- Former WNBA star Chasity Melvin has been named an assistant coach with the Greensboro Swarm, the Hornets’ G League affiliate, according to a Swarm press release. Melvin, who played 12 WNBA seasons, is the first female coach in franchise history. She was hired through the NBA Assistant Coaches Program.
When the Kings sign Troy Williams to a two-way contract after he clears waivers today, as is expected, they’ll become the 16th NBA team to fill all 17 of their available roster spots, with 15 players on standard contracts and two more on two-way pacts.
Still, that will leave nearly half of the league’s teams that will still have at least one opening on their rosters, either on the standard 15-man squad or in their two-way slots.
For many clubs, that decision is primarily financially motivated. Teams like the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder, Raptors, and Wizards all project to have pricey luxury tax bills at season’s end, so there’s no need for them to push those projected penalties higher by carrying an extra player they won’t use.
Other teams may simply prefer to preserve some roster flexibility rather than carrying a full 15-man squad. The Lakers, for instance, aren’t close to the tax line, but have an open roster spot for now. That could allow the team to make a trade or signing later to fortify its roster without costing anyone a job.
Listed below, with the help of our roster counts breakdown, are the teams that aren’t carrying full rosters.
Teams with an open 15-man roster spot:
- Charlotte Hornets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Miami Heat
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Toronto Raptors
- Washington Wizards
- Note: The Wizards have two open roster spots and will need to fill one of them by October 30.
Teams with an open two-way slot:
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Phoenix Suns
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Note: The Blazers have two open two-way slots.
- San Antonio Spurs
The Hornets are one of 10 teams set to enter the 2018/19 regular season with an open 15-man roster spot. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer relays, president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said on Monday morning that he hadn’t seen any players waived by another team that were serious candidates to help the club and fill that 15th spot.
While that could change based on the players who were cut later on Monday, it appears Charlotte is happy leaving an opening on its roster for now, saving some money and maximizing flexibility.
Here are a few more Hornets notes, courtesy of Kupchak (by way of Bonnell):
- Kupchak doesn’t expect the Hornets to be involved in any trades over the next several weeks. Of course, once rosters are set for the season, the league-wide trade market isn’t typically too active for a little while, but it’s still worth noting, given that Kupchak made several deals in the offseason.
- Asked about Kemba Walker‘s free agency in 2019, Kupchak reiterated in strong terms that the franchise would like to see its longtime point guard remain in Charlotte beyond this season. “Our hope is that Kemba ends his career in a Hornets uniform, and that’s the end of it,” he said.
- Given how many veterans remain on the Hornets’ roster, Kupchak believes vying for the playoffs is still a more realistic short-term path for the organization than blowing things up. “If you have a lot of veteran players, then you’re looking to make the playoffs,” he said.
- Kupchak views rim protection and rebounding as areas of relative concern for Charlotte, per Bonnell.
- While Kupchak was pleased with how good Miles Bridges looked in the preseason, he wants to keep expectations for the rookie forward in check, cautioning that there will be a “learning curve” for Bridges once the regular season begins.
- The Knicks are still trying to trade Courtney Lee, sources tell Lowe. While it’s not clear if they’ve made progress in any trade talks, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer notes that Lee has generated interest, adding that the Hornets discussed a trade for the veteran swingman at last season’s deadline.
- It’s a moot point now, but if LeBron James had committed to staying with the Cavaliers this summer, Cleveland would have sent the No. 8 pick in the draft to the Hornets as part of a trade package for Kemba Walker, according to Lowe.
The 2018/19 NBA regular season will get underway tomorrow, which means it’s time to get serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign. With the help of the lines from Bovada and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division, to have you weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.
