Proposed trade that sees Hornets’ add Lonzo Ball misses the mark

Lonzo and LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Lonzo and LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

In a May 11 article for Bleacher Report, Greg Swartz postulated the idea of the Charlotte Hornets acquiring Lonzo Ball (among others) in return for Gordon Hayward. The idea behind the trade is that the Chicago Bulls get another wing scorer to pair with DeMar DeRozan, and the Hornets add another Ball brother to keep LaMelo happy.

However, for me, the injury that Lonzo Ball is dealing with, and the limited offensive upside from the trade, misses the mark. Overall, the trade proposal looks like this:

Hornets get: Lonzo Ball, Dalen Terry, and Derrick Jones Jr.

Bulls get: Gordon Hayward.

The good aspects for the Charlotte Hornets

Overall, the Hornets would be getting three above-average defensive pieces in the deal, helping round out a rotation that struggled to get stops last season – ranking 20th in the NBA for defensive rating.

I can also kind of understand the logic of landing Lonzo. I get it, his injury issues are serious, and there’s no telling what type of player he will be once he returns to the floor. However, I would assume the logic here is that by pairing him with LaMelo, there would be instant chemistry and a brotherly rivalry that could potentially bring the best out of each of them.

"“Lonzo Ball is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2023-24 season following a third knee surgery,” Swartz reasoned in his article. “If this latest knee surgery is a success, a future backcourt featuring both Ball brothers could be a huge win for Charlotte, given the collective size, passing, and defensive abilities of both.”"

The argument here is that if there were going to be someone who could push Lonzo to get back to his best, it would be LaMelo. Just like Lonzo’s presence in Charlotte’s rotation would likely ensure LaMelo takes his own game to new heights. Unfortunately, this screams pipedream and has all the makings of a Disney feel-good movie rather than actually looking at things from a basketball standpoint.

The bad aspects for the Charlotte Hornets

The issue with this trade proposal is how the Hornets would likely be limited in the upcoming season – a year where they are looking to develop their talent and build some team chemistry. After all, with Lonzo likely sidelined for the entire season, they would be walking into 2023/24 shorthanded – which is exactly why moving on from Gordon Hayward is so tempting in the first place.

There’s also the question of how the trade would improve Charlotte’s offensive outlook. Last season the team ranked dead last in offensive rating, averaging just 108.4 points per 100 possessions. So adding subpar shooters in Jones Jr. and Dalen Terry doesn’t seem to make sense for what the Hornets need, especially when Hawyard is a reliable three-level threat when healthy.

As such, when you factor in Lonzo’s injury struggles, that uncertainty over what version of him you will be getting in the future, the limited offensive upside from the deal for the Hornets, and the fact that there will simply be better offers for Hayward in the coming months, I would steer well clear of this trade proposal.

Sure, the nostalgia factor behind pairing the Ball brothers together is fun and makes some sort of sense on paper, but in the grander scheme of things, this would be a waste of Hayward’s trade value from Charlotte’s side.  So, I would avoid this trade proposal if I were in Mitch Kupchak’s shoes; after all, there are reasons to be excited for the Hornets this summer, and potentially adding Lonzo Ball is not one of them.

Next. Ranking the 3 Hornets that are most likely to be traded this offseason. dark