Despite having a roster improvement this summer, the Charlotte Hornets are still not expected to make a huge impact in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. In the ESPN Summer Forecast, panelists predicted the Hornets to miss the NBA Playoffs for the third consecutive year, finishing as the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 35-47 win-loss record. Failing to secure a playoff spot in the LeBron James-less East is definitely embarrassing for the Hornets.
If they find themselves out of the playoff picture, the Hornets may consider trading Kemba Walker before the February NBA trade deadline. According to Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report, the Hornets could send Walker to the Boston Celtics for a trade package centered on Terry Rozier.
“What if Boston just swapped Rozier and filler for Kemba Walker? Walker will only make $12 million this season, which isn’t so far removed from Rozier’s $3 million figure. it won’t be hard to bridge the gap and make the deal work under the CBA. This way, Charlotte gets a young point guard it can keep (for much less than the near-max Walker is likely to get) and build around. Rozier’s exceptionally confident, and his playoff showing in 2018 suggests he’s not going to be content as a backup in Boston forever. This gives him a chance to shine.”
Trading Kemba Walker means that the Hornets are ready to undergo a full-scale rebuild which is why sending him to the Celtics for Terry Rozier makes a lot of sense. Rozier is the type of NBA player who could be the centerpiece of a rebuild. Last season, when Kyrie Irving went down with a season-ending injury, Rozier showed his capability to become a starter, helping the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference finals where they forced a Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now that Irving is expected to return 100 percent healthy, Boston is no longer the perfect place to stay for Terry Rozier. To speed up his development to become a superstar in the league, Rozier should be on a team that can give him a starting role and makes him more involved on the offensive end of the floor.
Also, Terry Rozier is set to become a restricted free agent next summer where he is expected to demand a decent contract. After the Celtics re-signed Marcus Smart, it remains questionable if they are willing to use a huge chunk of their salary cap space just to bring the young point guard back.