The Charlotte Hornets have announced they’ve waived Kobi Simmons, who played in five regular-season games for the franchise last season. Simmons was on a non-guaranteed contract, so the Hornets will not incur a cap hit for parting ways with the 26-year-old guard.
The move brings Charlotte’s roster back down to 15 players and in line with NBA roster rules. However, Mitch Kupchak and the front office still have some flexibility available to them. JT Thor’s deal is currently non-guaranteed for the upcoming season, while Frank Ntilikina is only partially guaranteed.
As such, Charlotte can still choose to cut one or both of Ntilikina and Thor if they choose to open up some roster space for a new addition — either via trade or free agency.
Outside of an active draft night, the Hornets have remained rather quiet throughout the summer, giving an indication that they’re banking on internal development and improved availability to be the main driving force toward regular-season success.
Nevertheless, both Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward remain valuable trade assets, and neither aligns with the team’s current development timeline. As such, creating some additional roster space now, without taking a cap hit, would be a smart decision.
Why did the Charlotte Hornets waive Kobi Simmons?
Kobi Simmons was the most logical contract to remove from the cap sheet. Nick Smith Jr. and Ntilikina both play the guard position, which pushed Simmons further down the pecking order and almost guaranteed he wouldn’t see any playing time for the Hornets next season.
Smith Jr.’s development will be key to Charlotte improving their bench, while Ntilikina will likely earn minutes due to Steve Clifford’s defense-first approach. If the Hornets decide to abstain from trading Rozier in the coming months, it will be interesting to see whether Ntilikina remains with the squad for the entire season or if he hits the waiver wire due to a lack of available minutes.
Charlotte had to make a decision on who to cut; Simmons was the most logical option. Yet, if the front office truly wants a shot at making a run at the playoffs, more moves need to be made sooner rather than later.