Hornets Notes: Luxury Tax, Kemba, Lamb, Rookies

With more than $94MM in guaranteed salaries on their books for the 2019/20 season, without taking into account a potential maximum-salary contract ($32.7MM) for Kemba Walker, the Hornets look like a potential taxpayer for next year. However, speaking early Friday morning to reporters, including Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak made it sound as if being in the tax isn’t an option for the franchise.

“I would not anticipate that is something we would look to do,” Kupchak said of paying the tax. “There are ways to increase (the distance from the luxury-tax threshold). It’s important we address that as soon as possible. Everybody needs to get on and plan.”

As Bonnell observes, there are multiple paths the Hornets could take to stay out of the tax. They have a handful of highly-paid veterans on expiring contracts, so waiving-and-stretching a player like Bismack Biyombo ($17MM) could be one option. The team could also try trading someone like Marvin Williams ($15MM).

Of course, not re-signing key free agents like Walker and Jeremy Lamb is also a possibility, though I expect the team to do all it can to retain Kemba. Lamb may receive an offer in the neighborhood of $12MM per year from another club, Bonnell writes.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Re-signing Walker would have a domino effect on what the Hornets could do with the rest of their roster, Kupchak acknowledged (via Bonnell): “You’re talking about a substantial contract that goes out many years. When that happens, it creates some financial inflexibility that you have to deal with We have to be mindful of a Kemba contract, should we be lucky enough to re-sign him. There could be limitations (on other roster moves), absolutely.”
  • Kupchak recently indicated that the Hornets are probably unlikely to use their $7.8MM trade exception from last summer’s Dwight Howard trade due to tax concerns, tweets Bonnell. That exception expires on July 6.
  • The Hornets plan on having all three of the rookies they drafted on Thursday – PJ Washington, Cody Martin, and Jalen McDaniels – spend time in the G League in 2019/20, Kupchak said (per Bonnell).
  • In a column for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell explores how much added pressure the Lakers’ trade for Anthony Davis and interest in Kemba Walker will put on the Hornets.
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13 thoughts on “Hornets Notes: Luxury Tax, Kemba, Lamb, Rookies

  1. OCTraveler

    Lamb to the Lakers would be a very good move – puts him into a system with greater upside with Davis and gives the Lakers an affordable option for a player who shoots better, adds length and plays better defense than the players they just traded.

  2. kingcong95

    Cavs will take one of the player options and next year’s protected pick for JR Smith.

      • mcmillankmm

        Hornets won’t give up unprotected pick, but if they could do a lottery protected pick that would probably be worth it to them especially if it’s Biyombo

  3. the dude

    Literally every article: Mentions a player.

    Lakers fans: well, I think they would be a perfect fit for the Lakers….

  4. Z-A

    Love, Knight, and JR for Batum, William’s, Zeller and a 1st.

    Cavs get out of Love, Hornets cut JR, buyout Knight.

    Love is still viable and would go nice with Kemba, PJ, Monk, and Hernangomez.

    • x%sure

      Cavs don’t want to get out of Love (another Love pun with no effort required!) Terrible idea.

    • mcmillankmm

      Knight isn’t going to give up any $$…probably don’t need to include him or Williams in the trade…but also don’t think a 1st is needed either if they are giving Zeller and Batum for Love…that contract is an albatross

      • x%sure

        A first is not needed???? Two or three firsts would be needed. Nobody cares about the Charlotte overpays, probably not even the home crowd. They only care about Kemba so he will be overpaid too.

        But Kevin Love is the one propping the interest up in Cleveland. Cleveland’s Kemba, if you get that.
        IDK why Love keeps getting put into trade propositions. He doesn’t want out, and the FO is rich and isn’t going to move a top player that actually wants to be there. Probably no equivalent FA would take his place.

        JR Smith’s contract is worth a first on its own. Knight is stretchable esp with Garland aboard. Nevermind Batum & Williams… well Cody Z is something. The Cavs have several expirings that could save Charlotte money next year.

      • x%sure

        “albatross”. What has Love’s contract prevented the Cavs from doing? Sign another ticket-selling draw?

  5. goldenmisfit

    As a Lakers fan so happy this guy is no longer the general manager. Basically what he is going to try and do is convince Walker to take less money without guaranteeing him a championship caliber roster. Walker said he would take less money to win but that is not going to happen in Charlotte. In my opinion he is good as gone.

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