Spirits are high after a double digit win over the Detroit Pistons that put the Hornets a game over .500 once again. But this has been a constant theme throughout the season. This is already the seventh time that the Hornets have been just one game above .500. Each of the past six times, the Hornets lost their next game. With a tough game against the Celtics on Sunday, this streak may continue. The sad reality is that the Hornets may just be a .500 ball club at this point.
This means a move needs to be made if Charlotte wants any chance at being better than that. Kemba Walker is great, he’s been a top 20 player this year, but everyone knows that he needs help out there on the floor. So far it’s come from Jeremy Lamb, who is having the best season of his career. He has career highs in points per game and rebounds per game this season as the Hornets second option. However, he probably shouldn’t be anymore than a fourth or fifth option on a contending team. That’s the problem with the Hornets. The gap between Kemba and everyone else is ridiculous.We all know this already, so let me get back to the point. It’s time for the Hornets to make a trade.
Kemba is the best player in Hornets history so we’d all prefer for him not to be moved. There were rumblings for Bradley Beal but after the Wizards traded for Trevor Ariza, that seems unlikely. Even before this move, the Beal trade was a long shot because the assets we have aren’t amazing and Beal is the Wizards’ best player on a very good contract. Beal would be the perfect player to pair with Kemba and I truly believe it would propel us into contention for a top-five seed. If the Wizards do put Beal on the market, the Hornets should go all in on trying to get him. This may be controversial but I would consider putting both Monk and Bridges in the package. Obviously, we would want to hold onto Bridges but Beal would just be able to vault us into a different stratosphere in terms of contending.
Kevin Love is another possibility but I’m not sure how much better compared to the top five teams in the East that we would get. Love is a really good offensive player and would definitely improve our team but I’m not sure it would improve us to the point that we could compete for a top spot. Other smaller deals have been discussed – ones for Dewayne Dedmon and Tristian Thompson which would help us improve but again, it would probably just solidify our spot as the sixth best team in the conference.
After considering our trade options, trading Kemba doesn’t seem so bad. I’m still on the fence about it because I love Kemba and he literally is Charlotte Hornets basketball. However, if we sign him to a huge deal (which he would absolutely deserve), I don’t see the routes to improve the team a significant amount.
Basically, we’re looking at two options. We can keep Kemba and hope that we’re able to figure out some trade to improve. If we don’t make one, we’ll be stuck in the 6-8 seed spot and the rebuild will be pushed off to a couple years down the line. If you’re okay with that, that is fine. Kemba will win us a couple playoff games and it’ll be fun. There hasn’t been much success in the Hornets short history so this could be great for fans.
The other option is of course to trade Kemba and to begin the rebuild process. We would quite literally have the worst record in the league. We’d get a top pick and would build around Miles, Malik, and whatever assets we get from the trade. I can totally understand why fans wouldn’t want to do that because it sounds awful to watch and I don’t know if we can totally trust management to draft the correct players.
It’s a tough scenario. I’m still not sure what I would do. Hopefully, we can get some type of trade done that can bring some help to Kemba. For now, we can just watch Kemba go to work each night and hope we can get on a winning streak.