NBA 2021 offseason review: Charlotte Hornets

Hoops Rumors breaks down the 2021 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting summer free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll assess each team’s offseason moves, look at what’s left to do before Opening Night, and look at what the 2021/22 season has in store for the 30 franchises. Today we focus on Charlotte hornets.

Designation of free agents:

Note: Offers in Annex 10 are not included here.

  • Kelly Oubre: Two years, $ 24.6 million. Second year partially guaranteed ($ 5M). Signed using cap room.
  • Ish smith: Two years, $ 9.225 million. Second year not guaranteed. Signed with the exception of the chamber.


  • Acquired project rights from Kai jones (No. 19 pick) of the Knicks in exchange for the 2022 Hornets’ first-round pick (top-18 protected).
  • Acquired feather mason and the rights projects JT Thor (Choice # 37) Pistons in exchange for draft rights to Balsa Koprivica (choice n ° 57).
  • Acquired Wesley iwundu (of the Pelicans), the 2022 Pelicans first-round pick (protected among the top 14), the draft rights of Tyler harvey (from Grizzlies) and cash ($ 2 million; from Pelicans) in a three-team trade in exchange for Devonte ‘Graham (signature and trade; to the pelicans).

Draft picks:

  • 1-11: James bouknight
    • Signing of a recruit-wide contract (four years, $ 19,151,216).
  • 1-19: Kai jones
    • Signing of a recruit-wide contract (four years, $ 13,421,215).
  • 2-37: JT Thor
    • Signing of a contract for $ 6.64 million over four years. Third year not guaranteed. Fourth year team option. Signed using cap room.
  • 2-56: Scottie Lewis
    • Signed to a two-way contract.

Draft and cache signatures:

Contract extensions:

  • Terry rozier: Four years, $ 96,258,694. Includes partial warranty in the fourth year. Starts in 2022/23.

Outgoing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Head coach trained James borregooptional for the 2021/22 season.
  • Hiring Norm Richardson as an assistant coach.

Salary ceiling situation:

  • I went under the cap, used their cap room, then used the room exception.
  • Wearing approx $ 116.9 million in salary.
  • $ 410,000 exception for room always available ($ 4.5 million used on Ish smith).

Persistent pre-season issues:

  • The Hornets have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and will need to trade in or release one to drop to 15 for the regular season.
  • Bridges miles is eligible for a rookie-wide contract extension through October 18.
  • Jalen mcdaniels is eligible for a Veteran’s contract extension until October 18.
  • Cody martin will be eligible for an all-season veteran contract extension.

The Hornets offseason:

A year ago, the Hornets made perhaps the most amazing splash of the NBA offseason signing a free-standing forward. Gordon hayward to a four-year, $ 120 million contract. Hayward had an eventful first season in Charlotte – he played well, but injuries (which also marred his time in Boston) limited him to 44 games and ruled him out of the Hornets’ game in May.

While the jury is still out on Hayward’s signing, the Hornets clinched gold in their other major move of the 2020 offseason, catching LaMelo ball with the No. 3 pick in the draft. Like Hayward, Ball missed some time due to injury, but he displayed star potential when in good health, demonstrating incredible playing skills and more reliable shooting than planned.

The Hornets ultimately lost that opener of the play-in and didn’t earn a playoff spot in the East, but Hayward and Ball’s play showed that the team has a few key elements for a playoff team – as long as they can stay healthy.

In the 2021 offseason, the Hornets again had the opportunity to open up some leeway, but chose not to take another huge swing in the free agent market. Instead, after starting the summer looking to add depth in the center and on the wing, Charlotte took a more conservative approach.

Rather than chasing a great free agent like Richaun holmes Where Nerlens Christmas, the Hornets accommodated a pay cut, taking feather mason des Pistons and moving up 20 places in the second round of the draft in the process. It was a big deal for the president of basketball operations Mitch kuptchak –Plumlee’s $ 9.25 million hat-trick is hardly onerous, given his consistent play on the field. And his contract won’t be a long-term burden even if his production drops this season, as it’s only partially guaranteed for 2022/23.

