The Hornets are in a precarious position financially considering that franchise owner Michael Jordan has said that he’s unwilling to dip into the luxury tax for anything less than a deep playoff contender. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer wonders if that could lead to a drastic cap-clearing move.
Charlotte is a shade below the tax line this season, but is already on the hook for about $118MM in 2018/19. That total, Bonnell notes, is for just 11 players. Unlike in years past, the salary cap and luxury tax threshold aren’t expected to rise considerably, so the fact that the Hornets would need to supplement their roster with extra bodies – including a lottery pick on the fixed rookie scale – could put them in a dangerous position.
The Hornets have six players slated to make $12MM or more next season, including Nicolas Batum and his $24MM price tag. While the team has time to find a solution, such conditions could potentially warrant a draconian quick fix, like dealing Jeremy Lamb and his $7.5MM deal for a future second-round pick.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- First-year big man Bam Adebayo has committed to studying game tape and his improvement on the defensive end reflects that, Shandel Richardson of The Sun Sentinel writes. “Bam, for such a young player, is becoming a technician with his discipline and technique and studying players,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’ll definitely be able to build on that.”
- It has been a disappointing season for Hornets guard Nicolas Batum and while health has played a significant role in that, there’s no denying that his lofty contract is more palatable when he’s bringing more to the table. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, with head coach Steve Clifford back on the sidelines and a clear commitment to getting the ball in his hands early, the swingman has raised his game.
- The Magic have had to adjust to life without Aaron Gordon lately. John Denton of the team’s official website writes that the forward has been troubled by a lingering hip flexor injury, forcing the rest of the team to adapt on offense.