Coming into the upcoming season, Kemba Walker is easily the most likely unrestricted free agent to be traded. Walker trade rumors will be starting as soon as the season starts. There are a lot of teams that will be feeling out Charlotte for Walker, especially with some teams not having a point guard for the next 3-5 seasons. A lot will come down to the record of the Hornets after a few months, but also the progress of some of their younger draft picks of late. The Hornets did sign Tony Parker as a depth move, which is a nice addition to help out the younger core.
The Hornets front court draft picks have not panned out, and it is starting to desperately show. Marvin Williams has been a disappointment, although for an NBA player his stats are not bad, but looking at draft place he is considered a bust. Frank Kaminsky has been a sporadic role player, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is more known for his defense. The center position is also down to Willy Hernangomez and Cody Zeller. These are not the most enticing players to battle it out for a starting job. The expectations are low for this group heading into the new season.
Miles Bridges was drafted by the Clippers, but acquired by the Hornets in this most recent draft. Bridges is a 6’7 forward who can play the two, three, and the four depending on opposing lineups. Bridges has a lot of upside, and is an explosive athlete who can score in various ways. Jeremy Lamb is an upcoming free agent, and is another possible trade target for the Hornets come midseason. The Hornets have been swinging and missing on draft picks over the last few seasons, but Bridges looks like a potential hit for the Hornets. If so, they have a building point for the next few years.
Dwight Howard averaged a double-double last season, and now leaves a huge hole for Charlotte. They currently have Willy Hernangomez and Cody Zeller battling things out. While they are not the worst rebounding options, they still lack the rim protecting presence that Howard still brings over the age of 30. Charlotte is likely going to be looking at a drop off on both sides of the ball. They did add Bismack Biyombo to the roster, but offensively he isn’t going to give you anything, and on the glass he can chip in but not a long term option within this season.
Malik Monk is a University of Kentucky product who hasn’t yet put himself within the rotation in Charlotte, but that may change this season. Monk was a strong scorer at Kentucky, averaging just a shade under 20 points per game. Monk should see an increase in playing time this season, especially if the Hornets giveaway with some of the looming free agent guards. Monk is currently listed as the second shooting guard, and likely will see time behind Lamb. Jeremy Lamb is likely headed for a similar role like last season, but just at the starting spot, and not off the bench.