The Charlotte Hornets are currently enjoying a rare promising start to the season. Michael Jordan's team have begun the 18/19 season with a 17-18 record, and the Hornets are currently firmly in the hunt to secure a rare Playoff appearance.
Since re-branding as the Hornets in 2014, the team has been to the playoffs just once. This was during the 15/16 season, and they were defeated in the first round by the Miami Heat.
In recent years, they have attempted to bring in big names like Dwight Howard to fuel a sustained playoff push, although the franchise has long suffered from poor backroom decisions. They have been labeled by many NBA analysts as one of the worst managed across the league and it's currently littered with bad contracts which will affect their ability to contend over the coming years.
Among the awful deals are Cody Zeller's four-year $56m contract, Bismack Biyombo's $72m deal and Nicolas Batum's huge five-year $120m agreement. All three still have multiple years to run, although they still have a few good contracts on their books and in this article, we will look at the three that offer the team the most value.
#3 Tony Parker
Tony Parker's salary may be slightly overpriced, although it remains one of the better contracts on a team full of bad deals. The point guard signed a two-year deal worth $10m during the summer of 2018, after spending more than 15 years with the San Antonio Spurs.
Parker has so far averaged 9.9 points, 4 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes of action, and the Frenchman has been especially impressive in December. The 36-year-old's performances have included 20 points against the Jazz and 19 against the Nuggets.
#2 Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lamb was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets, although he never made an appearance for the team and was soon traded to the OKC Thunder. Lamb spent three years with the Thunder before being traded to the Hornets, and he soon signed a three-year, $21m contract extension with the team.
Lamb has slowly developed into the Hornets' second best player after Kemba Walker, and he is currently enjoying the best season of his career. The 26-year-old is averaging 15.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2 assists per game while also starting to establish himself as a threat from behind the arc.
The 26-year-old's versatility to play at both the point guard and small forward positions is also a major help to the Hornets roster, and his $7m salary for the season has proved to be great value for money.
#1 Kemba Walker
Despite being the Charlotte Hornets' only All-Star, Kemba Walker is only the team's sixth highest-earning player. Batum is earning double his salary, while the likes of Biyombo and Zeller are also earning more than Walker, despite contributing little to the team.
Walker has been one of the NBA's best players of the season so far, and the point guard is currently averaging career-highs in both points (25.9) and rebounds (4.3). The 28-year-old is earning just $12m for the 18/19 season, although he will become a free agent in the summer and is likely to command a near max-deal.
The Hornets will be desperate to retain Walker, who has been with the franchise since 2011 - although it remains to be seen if the two-time All-Star will sign an extension with a team that will struggle to compete in the coming years.