Could the Charlotte Hornets look to shake things up by acquiring a recent NBA lottery pick? That is what is being proposed in a mock deal between Charlotte and the Golden State Warriors.
The hypothetical proposal has the Hornets acquiring the services of 2021 seventh-overall pick Jonathan Kuminga and veteran guard Gary Payton II from Golden State while sending P.J. Washington and a 2029 first-round pick swap. This is a deal where the focus is potential, which is why it could be enticing for a rebuilding organization in Charlotte.
"“Either way, Kuminga is worth the price. Hornets fans may also worry about his overlap with Miles Bridges. They shouldn’t. If Kuminga hits his ceiling, he’ll easily surpass Bridges. He could also join LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miler to form a big three that revitalizes this franchise. Should the Warriors give the Hornets that opportunity? “"
Kuminga has averaged 9.3 and 9.9 points, respectively in his first two NBA seasons but still has not carved out a role. The age of Kuminga (21) is a factor here, in addition to the Warriors being a contending team with established players up and down the roster. There is only so much playing time that can be allocated to a player like Kuminga while attempting to win a championship. Payton’s acquisition would help bolster Charlotte’s bench, as this is a unit that lacks quality depth.
The part that is difficult to come to terms with is parting ways with Washington. Charlotte clearly values his skillset despite his free agent saga lasting much longer than anyone would have liked. Washington appears to be a solid complementary player who can help raise the talent floor of Charlotte’s youthful foundation.
Even though Kuminga has plenty of potential, a deal based on it does not seem to necessarily align with how the Hornets want to presently operate. This is an organization under a new ownership group that believes that it can be better than last year’s disastrous campaign. Things would be different if they were a team looking to come out of a tanking process, but with LaMelo Ball on their roster, the front office should be looking to add proven talent rather than making moves rooted in potential.