The Carolina Fanbase may have had to sacrifice their beloved Panthers to the Devil (aka David Tepper), but it would appear the Hornets finally have ownership that isn't afraid to make moves that could pay out huge dividends in the future.
The Hornets traded Terry Rozier for Kyle Lowry and a protected 2027 first-round pick from the Miami Heat. According to ESPN, The Hornets will work to move Lowry onto another team before the deadline, but short of finding a deal for him and his $29.6 million expiring contract, he could eventually become a contract buyout candidate.
Rozier is currently in the second year of his 4-year, $96.3 million contract, and Gordon Hayward is in the last season of his lucrative 4-year, $120 million contract. With over $50 million worth of Cap Space freeing up heading into the 2024 off-season, the Hornets are in great shape to sign some studs to put around Ball, although Ball gets a significant raise in the 2024-2025 season, going from $10.9 million to $35.5 million. Still, the Hornets have tens of millions of dollars to play with this offseason.
Personally, I would have never signed either Rozier or Hayward for that much, but the Hornets were notorious for giving out larger sums of money to players that you could have paid $15 million on a good day, i.e., Nic Batum. Still salty about his ass. With young players like Ball and Miller signed to long-term deals, the Hornets may use this time to become an attractive destination for future stars and, dare I say it, become a contender.
The Hornets have not made the NBA playoffs since 2016, and for those not paying attention to what year it is, that was eight years ago. Since NBA Basketball returned to Charlotte in 2004, the Hornets have only made it to the playoffs three times and have yet to win a playoff series.
The next move the Hornets need to make is finding the right coach heading into the future because Steve Clifford is not that guy. The Hornets have the option to keep Clifford on board next season, but if this ownership group wants to be taken seriously, they need to move on from a guy who may end this season having more seasons under .400 than seasons over .500.
Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin have proven that they want to produce a winning product in Charlotte, something we couldn't have said in the last twenty years. Regardless of how this all turns out, at least something is being done in an attempt to put the Hornets into a contenting position for the long term. We may not see significant results this year, but it's time for Hornets fans to.... sigh.... trust the process.