The Charlotte Hornets have been linked with numerous NBA Trade Rumours that potentially kickstart their quest to relevancy, but some terrible contracts peg them back in that regard.
The Michael Jordan-owned franchise is paying over $25 million to veteran guard Nicolas Batum who averaged less than four points per game in 2019-20 and $17 million to 28-year-old centre Bismack Biyombo who averaged less than eight.
Cody Zeller's $14 million contract looks respectable in comparison. Clearly, it would be an understatement to say that the Charlotte Hornets have been careless with their money despite being one of the poorest-run franchises in the NBA right now, with the Hornets faithful having little reason to celebrate in recent years.
Since Kemba Walker left for Boston at the start of this season, the fans have had even fewer reasons to make it to the Spectrum Centre. However, the 2019-20 season has given them reason to believe that the future of the team might just be bright after all.
NBA Trade Rumours: Charlotte Hornets should go all-in for Christian Wood
The Charlotte Hornets pleasantly surprised everyone with their performances this season. They finished tenth in the Eastern Conference in a season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their record is certainly nothing to take pride in but was still better than what most predicted at the start of the season. All of the credit for that goes to their young core that has impressively punched above its weight.
Devonte' Graham had a breakout season, leading the team in scoring 18.2 points per game. He was also the prime facilitator with over seven assists. 26-year-old point-guard Terry Rozier also had a very decent season in which he averaged 18 points per game.
In fact, the oldest player among the Charlotte Hornets' top six scorers was 27-year-old Cody Zeller. 22-year-olds Miles Bridges, Malik Monk and P.J. Washington also put up points in double figures on a nightly basis.
Needless to say, the youth is the way forward for Charlotte Hornets. They will also be adding to their promising batch of young players as they have the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft.
Now, it is about acquiring as many young players and future draft picks as possible. Charlotte Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak made clear of the team's intentions in this off-season way back in October 2019 itself.
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Career points per game - 9.5
Career assists per game - 0.6
Career rebounds per game - 4.8
Career field goal % - 54.6%
Career 3-point % - 36.8%.
The Charlotte Hornets fans would love to see the return of a familiar face in Detroit Pistons' Christian Wood.
Wood played a forgettable 13 games for the Hornets in the 2016-17 NBA season. He first shot to fame during the end of the 2018-19 season when he catapulted his production to highs no one could have anticipated during eight games with the New Orleans Pelicans. He averaged nearly 17 points per game that season.
The Detroit Pistons claimed him off waivers for the 2019-20 season, and Wood made the best of that opportunity. He scored over 13 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 38.6% from three and an absurd 63.6% from inside the arc.
He is also a pretty good rim protector and has had games with six blocks. The 6'10" tall former Charlotte Hornets player can operate as a stretch-big for a team that believes in small-balls, which makes him a hot commodity in today's NBA. Still only 24, Christian Wood has a good chance of becoming a star if he continues developing his game.
NBA Trade Rumours: How can the Charlotte Hornets get Christian Wood?
The only way the Charlotte Hornets can get Christian Wood is if they are willing to pay up more than any other franchise.
Wood will have no incentive of joining the Charlotte Hornets if he doesn't get a big payday, which he is due this off-season. He is out of contract at the end of 2019-20 and will hit the free-agency market hoping to bag upwards of $10 million.
He has proved that he belongs to this league and can help a team like Charlotte Hornets in a number of ways, so there could be a number of suitors for him.The Detroit Pistons would love to have him back and could give the Charlotte Hornets tough competition in the battle for his signature.
That being said, if the Charlotte Hornets really believe in Christian Wood, they can outmuscle the Pistons financially. Of course, a lot would depend on where the salary cap for the 2020-21 season is set at and who the Charlotte Hornets draft with their third overall pick.
Published 10 Sep 2020, 06:30 IST