How proposed Jaylen-LaMelo swap could solve all of Hornets’ problems

Jaylen Brown, LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Jaylen Brown, LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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In a recent article for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor shared an idea that would see the Charlotte Hornets acquire Jaylen Brown from the Boston Celtics in return for sending out LaMelo Ball. Before you scoff too hard at the idea, there are some real reasons why this would make sense for the Hornets, especially if you believe that LaMelo will eventually look for a way out of the franchise.

"“If the Hornets plan on taking Henderson with the no. 2 pick, I’d hit them up to ask about LaMelo Ball,” O’Connor wrote. “He developed some bad habits under Steve Clifford last season. Maybe the Hornets would want to shuffle the deck and pay Brown, rather than pay LaMelo for an imperfect backcourt fit.”"

Jaylen Brown is coming off the best season of his career. A season that saw the Georgia native make his second All-Star team and get named to the All-NBA second team. In terms of on-court production, Brown flashed the upside of a primary offensive weapon, especially with his mid-range game and ability to bully his way to the rim on drives.

In 67 regular-season games, Brown averaged 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per contest while converting his shots at a 57.6% clip from two-point range and a 33.5% clip from deep. Those numbers came while he was the second option on a stacked Boston team, so it makes sense to believe he could produce even more if he were the guy. 

How this trade helps the Hornets

By moving on from LaMelo Ball, the Charlotte Hornets will be entering a full reset, allowing them the flexibility to approach the free agency period in any way they deem fit. Currently, the common consensus is that Mitch Kupchak needs to build a roster around LaMelo, which means young, high-upside talent that can develop with the team. Without the former top-3 draft pick on the roster, new possibilities arise.

Suddenly, keeping Terry Rozier for the remainder of his contract makes sense. Rozier and Brown have a history together, having spent the early part of their careers together in Boston, and could easily re-ignite that chemistry. There is also an argument to be made for allowing Gordon Hayward to run down his contract with the Hornets, as he also has a history of operating alongside Brown.

By letting Hayward see out the final year of his deal, the Hornets’ would instantly be seen as potential players in the 2024 free agency period. Should they make a push for the play-in tournament, with Brown producing another All-Star year, I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to entice another star to Charlotte to try and help propel the team into the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.

Furthermore, adding a talent such as Jaylen Brown would allow the Hornets to be aggressive during the upcoming free agency period, both in terms of trades and attempting to acquire some higher-end talent to try and become competitive ahead of next season.

Add in the fact that the Hornets could then look to replace LaMelo with Scoot Henderson, who would be cost-controlled for the next four years, and projects to be a high-upside ball-handler who can potentially become an elite scorer, and suddenly, it looks like you might be onto a winner.