The Charlotte Hornets would like to re-sign free agent Jeremy Lin but are fearful of losing the point guard, according to league sources.
The Hornets’ top priority is bringing back Nicolas Batum, their free-agent swingman who had a breakout season, and they also want to re-sign Marvin Williams, who is a strong presence in the locker room, sources said.
The Hornets have Williams’ Early Bird rights, meaning they can exceed the cap to re-sign him on a deal starting up to $12.25 million (175% of his previous salary). I don’t think that’ll be enough. They’ll likely need to use cap space to re-sign him.
If the Hornets keep Lee’s relatively low cap hold on the books (then use his Bird Rights to exceed the cap to re-sign him), they’d have less than $10 million to spend on Williams, Lin and Jefferson (pretty much an afterthought in this discussion). I doubt that’s enough for Williams or Lin.
So, renouncing Lee makes sense, especially since Charlotte just traded for another shooting guard, Marco Belinelli. Renouncing Lee would give the Hornets nearly $20 million to re-sign Williams or Lin – and that might be enough.
Starting power forwards are more important than backup point guards, so prioritizing Williams is logical. In the same vein, Lin might take a slightly lower offer to start elsewhere rather than return to back up Kemba Walker. It’s far more difficult to see Williams walking if Charlotte makes his best financial offer.
All this assumes Batum re-signs. If he doesn’t, that’d open room for at least two of Williams, Lin and Lee to return.
But as is, the Hornets are trying to navigate a difficult maze.