The Hornets narrow window to carve out more cap room than the mid-level exception is essentially gone – at least without another trade.
Al Jefferson opting in was the major factor, but the other key domino just fell.
Gerald Henderson is opting into the final season of his contract, which pays $6 million next year.
The Hornets will have the mid-level exception, the No. 9 pick and the ability to trade players who look less attractive after a down year. Otherwise, they’ll mostly bring back a roster that went 33-49 last season.
Maybe Spencer Hawes helps, but I would have counted on more from Matt Barnes – whom Charlotte will reportedly move – in the haul for Lance Stephenson. Better health would also help, but only so much.
The Hornets will probably have to rely significantly on addition by subtraction – which might not be such a bad bet.