The Charlotte Hornets are one of the eight NBA teams who are no longer expected to return when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes in Orlando, Florida on July 31, 2020. Being excluded on the list of teams who would fight for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference would be somewhat beneficial for the Hornets, as it would give them plenty of time to think about their plans in the offseason. Aside from focusing on the development of their young core, another thing that could be included on the Hornets’ to-do list this fall is finding players that could help them become a more competitive team next season.
One player they could target on the trade market is Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls. According to Elijah Edwards of Fansided’s Swarm and Sting, the Hornets may consider offering a trade package that includes Terry Rozier to the Bulls to acquire LaVine.
“One such step could be in the way of a trade or two and a possible deal the team could make is acquiring Chicago Bull’s guard, Zach LaVine. The 25-year old out of UCLA just wrapped up his sixth season in the league and he’s been one of the NBA’s most impressive young players, improving every year he’s been in the association. His 25.5 points per game rank 12th in the NBA. He’s an efficient scorer, too, making 45% of his field goals, including hitting 38% from deep the past season. On top of his scoring, he’s a somewhat capable passer and rebounder, averaging nearly 5 boards and just over 4 assists per contest.”
Charlotte signed Rozier in the 2019 free agency with the belief that he could replace Kemba Walker as their point guard of the future. Rozier has somewhat managed to impress in his first season with the Hornets, averaging 18.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, with the emergence of Devonte’ Graham, Rozier has suddenly become expendable.
Though he has shown good chemistry with Graham this season, Edwards believes the Hornets could find more success by trading Rozier for a bigger guard like LaVine, who could excel in an off-ball capacity. Swapping Rozier for LaVine would enable Charlotte to officially make Graham their starting point guard, while adding a player that could tremendously improve their offensive efficiency that currently ranks No. 28 in the league, scoring 103.9 points per 100 possessions. The potential arrival of LaVine wouldn’t make the Hornets an instant title contender, but Edwards is confident that adding him to their core would be enough to give them a realistic chance of returning to the Eastern Conference Playoffs in the 2020-21 NBA season.