Report: Hornets forward Josh McRoberts opts out

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Career high scoring average? Check. Josh McRoberts scored 8.5 points per game this season.

Reputation as a winner? Check. He helped Charlotte make the playoffs for just the second time since re-entering the NBA as the Bobcats.

A rapidly increasing salary cap? Check. The cap is projected to jump to $63.2 million.

All the ingredients exist for McRoberts to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Hornets, which would have have paid him $2,771,340 next season.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

\https://twitter.com/rick_bonnell/status/479314557840531456

McRoberts started all 78 of his games this season, and he proved an excellent fit next to Al Jefferson, Charlotte’s top player. With McRoberts’ passing and outside shooting, Charlotte’s starting lineup – which also included Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – outscored teams by 10.9 points per 100 possessions. For reference, the Spurs’ regular-season net rating was best in the NBA at +8.1.

This is definitely a system worth preserving.

But Charlotte also drafted Cody Zeller No. 4 last year, and they want to develop him into its power forward of the future. Plus, the Hornets have the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft and a quality power forward – Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Dario Saric, Doug McDermott or Adreian Payne – could be available there if Charlotte increase its odds of producing a young replacement for McRoberts.

McRoberts is a stop-gap solution until a higher-upside player replaces him. I bet Charlotte tries to re-sign him for at least a couple more years, maybe even with the intention of transitioning the 27-year-old to the bench by the end of a deal. He and the Hornets have a good thing going, though he’s allowing the possibility of something to come between them:

A larger offer from another team.