Patriots @ Panthers: What to Watch For by Austin Stallings

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Image by our new Graphic Designer GiddenDesigns

In the NFL, the third week of the preseason serves as a dress rehearsal for the live rendition, and brings with it a set of expectations for the season to come. For better or worse, each franchise’s long-brewing questions will at last be answered, and fans will see starters play their most significant snaps until the regular season begins. Tonight, the reigning Super Bowl champions come to Charlotte where they’ll face a team with as many unanswered questions as any in the league, and a fanbase eager to see who will survive this weekend’s roster cuts. Here’s what to watch for in tonight’s matchup:

WHICH WIDEOUT WILL STEP UP?

After losing a rising star in Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers’ wideout play tonight will factor in heavily to what the team does with the position going forward. The front office has been adamant about finding answers within it’s own roster, but there’s likely to be a veteran on the free agent market who can help this team’s passing game, especially if second year player Corey Brown continues to struggle. It’s also one of Jarrett Boykin’s last chances to show his hometown that he’s worthy of a spot on the final 53, as his production has been inconsistent since signing with Carolina in May. This group has been thrown into the spotlight since Benjamin’s injury and will continue to be under close watch throughout the season. With rookie Devin Funchess unlikely to play tonight, there are plenty of targets to go around to those battling for roster spots.

A CROWDED BACKFIELD

A key cog in the Panthers’ postseason run in 2014, Fozzy Whittaker may now find himself on the roster bubble as final cuts approach next week. Although the coaching staff maintains that the depth chart hasn’t shifted much since the beginning of camp, inspiring play from a trio of new runners will make the decision a hard one. Rookie Cameron Artis-Payne, free agent acquisition Jordan Todman, and undrafted free agent Brandon Wegher have each made an impact in their own right through 2 weeks of the preseason – and each bring a different caveat of value to the team. With Todman on pace to be the team’s lead kick returner, and Artis-Payne appearing to be a polished 3-down backup to Jonathan Stewart — the final spot will come down to Whittaker and Wegher, who’s now racked up 3 touchdowns over the past 2 weeks. While Fozzy Whittaker made arguably the franchise’s most important play last season, Wegher has since become a fan favorite and likely would be quickly claimed by another team if transferred to the practice squad — which leads me to believe he has more than a fighting chance to earn a spot on this roster. Ultimately, it will come down to how the duo can contribute on special teams.

NEW FACES IN THE SECONDARY

After adding veterans Charles Tillman and Kurt Coleman in the offseason, Carolina looks to have more depth in the secondary than it’s seen in several years. Second year standouts Bené Benwikere and Tre Boston are sure to factor in coming off impressive rookie campaigns, but neither will find themselves in the starting base package to kick off the season. Look for Kurt Coleman to get the start beside Roman Harper, with the high-ceiling Boston breathing down his neck. Benwikere recently stated that he’d rather play outside the numbers than in the nickel slot where he currently lines up, but it’s his versatility that makes him a vital piece to this defense. Either way, the front seven will surely appreciate having more depth and experience behind them than in years past. Tonight they should have a great opportunity to make plays, against a team with it’s top 3 wide receivers out with injuries.

OFFENSIVE LINE TO BE TESTED

A clear team weakness last year has continued to show vast improvement, dating back to the final five games of last season. The group has looked solid thus far, creating viable pockets against the talented defensive fronts of the Bills and Dolphins. That may have looked promising, but it’s important to note that defensive coordinators don’t utilize any complicated schemes in the first two games of the preseason. Still in the process of evaluating talent, there aren’t yet any exotic blitzes or stunts in the gameplan, and thus are much easier to read in pass blocking situations. The group’s first true test will come tonight, when the Patriots bring a more complex scheme to the field, aiming to find which players grasp these concepts faster than others. If the offensive line produces another good showing tonight, I’ll be sold — and it will be a great sign for this offense going forward.

THE GAME:

Bank of America Stadium, 7:35 pm.

Charlotte, NC

Kickoff Weather: Sunny, 80° F

POLL: Lifting Up a Legend

Dell Curry

Dell Curry

Lifting up a Legend by Tyler Ball

Every city is built on a foundation, one that is constantly being added to, expanding and even built higher. However, every great city has one thing that brings the community together as a whole that unite the people and encourages the city to continue to grow. For Charlotte, the heartbeat of our city is our Charlotte Hornets.

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Muggsy Bogues

When a player becomes a Charlotte Hornet, at any point in their career, they become a piece of the city’s foundation. A permanent brick that future pieces with built off of. One a player put on the teal and purple, they don’t just play basketball, they inspire the people and once the great ones leave, they become immortal and always remembered.

