The lack of teams with cap space and a weak crop of free agent point guards could work to the Hornets’ advantage if they decide to trade Kemba Walker, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. That’s the assessment of ESPN’s Bobby Marks, a former executive with the Nets, who thinks Walker will reach his peak trade value this summer. Walker has one year left on his contract, and Marks states that teams would rather pick up a player in the offseason rather than close to the trade deadline.
Addressing trade rumors during the season, team owner Michael Jordan said he would only consider moving Walker if it meant getting an All-Star in return. Marks considers that unrealistic, saying a lottery pick is likely the best the Hornets can hope for. The franchise is near the tax threshold and would like to unload one of its expensive contracts in any Walker deal, but Marks says that will only happen if Walker’s new team gets assurances he will re-sign.
There’s more today from Charlotte:
- Hassan Whiteside would help the Hornets get younger at center, but his contract woudn’t make him a wise pickup, Bonnell cautions in a separate piece. Whiteside clashed with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra this season over reduced playing time, and there are indications out of Miami that the team would like to deal him. Charlotte has Dwight Howard signed for one more year at $23.8MM, while Whiteside is owed $25.4MM next season with a $27MM player option for 2019/20. Bonnell doubts the investment in Whiteside would be worth it, considering the NBA is trending away from traditional low-post centers.
- In another story, Bonnell analyzes the Hornets’ draft prospects and takes a look at new GM Mitch Kupchak’s drafting history. Bonnell identifies a top eight of DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr., Mo Bamba, Michael Porter, Wendell Carter and Trae Young, and states that anyone else has a reasonable chance of being available when Charlotte picks at No. 11.
- This year’s extended playoffs, which feature a seventh game in both conference finals for the first time since 1979, will provide the NBA with extra revenue that will affect next year’s salary cap, Bonnell tweets. That should raise the $101MM cap projection at least slightly and benefit cash-strapped teams like the Hornets, who already have $117.9MM in committed salary for next season.