The Charlotte Hornets have made a roster move just ahead of Wednesday’s season-opening matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. Charlotte has agreed to terms with veteran guard and Charlotte native Ish Smith and will be waiving Edmond Sumner in a corresponding move, according to reports. This will be the 16th team for Smith since entering the league in 2010.
Sumner was in line to be a backup guard in Charlotte before the Hornets agreed to Tuesday’s deal with Smith. The former Pacers and Nets guard will now have to catch on with another team if he is going to continue his career.
Smith will solidify Charlotte’s roster and bring a much-needed veteran presence to a team that is pretty young outside a few players, a group that now includes Smith (Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier being the others). Having veterans on a roster that has 14 players 25 years old or younger will help guide them in a season that is supposed to see the team take a collective step forward this season.
This will be Smith’s second go-around in Charlotte, with his first stint coming during the 2021-22 season. Smith would average 4.5 points in 37 games (one start) during his first stint in a Hornets’ uniform. The Hornets would decide to trade Smith back to his previous team (Washington) in exchange for Montrezl Harrell. Vernon Carey Jr. also landed with the Wizards in the deal.
The 35-year-old veteran appeared in 43 games for the reigning NBA Champion Denver Nuggets last season, averaging 2.5 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 rebounds in 9.3 minutes of game action. This was less than his career averages of 7.3 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.4 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game in his career.
Should the Hornets struggle during the year, expect Smith, in addition to Hayward and Rozier, to be heavily discussed as possible trade options. The veteran presence of these three should help early on, but if they have a down year that most expect, moving the vets to clear minutes for their younger players is the right path to take.