Grade the mock trade: Hornets flip Terry Rozier for 2 Lakers standouts

Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Terry Rozier’s position with the Charlotte Hornets remains debatable. Mitch Kupchak and the front office are planning to build the roster around LaMelo Ball. Finding young, talented players with genuine upside who fit LaMelo’s timeline will be integral for the Hornets to succeed during the LaMelo era.

As such, Rozier appears to be an odd man out. At 29 years old, Rozier is already outside of the Hornet’s timeline, and his four-year $96 million deal is seen as an intriguing trade chip. Having improved year-on-year since joining the Charlotte Hornets, Rozier’s stock around the NBA is high, primarily due to his scoring ability, both on and off the ball.

However, Rozier remains with the Hornets heading into the new season – despite multiple rumors linking him with a trade to a contending team such as the Los Angeles Lakers. Yet, with the NBA’s trade deadline not until February, there is always a chance we see the veteran guard heading for the exit before the end of the season.

According to James Piercey of NBA Analysis Network, the Lakers could still be in play for Rozier and could put together a package that would drastically improve Charlotte’s roster while also lessening the risk of losing Miles Bridges and/or P.J. Washington in free agency over the next 12 months.

Piercey’s trade proposal looks like this:

Charlotte Hornets get: Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt

Los Angeles Lakers get: Terry Rozier

"“This deal would have to wait until midseason,” Piercey reasoned. “As a matter of fact, most of these deals will. The Lakers extended most of their logical trade chips this summer. For example, they won’t be able to trade Rui Hachimura until close to the deadline. That’s fine – the Lakers might as well wait. If Hachimura can build on a stellar playoff performance in 2022-23, the Lakers may not want to move him. On the other hand, Hachimura hasn’t been on that level throughout most of his career. If he can’t stay on that trajectory, the Lakers could look to move him.”"

On paper, this trade makes a lot of sense for the Hornets, but does it move the needle enough for the Lakers to have genuine interest?

Let’s take a look at this proposed trade from each team’s angle before settling on a grade.

Does the proposed Hornets/Lakers trade make sense for LA?

Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

In his article, Piercey focused on the impact of Hachimura and why the Lakers may be tempted to retain him for the upcoming season. However, Vanderbilt was also an incredibly impactful player for the Purple and Gold during the postseason and became a big hit with both his teammates and the fanbase.

Losing one of Hachimura or Vanderbilt would be a big blow to the Lakers, especially mid-season – but trading away both of them in the same deal? It’s highly unlikely that Rob Pelinka would undo all the hard work he put in around the 2023 trade deadline. Even if the Lakers were willing to move on from their young forwards, Rozier’s fit with the roster isn’t the homerun it projected to be this time last year.

The Lakers recently inked D’Angelo Russell to a two-year $36 million deal. Rozier and Russell have similarities in their games which could make it difficult for the two to share the court together. Still, it’s worth noting that Russell’s deal has a player option for the 2024-25 season, whereas Rozier’s contract could run until the summer of 2026.

As such, Pelinka and the Lakers front office may view Rozier as a longer-term solution at the guard position and may be willing to part with some of their younger assets to bring him to Los Angeles.