The 4-14 Hornets are the NBA’s most disappointing team.
Instead, the Hornets’ once-stout defense has collapsed and their already-troublesome offense has fallen even further.
So, Charlotte is seeking major changes.
The Hornets have been aggressive making trade calls, according to sources across the league.
The Hornets are searching for upgrades on the wing and at power forward, per those sources, and they are willing to talk turkey on basically anyone other than Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson.
Jefferson altered the franchise’s entire arc last season, and Walker just signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension. It’s no surprise they’re going nowhere.
One name not on the list of protected assets: Lance Stephenson, who’s faltering after signing with Charlotte this summer and assuming major responsibility. The Hornets can’t trade Stephenson until Dec. 15, but they sure can discuss it with other teams before then. That they’d be willing to so soon after signing him could crater Stephenson’s already diminishing value, but he’s still talented and young. There will be interest, even if it’s less than ever would have been expected.
That Charlotte is getting so aggressive on the trade market could indicate a couple things. Either Michael Jordan and co. are impatient on letting this group jell, or they see major problems that need to be addressed quickly.
Hope, on paper, is not lost for the Hornets. They’ve already played 10 games against the powerful Western Conferences – two more than any other Eastern Conference team and four more than any Eastern Conference team in playoff position. Charlotte hasn’t fared well against the West (1-9), but the schedule only gets easier from here.
But if the Hornets’ problems run deeper than a tough early schedule, it’s not to soon to get proactive.