The free agency period officially opens today and 6 PM ET. The Charlotte Hornets will head into the summer armed with a Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception worth approximately $12.4 million. The 2023 free agent class isn’t stacked with elite talent, but it does have some valuable role players who could help improve the Hornets’ roster.
Charlotte’s list of team needs is rather long. Finding a legitimate movement shooter will sit high on Mitch Kupchak’s to-do list as the front office looks to add some additional perimeter-based firepower to a team that stuttered on the offensive end last season.
Perhaps a rotational big man could be what the Hornets are looking for, assuming they decide to leave James Nnaji in Europe. Or, adding a three-and-d wing to the rotation could be deemed a priority to deepen the Hornets’ bench.
Whichever direction Kupchak decides to take, the Hornets will be looking to add either a proven veteran or a high-upside young player who has failed to pop in his current situation. Here are three players the Hornets could look to acquire using their Mid-Level Exception this summer.
#1 The Hornets add perimeter scoring with Seth Curry
Seth Curry is an unrestricted free agent this summer, having played out the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Curry’s recently-expired deal saw him earning an average of $8 million per year. As a career 43.5% shooter from deep, Curry will have no shortage of options for his next stop in the NBA.
Yet, the Hornets would be wise to test the waters. As a team, the Hornets shot 33% from deep last season, ranking 29th in the NBA – only above the Houston Rockets. Factor in the team’s league-worst offensive rating, and it’s clear the offense needs some fresh talent. According to Cleaning The Glass, Curry was in the 100th percentile for long mid-range shot attempts last season, illustrating his confidence in attacking close-outs with one or two dribbles before flowing into a pull-up – he shot 51% of those long mid-range attempts.
However, it’s Curry’s ability to score off the catch or off movement that will ensure the Hornets show some legitimate interest. Fortunately for Charlotte, Curry would consider joining the franchise he grew up supporting and would look to follow in his father’s footsteps.
"“You always think about it,” Curry said during an interview with Sam Albuquerque of the Greenville News. “Growing up a Hornets fan, watching my dad play, you always think about one of us wearing that No. 30 Hornets jersey in the modern era. But like I always say, you never know in this league….”I’ve always loved the Hornets. If I wasn’t in the league that would be my favorite team… so we’ll see what happens”"
Curry has continued to excel as a rotational shooter over the past few years. If the Hornets do hold a genuine interest in acquiring the Carolina native, they will likely need to part with a significant chunk of their Mid-Level Exception. Adding Curry would instantly go some way to resolve one of Charlotte’s biggest offensive weaknesses, and that could be worth parting with somewhere in the region of 8-12 million dollars.