On June 23, the Charlotte Hornets rebuilt their roster, selecting Brandon Miller as the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Now, Mitch Kupchak will need to continue making moves in order to give the Hornets a chance of making the postseason.
John Collins is a name that has often been floated as a potential trade target for the Hornets, as his floor spacing, rebounding, and interior scoring ability all project as key additions to the team’s offensive outlook. However, Collins currently earning an average of $25 million per season, which makes creating a compelling trade offer difficult.
Fortunately, the Atlanta Hawks continue to seem uninterested in keeping the multi-faceted forward on their roster as they look to give Quin Snyder a team that can challenge for a deep postseason run. As such, the Hornets could find themselves in a position to potentially acquire Collins this offseason if they’re willing to part with some of their talents in order to make it happen.
Here are three semi-reasonable trade packages that Charlotte could offer Atlanta.
#1 Hornets move on from Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward is the most logical trade chip for the Hornets. When healthy, Hayward is an All-Star level talent that provides three-level scoring, playing-making, and a reliable defensive presence on the perimeter. The problem is Hayward is seldom healthy, at least not for an entire season.
However, the Hornets could value Hayward’s ability to provide some ball-handling on the wing, along with his ability to drive the lane and pressure the rim. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray formed a legitimate partnership last season. The problem is that partnership became far too predictable for opposing defenses to shut down. Incorporating another scorer from the wing, who can also initiate the offense, would allow Young and Murray to create space with off-ball movement and provide some fluidity to Atlanta’s offense.
Last season, Hayward averaged 14.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 47.5% from the field and 32.5% from deep. Atlanta needs that type of wing production and veteran savvy. Furthermore, Hayward is entering the final year of his current contract so the Hawks would shed roughly $31.5 million from their cap sheet next summer.
The opportunity to have room to maneuver in the 2024 free agent market, plus the addition of two second-round picks, should be enough to entice the Hawks to the negotiating table – especially if they believe Hayward will stay healthy and up his game during a contract year.