Having already looked at the Atlantic, Central, Southwest, and Pacific divisions, we’re moving onto the Southeast today…
- 2017/18 record: 43-39
- Over/under for 2018/19: 45.5 wins
- Major offseason moves:
(Trade Rumors app users, click here for Wizards poll)
- 2017/18 record: 44-38
- Over/under for 2018/19: 43.5 wins
- Major offseason moves:
(Trade Rumors app users, click here for Heat poll)
- 2017/18 record: 36-46
- Over/under for 2018/19: 35.5 wins
- Major offseason moves:
(Trade Rumors app users, click here for Hornets poll)
- 2017/18 record: 25-57
- Over/under for 2018/19: 30.5 wins
- Major offseason moves:
(Trade Rumors app users, click here for Magic poll)
- 2017/18 record: 24-58
- Over/under for 2018/19: 23.5 wins
- Major offseason moves:
(Trade Rumors app users, click here for Hawks poll)
Previous voting results:
- Boston Celtics (59.5 wins): Over (53.63%)
- Toronto Raptors (55.5 wins): Over (56.95%)
- Philadelphia 76ers (54.5 wins): Under (51.19%)
- Brooklyn Nets (31.5 wins): Under (56.04%)
- New York Knicks (28.5 wins): Under (54.13%)
- Houston Rockets (56.5 wins): Over (69.33%)
- New Orleans Pelicans (45.5 wins): Under (53.4%)
- San Antonio Spurs (44.5 wins): Under (60%)
- Dallas Mavericks (34.5 wins): Over (55.16%)
- Memphis Grizzlies (34.5 wins): Under (60.87%)
- Indiana Pacers (47.5 wins): Over (62.04%)
- Milwaukee Bucks (47.5 wins): Over (73.7%)
- Detroit Pistons (38.5 wins): Over (56.36%)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (30.5 wins): Over (55.42%)
- Chicago Bulls (29.5 wins): Over (61.8%)
- Golden State Warriors (62.5 wins): Over (53.45%)
- Los Angeles Lakers (48.5 wins): Over (55.2%)
- Los Angeles Clippers (36.5 wins): Under (55.7%)
- Phoenix Suns (29.5 wins): Under (53.4%)
- Sacramento Kings (25.5 wins): Under (63.87%)
The Hornets set up their regular season roster today by completing a pair of transactions. According to a press release from the team, Charlotte has waived Zach Smith and converted Joe Chealey‘s Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way deal.
It’s good news for Chealey, who will stick with the Hornets after going undrafted out of the College of Charleston. The 6’4″ guard averaged 18.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 3.6 APG as a senior and led the program to the NCAA Tournament. Now, he’ll be one of Charlotte’s two-way players, alongside J.P. Macura.
As for Smith, the rookie forward is a candidate to play for the Greensboro Swarm, assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers on Monday.
The Hornets are now carrying 16 players, including 14 on standard contracts. If they don’t make any additional moves by Monday, they’ll enter the regular season with an open spot on their roster.
Barford, a 6’3″ guard out of Arkansas, went undrafted earlier this year. In his final college season, he averaged 17.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a .470/.431/.721 shooting line for the Razorbacks, earning First Team All-SEC honors.
Wilkins, meanwhile, had modest averages of 6.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.6 APG during his senior year at Virginia. However, the 6’8″ forward filled up the stat sheet with 1.4 BPG and 1.2 SPG, and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Wilkins is the stepson of NBA legend Dominique Wilkins.
Wilkins appeared briefly in one preseason game for Charlotte, while Barford didn’t play for the team in the preseason. Both youngsters are good candidates to join the Greensboro Swarm, the Hornets’ G League club, as affiliate players.
After today’s cuts, the Hornets have 17 players under contract, but at least one more roster move will be required before the season begins, since Charlotte has 16 players on standard deals and just one on a two-way contract. The Hornets could convert Joe Chealey or Zach Smith to a two-way deal to get to the regular season roster limit, if they so choose.
- As the Hornets look to bounce back from another disappointing season, Cody Zeller will be a key piece to the puzzle. As Rick Bonnell points out for The Charlotte Observer, the Hornets have struggled mightily without Zeller, posting a 35-59 record in the games he has missed over the past four years. Zeller provides stellar two-way play and experience at the center position, which is exactly what the Hornets will need this season.
- Marks also notes that several players will have a chance to become eligible for super-max contracts with their current clubs if they make All-NBA teams this season. That list includes Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Draymond Green (Warriors), Klay Thompson (Warriors), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), and Kemba Walker (Hornets). Additionally, Devin Booker‘s new extension with the Suns would start at 27.5% of the cap if he’s named to the All-NBA Third Team, 28.5% if he’s named to the Second Team, and 30% for First Team.
Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is in the NBA’s concussion protocol and will not play in the team’s preseason game on Tuesday, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. This is at least the second time in his career that Kidd-Gilchrist has suffered a concussion. He endured one during his rookie season in 2013. When Kidd-Gilchrist returns, his role will change, Bonnell notes. New coach James Borrego will play him primarily at power forward and he’ll likely be on the second unit.