NBA

The final touch of the Charlotte Hornets roster league has places filled

ADVERTISEMENT

Whatever term you use, the Charlotte Hornets are the opposite of a roster crunch heading into the 2022-23 preseason.

The NBA allows teams to field up to 20 players (including Two-Ways) during the offseason, giving offices flexibility to scout players internally without worrying that it will push them past the league’s 15-player limit. regular season and forces them to cut. ties to another valuable player – teams will sometimes accept 15 or more guaranteed contracts and players will also fight for the final roster spot. As it stands, the Hornets have 14 players under contract (including Bryce McGowens’ Two-Way) for next season. Here’s a look at the league courtesy of CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith for some perspective.

ADVERTISEMENT

Besides the Hornets, the only team with six free spots has been mired in one of the league’s most important trade sagas of all time, and one of the two teams with five spots has been chasing Donovan Mitchell for a month. It’s safe to say the Nets and Knicks have had hectic summers and less time to focus on the back end of a roster than Charlotte, but the Hornets have faced unforeseen circumstances – through no fault of their own. – who halted the process and left with little depth as training camp approached.

Regardless of whether things went according to plan this summer, GM Mitch Kupchak and his staff have two open roster spots and an open two-way available to them. Scottie Lewis could return from a broken leg in July at some point this season and take the two-way, but that’s not a certainty. LaMelo Ball is the only true playmaker on the roster and the depth chart is littered with inexperience. If the organization’s goal is still to push for the playoffs, Something will happen before the opening of the camp. What could it be?

Perhaps the biggest reason the Hornets haven’t signed a free agent yet this summer is because Kemba Walker, who is reportedly interested in a reunion, wasn’t released by the Detroit Pistons after acquiring him. in an exchange. Chances are Kupchak and Co. are waiting for this situation while keeping Isaiah Thomas, who earned immediate respect in the locker room last season, close by as a literal and figurative backup plan.

There are still other veterans, like Eric Bledsoe or Dennis Schröder, but patiently waiting for Walker’s redemption and opting for familiarity with him and/or Thomas seems the most plausible. Honestly sign Kemba (if waived) and This is perhaps the easiest way to dig the vibes around this team out of the gutter.

Where Charlotte’s front office can be said to have dropped the ball this summer — and that aspect of roster building has little to do with high-end acquisitions — was using the camp d 10 piece training and contracts to bring 2022 undrafted leads into the building. Connecticut forward Isaiah Whaley, who hasn’t played a single second in the Summer League, was the only one to sign 10 play after the draft, meaning he’s the only player tipped to sign with the Greensboro Swarm for next season.

Brady Manek and Justin Minaya were signed to play in Las Vegas, but are currently unaffiliated with the Hornets and also play in the same position as Whaley. LJ Figueroa has performed well enough to spark NBA interest in the Summer League, but hasn’t signed a camp contract like Denzel Valentine with Boston or an E-10 like Tyson Etienne with Atlanta. For reference, the Hornets signed DJ Carton and Jalen Crutcher after the draft and retained Cameron McGriff and Xavier Sneed from the previous year in 2021, and they signed five undrafted prospects in 2020.

The Hornets can’t and shouldn’t mimic the moves of other front offices. Poor management of the end of the list and less commitment to unearthing potential gems is a trend that fans associate with the Rich Cho era, but not with the current regime. This summer might be an outlier due to the circumstances brought about by the alleged heinous behavior of a certain individual, but it would be unsettling to see a return to old habits in a market where finding spin players needle in the haystack is a prerequisite for success. And not to blow the front office spot or anything, but the 2022 draft was June 23, six days before any offseason plans were disrupted.

There’s still plenty of time for the 20-man roster to be filled before camp opens in mid-September, though the majority of coveted free agents and prospects are no longer available. Or maybe the course of the basketball universe is turned upside down and the Hornets go all-in for Donovan Mitchell and fill the roster with unexpected minimum signings. Who knows?

All of that isn’t to say the Hornets have tons of work to do before the season starts or that they need to switch franchises, though it’s certainly not out of the question given Mitchell’s rumors and the Russell Westbrook’s limited suitors. It’s not even the biggest problem – having LaMelo Ball answers a lot of questions right off the bat. However, they do possess the ability to tinker with the roster however they see fit with six open spots, the mid-tier non-taxpayer exception ($10.49 million), the semi-annual exception ($4.105 million), and a handful of negotiable contracts as tools to build a team capable of balancing postseason struggle with continued development, especially among the growing crop of greats. The organization’s posts over the past year and more don’t match the list they present at this time, so it’s fair to anticipate additions or moves, big or small.

Many league teams, except those engaged in trade talks, have signed a group of players to compete for NBA and G League spots in training camp next month. It’s not uncommon to have a few roster openers at this point, but six points to guaranteed contracts up for grabs as well as two-way, side, and E-10 deals. Charlotte’s starters and main rotation pieces may be nailed down, but there’s still some way to go before the team is ready to prepare for camp, unless the plan is to field a roster. incomplete this season.

ADVERTISEMENT