Charlotte Hornets

Pelicans Acquire Frank Jackson From Hornets

11:07pm: The trade is now official, according to the Hornets, who used their newly-acquired pick on Dwayne Bacon (Twitter link).

9:58pm: The Hornets drafted Duke guard Frank Jackson at No. 31 and will trade him to the Pelicans, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

Charlotte will receive pick No. 40 in return, along with cash. The selection they used to on Jackson was acquired from the Hawks in Tuesday’s Dwight Howard trade. The Hornets sent pick No. 41 to Atlanta in that deal, so they are essentially back where they started.

A 6’4″ combo guard, Jackson averaged 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game during his lone season at Duke.

Draft Rumors: Monk, Ntilikina, Hornets, Thunder

Malik Monk and Frank Ntilikina may be in “weird positions” tonight, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. As Ford explains, one of those two players is a good bet to land with the Knicks at No. 8. However, the player who isn’t picked by New York is a candidate to fall out of the top 10 and perhaps to the end of the lottery. In his final mock draft, Ford has Ntilikina going to the Knicks and Monk slipping to the Pistons at No. 12.

Here are a few more draft rumors and notes:

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post continues to hear that if he’s still on the board at No. 11, Donovan Mitchell appears likely to land with the Hornets (Twitter link).
  • There’s “growing chatter” that Frank Jackson has a first-round promise, and the Thunder may be that team that gave him that guarantee, tweets Royce Young of Young adds (via Twitter) that Oklahoma City may look to trade back a few spots in the first round in an effort to pick up a second-round selection.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 identifies Davon Reed and Semi Ojeleye as two players to watch for the Suns in the second round (Twitter link).

Five Key Offseason Questions: Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets continued to yo-yo back and forth under Steve Clifford‘s watch in 2016/17. Since Clifford took the reins as the team’s head coach four years ago, Charlotte has posted a pair of strong seasons, winning 43 games in Clifford’s first year and 48 in 2015/16. The Hornets have followed those impressive showings with disappointing ones, however, winning just 33 games in 2014/15 and 36 last season.

The franchise likely expects to rebound once again in 2017/18, having kicked off the offseason by acquiring eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard. While a bounce-back season is possible, there are several questions the Hornets will need to address this offseason in order to return to playoff contention. Let’s dive in…

1. Was Dwight Howard a worthwhile investment?NBA: Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks

In the wake of this week’s trade for Howard, Clifford expressed optimism about the veteran center’s ability to regain his All-Star form. Clifford was an assistant in Orlando and then in Los Angeles when Howard was in his prime with the Magic and Lakers, so he knows him as well as anyone.

Expecting Howard to become an All-Star again may be aiming a little too high, but it’s not as if the 31-year-old was ineffective for Atlanta last season. He comfortably averaged a double-double – as he has every year since entering the league – with 13.5 PPG and 12.7 RPG, and his .633 FG% was a career best.

The Hornets also didn’t give up much to acquire Howard and to move up 10 spots in the second round of the draft, parting with Miles Plumlee and his pricey contract, plus Marco Belinelli. Belinelli is a solid, affordable rotation piece for any team, but he only has one year left on his contract, so moving him isn’t a long-term blow for Charlotte.

While it remains to be seen whether Howard can move the needle at all for the Hornets, the price to land him wasn’t exorbitant by any means, so a roll of the dice makes sense.

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Eastern Notes: Howard, Hawks, Wade, Wizards

Tuesday’s trade between Atlanta and Charlotte, which sent Dwight Howard to the Hornets for an underwhelming package that included Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli, signaled to many that Howard’s value is at a low point. While that may be the case, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is confident that he can help Howard become an All-Star caliber player again, as Steve Reed of The Associated Press (via The Charlotte Observer) details.

“I know what he has to do to play well,” Clifford said of Howard, whom he coached as an assistant in Orlando and Los Angeles. “He understands that I know him. I know his game. Being around him in different settings I have a feel for what he likes to do… There is no reason he can’t get back to playing at a really high level.”

While we wait to see if Clifford can help Howard rebound after his stint in Atlanta ended with the big man complaining about his role, here are a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Howard trade between Atlanta and Charlotte will leave the Hawks with a modest trade exception. Atlanta’s new TPE will be worth $4,346,942, and will be the fourth – and largest – trade exception available to the team, as our list of TPEs shows.
  • Asked why he decided to exercise his player option to remain with the Bulls, a candid Dwyane Wade told David Aldridge of TNT that there were “24 million reasons” (Twitter link). Wade’s option will pay him $23.8MM next season.
  • The Wizards have reportedly expressed interest in Paul George, and John Wall is on board with the idea of acquiring the Pacers star. However, a trade for George is a long shot, since a sign-and-trade of Otto Porter would be tricky and the inclusion of Bradley Beal is, of course, a non-starter, writes J. Michael of

Hawks Trade Dwight Howard To Hornets

10:50pm: The trade is official, with the Hornets issuing a press release to formally announce it.

“We are excited to add a player of Dwight’s stature to our roster,” Hornets GM Rich Cho said in a statement. “He has been a very talented player, an elite rebounder and rim protector as well as a physical presence since the moment he entered the league. Howard’s best seasons came alongside Coach Steve Clifford and we believe their familiarity will make an immediate impact for the Hornets this upcoming season.”

