The Charlotte Hornets have not gotten off to a good start this season, and there is a good chance they are not playing for anything relevant by the end of the season. With midseason moves all but certain, it is now time to wonder which members of the Hornets will still be in Charlotte the next time this team makes the postseason.
1. LaMelo Ball
This is a no-brainer. LaMelo Ball is the face of the franchise and has a five-year $205.9 million contract extension that kicks in following the 2023-24 season that should keep him on the roster through 2028-29.
A playoff appearance of some kind should come during the time that Ball is under contract with the Hornets. Whether that would be genuine playoff qualification or qualification via Play-In Tournament, one of these two avenues to make the postseason is certainly on the table as long as Ball is under contract.
Of course, some smoothing out of his game will be required to escape the basement of the Eastern Conference, but it is difficult to envision a scenario that results in this organization continuing to miss the playoffs with Ball under his current contract.