Since the 2018 NBA offseason, the Charlotte Hornets continue to remind everyone in the league that they have no intention of moving Kemba Walker before the February NBA trade deadline. As of now, Walker and the Hornets are focused on returning to the Eastern Conference Playoffs in the 2018-19 NBA season. The outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season is expected to play a major role in Walker’s decision in the summer of 2019 where he is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
In order to strengthen their chance of making a huge impact in the Eastern Conference and convincing Kemba Walker to stay, the Hornets should consider upgrading their roster before the February NBA trade deadline. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA players that the Hornets could target is Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Marc Gasol may already be on the downside of his NBA career, but Buckley believes that adding him to the Hornets’ roster would still qualify as a “massive upgrade.” At 33, Gasol remains a reliable contributor on both ends of the floor. In 45 games he played this season, the veteran Spanish center is averaging 15.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
“While Walker has said he wants to stay in Charlotte beyond this season, one wonders if his loyalty would be tested by missing the playoffs for the sixth time in eight years or failing to make his second-round debut. The Hornets can’t take that risk. They must find ways to strengthen their anemic supporting cast, and even a potentially declining Marc Gasol would qualify as a massive upgrade. The soon-to-be 34-year-old is no longer a perennial All-Star, but he could immediately slide into the roles of defensive anchor, No. 2 scorer and secondary playmaker.”
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) January 18, 2019
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Hornets will be trading Nicolas Batum, Willy Hernangomez, and a 2019 lottery-protected first-round pick to the Grizzlies for Marc Gasol. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. The suggested trade will not only be beneficial for the Hornets but also for the Grizzlies.
Instead of losing Marc Gasol for nothing in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Grizzlies will be acquiring a young center in Willy Hernangomez and a future first-round pick that will enable them to add another promising talent on their roster. Nicolas Batum may only serve as a salary cap filler, but playing for a new team could help him revive his NBA career.