The Charlotte Hornets didn’t make any major changes in the 2022 offseason. Aside from the addition of Dennis Smith Jr. and the re-signing of Cody Martin, hasn’t changed much on his roster. The rest of the league looks like they are improving dramatically. The Boston Celtics added Malcolm Brogdon. The Cleveland Cavaliers made the groundbreaking trade for Donovan Mitchell, and other teams are getting healthy. The Hornets may need to make a change at some point this season. They have some guys who can cash out the assets.
Terry Rozier has been good for the Hornets since landing in Charlotte in 2019-2020. He had his best season in 2021, when he averaged 20 points per game. It may well have the highest value among all the Hornets available via trade. He has shown that he can be a second or third scoring option on a team vying for the playoffs. He fits this new NBA style of scoring. Rozier can create his own kick and for others as an ace. It showed no sign of slowing down in terms of production. At 27 years old, he is about to enter his prime.
LaMelo Ball and Rozier also spent some time swapping guard positions. Still, we look at Rozier as yet another undersized guard. Depending on where he ended up, he might spend more time getting back to the point. This could be a good move for him. He won’t have to protect many guys bigger than him. Also, any parts they manage to get in return should help complement Ball and the rest of the roster.
Gordon Hayward has been a constant force for the Hornets when he’s really available. Unfortunately, Hayward only played 93 of 164 games in his two seasons at Charlotte. In both seasons, the team was heading in the right direction. We’re talking jammed in the middle of playoff contention until he lost a significant amount of time. When one of their best players is out, the team pays dearly for his absence. What turned out to be Play-In exits in consecutive years. So Hayward’s collar is probably short.
Still, Hayward can still be a productive player in a minor role. The man was an All-Star in his final season in Utah in 2016-2017. He lost a bit of pace when he signed with Boston because of a serious ankle injury. Fortunately, his time in Charlotte showed he still had some juice left in his tank. He just can’t be a first or second choice on a team. If he can play fewer minutes, it can reduce the risk of injury for him. This would eventually prolong his career.
Both Rozier and Hayward weren’t the healthiest options, but they’re still good players. It will be easy for them to make an impact on a team from day one. They are veterans who should be able to adjust to whatever situation they might be sent into. As for the assets in exchange, there must be enough replacements available. The Hornets know they need pieces that make LaMelo Ball happy. Franchise player happiness should be the number one priority for this team.
It would be sad to see two vital pieces leave Queen City. Your contributions will not go unnoticed. Maybe it’s time for a change to make this team competitive. To do that, they’ll have to turn some of their most beloved pieces into the future. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the business.