The Charlotte Hornets have a gargantuan task ahead of them. For the Hornets, they have so many needs to fulfill before the start of the season. They are the league’s perpetual weak team, but with a few moves in the off-season, they can start the road to getting out of that label. The moves they can make are by no means easy, but the need of the hour is change.
After losing Kemba Walker in 2019, the Hornets have struggled even more. Walker was easily one of the best players in franchise history. Owner Michael Jordan was an elite competitor on the court and must use that competitive drive to make his team one of the best in the league.
Here are a few moves that the Charlotte Hornets can make to improve the team ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season.
1. Trade up in the draft
The Hornets have the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. They could use that pick to secure a decent player to build around. But given the limited stars in this draft class, their best hope is to trade up with the Timberwolves to get the first overall draft pick.
And should they trade up, they should pick LaMelo Ball over Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman. This is primarily because Ball will help improve the team’s poor abilities to score on the fast break. A trade consisting of the third overall pick and Malik Monk should be enough to secure the first overall pick.
2. Trade for Russell Westbrook
This should only happen if they can’t/don’t trade up for the number one pick. Russell Westbrook appears to be done with the Houston Rockets. After a one year experiment putting Westbrook and Harden together failed, he looks set to depart from Houston. This past season, Westbrook’s trade value has fallen significantly. He has a huge contract that very few teams should take up. But the Hornets can afford to do that.
Westbrook would easily be the biggest start to play for the Hornets and bring excitement back to Charlotte. He is one of the most well-known players in the league, and could even attract future free agents to the franchise. Given his excellent relationship with owner Michael Jordan, this trade is a possibility. The Hornets need to work on making it a reality. They have good players such as Devonte Graham, Malik Monk, and Terry Rozier, whom they can trade along with some picks to bring Westbrook in.
3. Get a good center
Much like the draft class for 2020, the free-agent class for the year is nothing to write home about. But there is one player that the Hornets should try to get; Montrezl Harrell. Harrell would be a bit of a pipe dream, but he is perfect for them.
First, Harrell is from North Carolina, and one can never underestimate the power of playing at home. Second, he is an elite defender who would solve their rebounding problem. But this would only work if they don’t get Russell Westbrook because they can’t afford ‘Trez and ‘Brodie’ on their wages. With LaMelo Ball leading the offense and Harrell protecting the basket, it would push the Hornets up much higher.
If they choose to go with Wiseman (which is possible with their third overall pick), Russell Westbrook would make a lot more sense.
Long road ahead for Charlotte Hornets
Short of Michael Jordan sipping from the fountain of youth and putting on a Hornets jersey, there is nothing that the Hornets can do this off-season that would make them playoff contenders. They have too many areas to address. But a gradual process could see them reach that position over the next few years. And with the right moves this off-season, they can start that process.
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