In the draft, the Hornets took advantage of James bouknight‘s slips out of the top 10, winning it with the No. 11 pick. Then when Kai jones Escaped from the lottery, the Hornets sent a future heavily protected first-round pick to New York to come back in the first round to select Jones at No.19.

Using the No.11 pick on Jones would have been a bit difficult, and drafting it to be the main center would have been overly optimistic. But having him later in the first round for a very reasonable price (the pick that the Hornets traded will be protected among the top 18 in 2022 and among the 16 protected in 2023 before becoming lottery protected in 2024) was good. thing, and having him come off the bench behind a veteran like Plumlee makes more sense for his development as a rookie.

After acquiring Plumlee and signing the second round JT Thor, the Hornets still had around $ 14 million in cap room and used that to perform a pair of moves – one that added value in the short term and one that was more focused on the long term.

Most of the Hornets’ remaining space was devoted to signing Kelly Oubre, a solid wing whose market did not develop as it had hoped. While Oubre may have considered signing an agreement of the order of those Evan Fournier and Tim hardaway obtained (four years, $ 73-75 million), he had to settle for a two-year $ 24.6 million commitment with only one fully guaranteed season.

Oubre has been inconsistent beyond the arc and is not an elite defender, so it wasn’t shocking that no team was willing to invest a lot of long-term money in him. Still, I expected him to get at least a few guaranteed years in the $ 15 million range, as he did in his last contract. That’s a favorable price for the Hornets, especially if Oubre can score three points at the pace he did in 2019/20 (35.2%). He will join a fairly strong wing group that includes young Bridges miles and PJ Washington, and should provide insurance if Hayward runs out of time again.

The Hornets used their last leeway to accommodate a minor pay cut, assuming Wesley iwunduPelicans contract. The acquisition was part of a signing and exchange agreement sending Devonte ‘Graham in New Orleans – Charlotte got a lottery-protected first-round pick in commerce and also received enough money from New Orleans to cover Iwundu’s modest salary.

The Hornets could have comfortably re-signed Graham themselves, but the emergence of Ball, Terry rozierstrong game, and Bouknight’s selection diminished the need to do so. Faced with the possibility of not having enough backcourt minutes for all the players who deserved them, the Hornets chose to leave Graham, recruiting a veteran at a lower cost. Ish smith to provide depth as Ball’s save to the point. Charlotte did well to land Graham with the No.34 pick in the 2018 draft – maybe the team can clinch gold again with the first round the Pelicans went to sign him.

The last big move of the offseason for Charlotte was a four-year, $ 96 million + extension for Rozier, who had the best year of his career in 2020/21. It’s possible that it could end up being an overpayment, but Rozier has been formidable as a goalscorer (19.3 PPG), shooter (0.396 3PT%), and playmaker (4.2 APG) since joining. joined the Hornets.

Given the weak free agent market in 2022, Charlotte would have faced stiff competition for the veteran goalie the next offseason if he kept her game strong for another year. With no other big long-term contracts on the books besides Hayward’s, the Hornets were in a good position to engage Rozier now without compromising too much on their future flexibility.

The next season of the Hornets:

After hitting a low in 2019/20, the Hornets appeared to be heading back in the right direction in 2020/21. This bodes well for the club’s chances of being back in the play-in mix in 21/22 and possibly even earning their first playoff spot since 2016.

Of course, it should be noted that the growth of a team is not always linear. Ball might find it hard to take another step forward after his impressive debut. Hayward could fight more injuries. Rozier’s production could drop a bit. Bouknight and Jones may not be ready to contribute right away.

Unlike a few years ago when the Hornets cap was loaded with big deals for people like Nicolas batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marvin williams, missing the playoffs would not be a disaster for this Charlotte team. There are enough strong building blocks in place to have confidence in the leadership of the organization, even though results on the ground are still up and down for another year. And if the Hornets manage to break through and come back to the playoffs, so much the better.

Salary Information Basketball initiates was used in the creation of this post.

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