kai Jones along with some late first and early second-round draft picks.