All is not well in Charlotte. The team is handcuffed to a core that isn’t yielding much success, they can’t stay healthy to achieve any semblance of consistency and the cost to finance the underwhelming production is about to get a lot more expensive thanks to the luxury tax.
Like many other NBA teams, the Hornets are on pace to fall above the luxury tax line. That’s a palatable burden if a team is in contention for postseason success but not so much when they’re 14-23 and well out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
If nothing changes in Charlotte, the Hornets could pay the luxury tax not only this year but next season as well. In fact, for 2018/19 they already have 10 players on guaranteed deals slated to make $116.4MM.
While the Hornets could theoretically make a push if all of a sudden they were blessed with good fortune in the health department but not even that would change the fact that many of their key rotational pieces are in or passed their prime.
Trading Walker, the team’s lone, true, ascendant star may seem counterintuitive but, as Bontemps writes, it would alleviate part of the team’s financial problems while also giving them a jump-start at a rebuild.
A hypothetical swap with the Knicks could potentially yield something along the lines of Frank Ntilikina, Joakim Noah and New York’s 2018 first-round pick. That’s a plausible package that could simultaneously bring two building blocks and save the team money.
In another scenario, Bontemps offers up the notion of packaging Walker with a costly veteran like Marvin Williams to help clear the books while still netting a building block or two.
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