Hornets Rumors: Latest on trade and buyout candidates

Jan 31, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) drives up the court
Jan 31, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) drives up the court / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is only four days away and the Hornets continue to be as involved in rumors as any team in the league. This was evidenced in NBA reporter Marc Stein’s Substack released on Sunday afternoon.

Stein reiterated that the Hornets are working to re-trade Kyle Lowry, rather than ultimately buying him out, and confirmed Orlando’s interest, saying they’ve “expressed exploratory interest”. Any trade involving Lowry, with the Magic or anyone else, would be excellent for the Hornets.

Gordon Hayward Check-in

The Substack article also included more sourcing on the Gordon Hayward situation, stating that even if Hayward isn’t traded, a buyout “should be regarded as unlikely in the extreme”. This tracks with previous reporting that Hayward didn’t want to give up his Bird Rights, which would happen if he agreed to a buyout.

Further on Hayward, Stein said that the Hornets may even consider re-signing him to a new contract in the offseason if he stays with the team. This would be fine, assuming the cost is nothing resembling his current contract.

For $12-$18 million a year or so, Hayward could be a solid veteran role player and leader in the short term, while possessing a very tradable contract for future moves. Hornets fans may not love the idea of re-upping Gordon, but the team has to pay somebody, and the lack of veteran presence has been on full display lately.

PJ Washington Check-in

The most intriguing new nugget from Stein was that the Clippers and Mavericks are both in on trading for PJ Washington. I had previously mentioned this as more of a speculative move that the Hornets should jump all over. Washington’s value may never be higher than it is now, and the team needs to cash in.

Stein notes that the Hornets want Josh Green, who is also a player I had written about as a potential target, although I was thinking that would be in a trade for Miles Bridges. Charlotte should definitely keep sniffing around at the market for Washington, ideally being able to pry a first-round pick away from a desperate bidder.

But young players from the Mavs like Josh Green, Jaden, Hardy, and Oliver-Maxence Prosper would be intriguing, as would Bones Hyland and Kobe Brown from the Clippers. Adding one of those young players, along with some draft capital, and salary filler (anyone think PJ Tucker could help the culture in Charlotte???) and this is starting to sound pretty good for the Hornets.

It’s good to hear the team involved in so many talks. This trade deadline is a huge opportunity for the franchise, and it sounds like the front office realizes that, and is doing everything they can to be active. The worst thing they can do is to let the moment pass by, so the fact that they are being so aggressive gives me hope.