So why the long speech? Growing up in Charlotte as a kid, as many of you readers also did, we idolized players. They might not be the MVP, or greatest the game has ever seen, but we idolized them for other more important qualities like respect for the game and good sportsmanship. The game has changed a lot since I was a kid, some for the better some for the worst, but no matter what I became a fan of a man who set examples of being a good man beyond the lights and cameras, a man who was a role model for me during every pick-up game I played. His name is Glen Rice #41.

Glen Rice

Glen Rice

You cannot call yourself a Charlotte Hornets fan without knowing who the Legends of the Hive are, Muggsy Bogues, Anthony Mason, Alonzo Mourning, Bobby Phills, Dell Curry, Glen Rice, PJ Brown, Jamal Mashburn, and Barron Davis.

The only Jersey to be retired and made immortalized for all future generations of Charlotte is Bobby Phills #13, may he RIP. When a Jersey is retired and lifted into the bleachers, they become a shining star for that team and that city. To see their name and jersey in the lights up above you in a game, it’s just a reminder that you witnessed greatness.

Rice and the rest of the Hive legends have given us so much over the years, to both us individually and as a community. It is time that WE as a city give back to them and we can do that by retiring their jerseys while they can see how we still love and appreciate everything they have done for us. This article is to get the word out that we, the fans, are going to lift up our Legends of the Hive!

Is Cam really worth $100 Million?

imageBy Chris Parette


“I don’t think nobody has ever been who I’m trying to be. Nobody has the size, nobody has the speed, nobody has the arm strength, nobody had the intangibles that I’ve had. I’m not saying that to say I’m a one-on-one type of person that this league will never see another. No, I’m not saying that. Hear me out. I’m just saying that so much of my talents have not been seen in one person.”

When Cam Newton casually dropped this nugget last week, it sure did ruffle some feathers of quite a few people. But here is the thing:

He is right.

There is no quarterback in the league that brings to the table what Cam Newton does physically. 6′ 6”. 260 pounds. 4.59 40-yard dash as a rookie. One of the strongest arms in the league. There is no Quarterback that on paper that has what Cam Newton has.

So when Cam was signed to a 5-year $103.8 million contract on Tuesday, with $60 million in guaranteed money, you can see the reasoning behind it. Contrary to what a lot of critics say, Cam is a franchise QB. He has the tools to take a team to the Super Bowl and make the Pro Bowl season after season.

But nobody is claiming that he is perfect. For all the skills Newton has, he hasn’t exactly parlayed them and turned them into massive amounts of success on the field. He is still not a 60% passer in his career. He is one of the most inaccurate quarterbacks in the league, often overthrowing receivers by multiple feet. He still isn’t the greatest decision maker, and it seems when he starts going downhill, it doesn’t stop. I think a good comparison to 2015 Cam Newton is early career Donovan McNabb. At the beginning of his career, McNabb was a very good athlete with serious accuracy problems. Any Eagles fan can recall pulling their hair out watching McNabb bounce passes into open receivers. As he got older and more experienced in the league, he became more of a natural pocket passer, and used his athleticism as a last resort. Over his four years in the league, Cam has drastically improved on this. As a rookie, when Cam’s first read wasn’t open, he was running. Now, he progresses through his reads and resorts to running when he has no other choice. That running is also something that opposing coaches have to plan for when playing the Panthers Cam has yet to have a year where he has less than 500 yards rushing, which is something that is often looked over when looking at his career stats.

Thankfully, Dave Gettleman realizes Cam’s biggest weakness, his accuracy, and addressed it by adding mammoth sized receivers. Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin, and 2015 2nd round pick Devin Funchess are all 6′ 5″. When Cam typically is wild with his throws, he is wild high. Having guys that big lowers the chance of overthrows.

To all of the people who say Cam is getting way too much money for his career 30-31-1 record, go ask the Jets, Browns, and Bills if they would pay that money for Cam. In a heartbeat they would. When you have a franchise quarterback who still hasn’t reached his full potential like Cam, you pay him whatever it takes to keep him in Black and Blue. You CANNOT let Cam walk out the door, because it can take years and years to find another quarterback of the future. You can be like the Browns picking in the top 10 year after year hoping to find that quarterback, or you can lock Cam up and be set for the future.

It is 2015, and quarterbacks that are even borderline franchise cornerstones get paid. Last week, Ryan Tannehill finalized a 6-year, $97 million extension with the Dolphins. Cam has shown way more potential and improvement in his last few seasons than Tannehill has. (Don’t comment and tell me about Tannehill’s stats last year. They were good, but he was running Bill Lazor’s hurry-up and short pass offense, which inflated Tannehill’s stats.) I would venture to say that most of the leagues GM’s would sign Cam for his contract before they would sign Tannehill for his.

