With the February 8th NBA trade deadline right around the corner, the Hornets have been heavily involved in rumors for several weeks, and have already pulled off one major trade, sending Terry Rozier to Miami.
But given the Hornets’ 10-35 record, and the clear rebuilding path of the franchise, pretty much every rumor about the team relates to them as sellers, and for good reason. Charlotte has every reason in the world to be selling right now. They should absolutely be trading anything and everything they can to acquire assets.
In these situations, people most often think of assets in the form of draft picks, and collecting picks should be the main goal for the Hornets. But if they are smart and prudent, there are other ways the team can acquire assets and there are players they should be looking to add.
I’m not saying the Hornets should be buyers at the deadline or anything like that. But there are players around the league who might be available and could help the team in one way or another.
Some are young players who haven’t popped for the team that drafted them or have gotten buried on a deep bench. Sometimes these players may just need a change of scenery and an opportunity to play more. Think of a guy like Lauri Markkanen for example.
The Jazz were blowing up their team, but in trading away Donovan Mitchell (mostly for draft picks) they targeted Markkanen as a young player they liked, and he has fit like a glove in Utah, turning into a star with an expanded role.
The other type of players the Hornets should target are distressed assets; guys that are likely seen as overpaid at this point in their careers, and are weighing their current teams down. The Hornets are currently in a position to take on bad contracts though.
They can get paid in assets to bail these teams out financially, and they may get a chance to revive the value of some of these players, either to help the team or to flip them for more assets down the road.
We’ve focused plenty on all the players the Hornets should be looking to trade away, but let’s take a look at 5 players they should actually be targeting at the trade deadline, and what it would cost to acquire them.