5 Outside the box trades the Hornets should make to acquire dream targets

Dec 31, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) controls the ball against Ben Simmons (10)
Dec 31, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) controls the ball against Ben Simmons (10) / Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
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On Friday I wrote about five dream trade targets for the Charlotte Hornets ahead of the February 8th NBA trade deadline. Part of that article was focused on the fact that the Hornets are viewed as sellers in the trade market, but there are still certain types of players they should be targeting around the league.

That list of players should include young players whose teams may be ready to give up on them, but could theoretically break out in a new situation, and veteran players who have become distressed assets due to their contracts.

Acquiring the former type of players, young breakout candidates would be a good way to take low-risk fliers on guys with upside and potential. This is a savvy path for a rebuilding team to find hidden gems and even add players to a young core. This could end up being a star hiding in plain sight like Lauri Markkanen, or a promising role player type like Aaron Nesmith.

Both players were almost afterthoughts, as they were thrown into trades for more proven players, by teams that had essentially given up on them. The Cavaliers added Markkanen to a haul of draft picks to acquire Donovan Mitchell. And the Pacers nabbed Nesmith along with a first-round pick from the Celtics in exchange for Malcolm Brogdon.

A lot of the time, when a team is selling a star, or proven role player, the evaluation of the return is based on the draft pick equity. But teams that can also get back useful young players are winning on multiple levels. That’s what the Hornets should be aiming to achieve at this deadline.

The latter type of player, veteran distressed assets, is an avenue for the Hornets to get paid in assets, for essentially doing another team the favor of freeing up their salary cap sheets. Several teams are in tough roster-building and/or financial situations due to regrettable long-term contracts for players who aren’t living up to them.

But the Hornets can afford to take on these kinds of deals while they rebuild and don’t have to pay Brandon Miller (and potential future draft picks) for several years. A contract that might be crippling to another team is a shrug of the shoulders for Charlotte.

In the perfect scenario, the Hornets can get paid in draft picks and young players to take on these contracts, while also rehabbing the value of the players on “bad contracts”. 

I outlined 5 players who fit into one of these two categories; Ayo Dosunmu, Davion Mitchell, Bones Hyland, AJ Griffin, and Ben Simmons. The Hornets will have to get creative, and really think outside the box, but these are all players the Hornets could likely acquire, and possibly add them in deals combined with other assets. Here is a look at what a deal for those 5 players would look like.