Veteran Wing Floated as ‘Under-the-Radar’ Hornets Target in Free Agency

Torrey Craig, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Torrey Craig, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

As the Charlotte Hornets enter the NBA Free Agency period, the fanbase will be keeping close tabs on how the front office looks to utilize their Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception. Currently, Charlotte’s MLE projects to be worth around $12.4 million.

According to Buzz Beat’s Richie Randall, who was writing in a June 29 edition of the Buzz Beat Plus Newsletter, an under-the-radar target for the Hornets could be Torrey Craig of the Phoenix Suns.

"“He is billed as a 3-and-D player, making most of his impact off the advantages of others,” Randall wrote. “Maybe that better translates to playing beside players on a playoff team, like the Suns, but he’d fit seamlessly into Steve Clifford’s Hornets. Clifford would fall in love with his tenacious defense and his ability to play within a role, knocking down threes as LaMelo and Mark Williams collapse the defense.”"

Craig, 32, played in 79 regular-season games for the Suns last season, averaging 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while shooting 45.6% from the field and 39.5% from deep. Craig is at his best when shooting off the catch, hitting 40% of his catch-and-shoot three’s this past season – per Basketball Index. Craig’s corner-three shot is a serious weapon (44.3% last season) that the Hornets could utilize on LaMelo Ball’s drive-and-dish actions.

Craig is a bloodhound on defense who looks to clamp up his opponent at every chance. Craig thrives as an isolation defender that can pressure the ball and force mistakes from his opponent. As Randall points out in his article, Craig projects to be the ideal addition to Steve Clifford’s roster due to his intense defensive style and how he would fit with the team’s current offensive and defensive system.

Over the past two seasons, Craig has earned $5 million per season. With some impressive performances and a game that translates to most teams’ style of play, Craig will likely be in-demand during the free agency period. However, if Charlotte can sell the 32-year-old on the project they’re building and how his skill set could be a vital cog in the team’s rotation, they could be able to poach a genuine difference-maker and still have some of their MLE left to spare. Whether or not Craig would be interested in joining the Hornets is a whole different question and one only he has the answer to.

Next. ‘Meh’ to ‘great’: Grading the 3 Hornets’ qualifying offers. dark