The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. The deal will send Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes to the Bucks in exchange for Miles Plumlee. A report by NBA analyst Marc Stein confirms that the principles of the trade have been agreed to and the teams are now just waiting on league approval. No draft picks are included in the deal, making it a simple player exchange between Charlotte and Milwaukee.
Miles Plumlee has played 32 games for the Bucks this season, averaging just 9.7 minutes a game. His per game averages are 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds, but it has all come in limited action on the floor. He is under contract at a rate of $12.5 million through the 2019-20 NBA season, meaning he could be with the Hornets for a while. It’s a hefty investment for the franchise, but prior NBA rumors had indicated that Charlotte was looking into acquiring Plumlee for a while now.
Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert have expiring contracts, indicating that this was a salary dump by Milwaukee. The players combine to make about $11 million this season before heading back to free agency. Hawes has appeared in 35 games this season, averaging 7.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Hornets. Hibbert has appeared in 42 games, averaging 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Their minutes will now be absorbed by a group of big men that includes Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller, and now Miles Plumlee.
The latest NBA standings have the Charlotte Hornets as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The team has a 23-27 record, putting them just half a game ahead of the Detroit Pistons (22-27) and one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (21-27) for the final playoff spot. It’s a bit of a coincidence that the Hornets and Bucks could be competing for the final playoff spot in the East. The winner gets a first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s not something any team wants to deal with in the postseason.
As for the Bucks’ end of this deal, it’s possible that the team could look to part with Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert before the NBA trade deadline on February 23. If another team begins offering a draft pick in order to add size in the low post, this could give the Bucks additional assets to work with. As Hawes and Hibbert are expected to leave in free agency anyway, getting anything back in return for the two centers could be seen as a “win” for the franchise. The team will now have money to play with as well, with Miles Plumlee off the books.
With the contract of Giannis Antetokounmpo going up to around $22.5 million next season, the Milwaukee Bucks needed to find a way to cut some salaries. Before dealing away Plumlee, the team had nearly $116 million in committed salaries for the 2017-18 NBA season. That ranks among the highest totals in the entire league, putting the front office at risk of paying a hefty luxury tax. The roster has failed to yield any real success as well, with players like Mirza Teletovic, John Henson, Khris Middleton, and Greg Monroe all making more than $10 million this year.
This is a deal that should help both teams, with the Hornets working to put more talent on the court in the short-term and the Bucks looking to shed some salaries and possibly move up the draft order. The Hornets will put Miles Plumlee to work almost immediately, while the Bucks could look into dealing Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert to collect more assets. This Charlotte Hornets trade also shows that the team is further committing to its current roster moving forward and that the team is making a concerted effort to secure a spot in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
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