HomeBasketball TodayBuzzing with Excitement: Hornets' Ultimate Trade Deadline Triumph in 2024!

Buzzing with Excitement: Hornets’ Ultimate Trade Deadline Triumph in 2024!

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The Hornets should look at taking back unwanted long-term salary at the deadline.

The NBA trade deadline is almost here. Teams have less than a week to make final alterations to their roster. Some will be looking to add reinforcements for a playoff push, while others could wave the white flag and accumulate extra draft picks with their season virtually over. One of the teams that should be selling at the trade deadline is the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte does not have the worst record in the NBA at 10-36, but does own the worst net rating (-11.8) in the league.

The Hornets have already begun to push the eject button on this season. A couple of weeks ago, they traded Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat for Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick. Charlotte is surely not done, with multiple veterans on the roster who contending teams could target leading up to February 8th. The ideal scenario? The Hornets move them for valuable draft assets at the trade deadline.

Hornets get first-round pick for Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry in a question mark jersey

Kyle Lowry has not played a game for Charlotte since arriving as salary ballast in the Rozier trade. He won’t play a game for the Hornets, who are holding the 37-year-old out with hopes of rerouting him by the trade deadline to increase the ultimate haul for Rozier. They should be able to get something for Lowrly.

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Realistically, Charlotte can hope for a couple of second-rounders in exchange for Lowry so a team can add him to the roster without having to win a bidding war on the buyout market. But the Hornets should also be looking to take on future salary from a team that wants to clear its books. If that happens, then they could use Lowry’s expiring contract as a means to add another first-round pick to their ledger.

It’s tough to pinpoint which team specifically would want to do that at this juncture, but trades of that nature have happened before. Charlotte has a golden opportunity to swing one with Lowry.

Charlotte gets first-round pick for Gordon Hayward

Hornets' Gordon Hayward with question marks above his head. Mavericks, Lakers, Thunder, 76ers and Pistons logos in the background

The Hornets also have a chance to work that kind of trade with Gordon Hayward. Also on an expiring contract, Charlotte could very well lose him for nothing in the summer to free agency, so might as well try to see if it can trade him for some value at the deadline.

Hayward is still an impact player when he is healthy; he’s averaging 16.3 points per-36 minutes on solid 46.8% from the field and 36.1% shooting from distance. The problem is that Hayward just hasn’t been able to avoid injuries in recent years. He is currently tending to a calf issue, just part of why he has played in only 25 of a possible 46 games this season. After playing 72 games in the 2018-19 season, Hayward has yet to play more than 52 games since.

While that is a problem, and could rear its ugly head again in the postseason, a contending team could simply just load manage Hayward until the playoffs arrive. Once they get close to the postseason, they could ramp up his minutes up and get him contributing.

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The price to acquire Hayward should not be too much. It will probably cost a couple of seconds for a contender to bring him in. But if a team wants to shed long-term salary and get a playoff contributor, Charlotte could potentially fetch a first back for Hayward. It may seem unlikely, but it is possible in a best-case scenario. With where the Hornets are as a franchise, it would behoove them to go that route before letting him go for nothing.

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