With the trade deadline rapidly approaching in just a couple of weeks, the Hornets are quickly running out of time to point this team in any direction and have control in their own future. Charlotte has been extremely average this season, currently sitting at a 22-24 record and hold the 8th seed in the Eastern conference.
They’re no where near comfortable, fighting with a handful of teams for the last two spots in the East, and they aren’t doing themselves any favors. Charlotte is 4-6 in their last 10 games and are coming off receiving an absolute spanking from the Indiana Pacers.
The Hornets have been abysmal on the road with a record of 6-16 and have only won 4 of their 16 match-ups against western conference teams. They have also lost to all four of the teams sitting at the bottom of the eastern conference, games you simply have to win. Every other game they splash us with a solid win, and for a few hours we forget that we just lost what was supposed to be an easy conference match-up for a team with playoff ambitions.
I’m confident the front office isn’t exactly thrilled with how this season has played out and no matter what they say, i’m certain they’re currently in a scramble trying to bring talent to Charlotte to ensure they don’t lose their All-Star point guard. Kemba Walker is more than likely staying in Charlotte, unless things go really south in the next couple of months, which honestly, is very possible. Charlotte has to bring in talent to be able to secure the Hornets a playoff spot and keep Walker here for the foreseeable future. The future of the franchise is truly in his hands. Everyone knows this, so whats the problem?
Just about every team is a buyer this season and no one seems to be selling. Bradley Beal is probably the only All-Star caliber player with trade rumors circulating him that the Hornets would like to see in their uniform, and I personally have given that dream up. Injury prone Kevin Love is just chilling on Cleveland’s roster, but with his age, sizable contract and injury concern, I highly doubt Charlotte is going to take that risk. The same can be said about Memphis center, Marc Gasol.
Who can the Hornets realistically look at that would actually make them better? Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kent Bazemore are both good players on very bad teams and would probably be the Hornets best gamble. Both would be a solid starter on the Hornets but also at best are just the 3rd or 4th best player on an actual contending team. Hardaway Jr. is just 26 year old, which is appealing, while Bazemore will be 30 this summer.
Both also come with sizable contracts. But does that even matter to a team like Charlotte at this point? No matter what they do the Hornets will be in cap hell for the next couple of years. So why not do what it takes to move a bad contract for a player who will actually be more productive during that time period? The Knicks and Hawks are tanking anyways and one of those teams have very high hope that they can also reel in top free agents. I’m sure they will be willing to take bad, yet promising, players on iffy contracts, to ensure they end up with a top 3 pick. Or is that wishful thinking?
Either way, something needs to be done or the Hornets are about to find themselves in a very bad situation. The heart of all Charlotte fans want Walker to stay in Charlotte but if they can’t bring in any talent what does it even matter? Unless a young guy steps up or we somehow splash in the draft for once (ha) signing him to a super-max contract would essentially be conceding to the 8th-10th seed for the next 2-3 years, assuming we can’t pull up a miracle trade.
No one knows what the Hornets are about to do, but it’s either going to be very underwhelming or can change the direction of this franchise. However, we all know something needs to be done.