The Charlotte Hornets are far from being a big market team, but their recent success may be enough to lure some big names aboard. Michael Jordan is looking to add more talent alongside Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker. The Hornets have been linked to many big rumors ever since the end of their season. Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Harrison Barnes, Lance Stephenson and Luol Deng have been associated with rumors mentioned by The Charlotte Observer and The Latin Post.
Rick Bonnell and Ben Weinrib of the Charlotte Observer reported that the Hornets will aggressively look to acquire a big-name player via trades and free agency.
Although signing Carmelo Anthony is a longshot, the Hornets are still expected to make a run at him. One advantage Charlotte has is the presence of Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand, which Anthony has been signed to for over a decade now.
Another superstar the Hornets (and 28 other teams) will pursue is Kevin Love, according to Rick Bonnell and Ben Weinrib of the Charlotte Observer.
“Making this sort of trade would be complicated because the Hornets would have to satisfy both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Love, since he’d have to sign an extension to justify the risk. But he’d be terrific as a complementary scorer to Al Jefferson and one of the NBA’s top rebounders. Love and Jefferson played together in Minnesota for two seasons from 2007-09. The duo averaged a combined 31.8 PPG, 19.8 RPG, and 1.9 blocks per game on 48.1 percent shooting.”
A trio of Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Kemba Walker will definitely make the East a much more competitive conference. The Hornets could offer assets such as the #9 and #24 overall picks of the 2014 Draft, along with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller. However, there are many other teams in the league with the potential to overstep Charlotte’s offer.
Harrison Barnes is also another target mentioned by The Charlotte Observer. His offense would be an upgrade at the small forward position for the Hornets, but many question his motor and upside. Assuming Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continues to develop his mid-range game, the Hornets should not replace him unless they get a drastic upgrade.
Last but not least, The Charlotte Observer thinks that the Hornets could successfully acquire both Lance Stephenson and Luol Deng during the free agency period. Lance Stephenson is currently averaging 14.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in the 2013-14 postseason. Luol Deng averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 points during the 2013-14 season. His game took a minor hit since being traded to the Cavaliers, but Deng is expected to play like his former self after a fresh start with the team of his liking.
Regardless of what the Charlotte Hornets do during the off-season, it is clear that their future is bright. However, they must add more talent alongside Big Al and Kemba Walker if they want to make some noise in the Eastern Conference.