The Charlotte Hornets made the second move of NBA trade deadline week, acquiring veteran shooting guard Courtney Lee in a three-team trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical.
Charlotte sent P.J. Hairston, a 2018 second round pick and Brooklyn’s 2019 second round selection that the Hornets owned to Memphis. The Hornets also jettisoned Brian Roberts to Miami as part of the deal. The Grizzlies also received Chris Anderson along with two second round selections from the Heat — a 2017 top-40 protected or their 2018 second rounder (unprotected) and Boston’s 2019 selection that is top-50 protected that Miami owned.
Lee is the ideal 3-and-D role player and appears to be a good fit with the Hornets as they have emphasized the three-point shot this year. Charlotte has taken 34 percent of its shots from beyond the arc and are making 35.3 percent of those shots (10.4 -for-29.4). The Hornets rank third in the league in three-point attempts and makes though they are just 15th in three-point percentage.
Lee has been an inconsistent scorer this season. He has increased his scoring in each of his three months of the season though he has struggled through the first five games in February. The 30-year old is averaging 10.0 points this season, but only 6.6 points this month as he has only reached double-figures twice and is shooting 43.8 percent from the field. Lee is shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 37.0 percent from beyond the arc – he is a 38.3 percent shooter from long range for his career.
Lee is also good wing defender as he contests every shot. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist officially out for the season as he needs surgery to repair a torn labrum, Nicolas Batum will be required to guard their opposition’s small forward due to his size with Lee manning up on the opposition shooting guards, according to ESPN Insider.
Hairston has been a complete disappoint since being selected in the first round by the Heat in 2014. Hairston, known as a scorer and three-point shooter during his tenure in the D-League and at North Carolina, has struggled with his decision-making. He is currently averaging 6.0 points and shooting 35.9 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc in 48 games. The 23-year old had a minus- 2.6 plus/minus rating this season and is awful defensively.
In the meanwhile, Miami finally rid itself of some salary by dumping Anderson. Anderson, who is making $5 million this season, has registered just 36 minutes in seven appearances. The 37-year old could find more time with the Grizzlies with Marc Gasol out four-to-six months with a foot injury.
So who won the trade?
Lee isn’t an impact player but is a good get for the Hornets, who are aiming to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season and third time in the last six years. Charlotte (27-26) has won three in a row and is 7-3 in their last 10 as they have tighten their defense, holding their opponents to under 100 in six of those games during the stretch. The Hornets currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and will play six-of-their-first seven post All-Star break games on the road where they are 8-17 this year.
Lee is in the final year of his contract. Charlotte also now has an open open roster spot.
Hairston and Roberts didn’t provide much for the Hornets as Roberts only appeared in 30 games this season. So, in the end Charlotte made out pretty well.
Memphis (31-22) is in fifth place in the Western Conference but without Gasol, the Griz weren’t likely going to get out of the first round of the playoffs. Memphis is an older team so getting a semi-interesting prospect in Hairston plus re-stocking their second round draft picks was a coup.
Miami saved themselves more than $6 million in salary and luxury-tax payment with the trade while also not giving up a valuable second round selection. The Heat are now within $3.4 million of their ultimate goal of getting out of the tax entirely and resetting the clock on the repeater tax. Roberts could see more action with the Heat as reserve guard Tyler Johnson has missed the last seven games with a shoulder injury.
Verdict: All three teams did well for themselves. If Charlotte reaches the playoffs, they will likely end up winning the trade.
[photo by David Zalubowski/Associated Press]