8:04pm: The Hawks have agreed to a trade that will send Dwight Howard to the Hornets, reports Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link), Charlotte will receive Howard and the No. 31 pick in this year’s draft from Atlanta in exchange for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and the No. 41 pick.NBA: Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks

For Howard, who was a perennial All-NBA center earlier in his career, the Hornets will be his fifth team in the last seven years. Having left the Rockets for his hometown Hawks a year ago in free agency, Howard got off to a solid start in Atlanta, but by season’s end, he was frustrated with his diminishing role. For the season, Howard averaged 13.5 PPG and 12.7 RPG in 74 contests (all starts).

Howard’s move to Charlotte will set him up for a reunion with Hornets head coach Steve Clifford. Howard’s most successful and productive NBA seasons came when he was being coached by Clifford — the former assistant coach was on Orlando’s staff from 2007 to 2012, then joined the Lakers during Howard’s lone season in L.A.

Howard is set to earn guaranteed salaries of $23.5MM (2017/18) and $23.82MM (2018/19) over the next two seasons, so once again, the Hornets are showing a willingness to take on significant money. The team did that at the deadline, sending a pair of smaller expiring deals to Milwaukee in exchange for Plumlee.

Now, the Hornets will flip Plumlee and his $12.5MM annual salary, which looks relatively modest compared to Howard’s cap figure. Plumlee’s contract runs through the 2019/20 season, while Belinelli has one year left at $6.61MM. Although Charlotte adds a little money to its books, the team’s flexibility for this summer won’t be affected — the Hornets would have been an over-the-cap team either way.

As for the Hawks, Travis Schlenk‘s first major move as Atlanta’s general manager will see the team swap Howard for Plumlee, move down 10 spots in the second round, and add a three-point sharpshooter in Belinelli. The move will create a small amount of extra spending flexibility for the Hawks this summer, though it remains to be seen whether they’ll make a strong effort to re-sign their own free agents like Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr., or if they’ll use that room for other moves.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ford: Malik Monk Could Slip To Hornets At No. 11

  • Ford’s newest mock forecasts a potential fall out of the top 10 for Malik Monk. ESPN’s draft guru suggests that if Monk makes it past the Timberwolves and Knicks, he could slip to the Hornets at No. 11.


Draft Notes: Jackson, Bako, Collins

The Hornets worked out a handful of possible first-round draft picks Sunday, including familiar face Justin Jackson. Alongside video footage of Jackson following the workout, Diedra Laird of the Charlotte Observer writes that club additionally auditioned Bam Adebayo, Luke Kennard and more.

Jackson, a North Carolina product, is being forecast as the No. 19 overall pick in‘s latest mock draft. Duke product Kennard, on the other hand, has been projected as the No. 12 pick. Adebayo, out of Kentucky, is currently forecast to go No. 17 in that same mock.

Although the Hornets will pick earlier than any of those projections at No. 11, it’s reasonable that they could elect to take a flyer on a blue chip prospect that played their college basketball in state.

There are more pre-draft workout notes from around the league:

Adding A Point Guard Is A High Priority

The Hornets expect their lottery pick to jump right into the rotation, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. GM Rich Cho told Bonnell that the second unit needs more answers and the No. 11 overall pick should provide one of them. “One thing we feel like we were really lacking last year, where we took a step back, was the bench,” Cho said. “We need a backup point guard, we need another big, we could use another wing to do some more shooting.” A backup point behind Kemba Walker is a high priority and will be filled by the draft or free agency, Bonnell continues. The club holds a $6.27MM option on reserve guard Ramon Sessions but it’s uncertain whether they will exercise it, given that Sessions is coming off a subpar, injury-marred season, Bonnell continues. Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell would be a strong consideration if the Hornets decide to fill that need via the draft, Bonnell adds.

Pre-Draft Workouts: Hart, Smith Jr., Kennard, Adebayo

It’s that time of the summer, days until the NBA draft, when your favorite team is doing its due diligence and working out every prospect and his brother. Here is the latest in pre-draft workout news:

Southeast Notes: Millsap, White, Vasquez, NBA Draft

The Hawks are planning on using their 19th overall pick in the NBA Draft on the best player available and Paul Millsap‘s contract situation will not change that, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (links via Twitter).

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk told Vivlamore for a separate story that Millsap “might get better offers than we can make him.” Despite Atlanta’s desire to retain the four-time All-Star, the team is focused on assembling the best roster possible and worry about Millsap — or replacing him — afterward.

“You draft the best talent available regardless who is on your roster. … I think that’s when you get in trouble, when you draft off need not off talent,” Schlenk said. “Especially the way the league is going where guys are interchangeable and guys are multi-positional, you just take the best player.”

The Hawks went 43-39 last season, making the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, last year’s prized offseason acquisition Dwight Howard struggled in the postseason and expressed his issues with his lack of playing time; the team is also facing several potential departures in unrestricted free agency, such as Ersan Ilyasova, Kris Humphries and Mike Muscala. While those decisions will shape the 2017/18 Hawks, the club will look to attain the strongest asset in the NBA draft before worrying about anything else.

Below are notes from around the Southeast Division:

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