Free Agency Grades: Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets just missed out on the playoffs last season and were one of the few teams with big money to spend this offseason. However, with all that cap space, they didn’t make that much noise. They’re far from a lock to get into the playoffs next season.
Here are the signings the Hornets made in free agency, and how each player fits the youth movement in Charlotte:
Bismack Biyombo signs 1 year, $3.5 million deal
The Hornets will continue to utilize Biyombo as a rim-runner, someone that can clean up near the hoop and protect the rim. There aren’t many big men on their roster other than him and Cody Zeller.
After seriously overpaying him for the last several seasons, Charlotte now gets him on a bargain contract. Re-signing him for this cheap to have depth at center was a smart move.
Re-signing a player that’s started many games for them and averaged just under 8 rebounds and just over 1 block per game for them as a starter this season for cheap was a good move. He doesn’t stand out, but he does help on the court.
Gordon Hayward signs 4 year, $120 million deal
A veteran that can still contribute is a very valuable asset to a young team. Getting a proven wing and scorer is a big boost to an offense that desperately needs it. Charlotte has Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington but there has been talk that Washington may play a bit as a small-ball center similar to another P.J. in Houston last season.
In order to make this deal work, they waived and stretched Nicolas Batum who they will pay an average of $9 million per season over the next three years. So, doing the math, that’s an average of $39 million per year through the 2022-23 season for a guy that hasn’t been the same since a gruesome injury. However, the Hornets have struggled being able to bring solid talent in and he can average 20 points per game.
A fourth option on the Celtics could be a leader on the Hornets. The youth in Charlotte could use a guiding voice and Gordon provides that. He could get back to at least a near All-Star level in the right situation, which he could now be in. However, this was just a shocking amount to pay him and that brings all the potential positives down a notch.