Yes the contract is massive. Yes Cam hasn’t exactly become elite on the field yet. Yes Cam in not a complete quarterback at this stage in his career. All that being said, you pay the man whatever it takes to keep him at Bank of America Stadium because he has the potential to win you a Super Bowl.

POLL: Does a Warriors Win or Loss bode better for a Charlotte homecoming for Stephen Curry?

We grew up with him. He’s one of us. Either you saw him crawling around the olde Coliseum, You went to school with him at Charlotte Christian or you watched him in awe at Davidson.

There’s something about the heart and legacy of the Curry family that has made them Charlotte Royalty for years

Charlotte is pegged as a transplant town and we are admittedly very young in this cultural renaissance we are experiencing so when we see one of our own fly the nest (hive) and be successful there is this overwhelming sense of pride.

Watching Stephen Curry blossom over the years has been a real thrill for us here. Seeing him take the Warriors to the Finals, win MVP and do it with character makes me swell up with that pride.

Soooo when we have our team the Hornet here. Struggling with shooting. His dad (Dell) who is the leading Hornets scorer of all time with just under 10,000 points and still being associated with the team by doing the game commentary and becoming recently a team ambassador. We begin to explore the possibilities of a Stephen homecoming for our own selfish reasons.

This finals series with the Cavs holds a lot of power over the future of Curry in the Golden State. The question is would a win or loss for the Warriors bode better for putting Stephen in that Hornets #30?

POLL: 7 Cities; Where should the Hornets D-League team play?

  

 Hornets Sports & Entertainment announced on Monday that they intended to launch an NBA D-league team starting the 2016-17 season. This is great for Charlotte to finally have a team that we can pull players from and send our young developing ones to without having to send them half way across the country to find a willing location.

They listed 7 potential cities including Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Raleigh in North Carolina as well as Charleston, Columbia and Greenville in South Carolina.

Each city has strong cases for why they think they deserve a D-league team. Greensboro is a proven town when it come to minor league teams, have their coliseum and is the 3rd largest city in the state. Raleigh is the darling of the state and is rewarded everything from the majority of tax payers money to the only professional team in the state with a Championship.  Charleston, Columbia and Greenville would help spread the fan base to the old Palmetto State much like Spartanburg training camp has done for the Carolina Panthers.

Asheville is the tourist trap of the state. Already has experience with an NBA D-League team called the Asheville Altitude that existed from 2001-2005 and won the league title the last two years of its existence and Hornets already do the majority of their off-season training in Asheville. They even have an already existing grassroots campaign that has been fighting for a team for over a year called “Beelieve in Asheville

“The team lost at least $100,000 in each of the four seasons and saw declining attendance each year before leaving in 2005.

During its last season in Asheville (2004-05), the Altitude drew fewer than 300 fans for nine of 23 home games.”- Citizens-Times


Our plan for this D-League team is to give the fans a 3 step interactive chance to voice their opinion to the Hornets organization.

  1. Vote on a city
  2. Submit & Vote on a name
  3. Vote on a logo

SOOOOO The polling begins with the City!


My Interview With Glen Rice; A Hornets Legend

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Image by Joe Shomaker

 

(Interviewed/Written by Tyler Ball)

What makes the difference between an athlete and a legend? Is it their ability to score, pass, and dunk? Maybe, or is it something a little deeper that is ingrained in their personality? Every athlete worth anything has a set of morals and values that makes them the person on and off of the court, and every true fan will see it. Many things influence them, friends, family, environment.

As a kid in the 90’s, I watched my Charlotte Hornets loyally, passionately, and religiously. For me personally, their was one player who set my foundation as a Hornet fan. We all have one, every fan does. That player who you admire and love to watch, the player who you defend to the very end after a rough loss to your friends. A player who you scream and cheer your lungs out for every time they take the court and put up a shot.

For me, their was one. His name is Glen Rice. Rice always took the court and left everything on it. when I would watch him, it was like some kind of x-factor stepped on the court with him like a shadow that made the team better, like a glow. The best part was it was infectious in his teammates, and when Rice was down, vice versa. He was a role model for me personally on and off the court, and it was because of him, and other players to come that I became so passionate about basketball and the team itself.

I was lucky enough to interview the Charlotte Hornet Legend about his time with the team, as well as advice for the current generation of Charlotte players and fans.


  1. Did you have a favorite NBA player or athlete you idolized as a kid growing up? “Julius Erving “Dr. J” and Larry Bird. When I first got into basketball, as far as shooters, Bird was the guy to me and one of the guys that I wanted to shoot like and try to be like when emulating the jump-shot. When it came to Dr. J, not that bird didn’t have it, but Julius Erving was a show. His [Erving] dunks, his charisma on and off the court just blew me away. As soon as they both stepped on the court you knew something great was about to happen, they are two true hall of famers’ right there.”
  2. Did you always know you wanted to play in the NBA or did you have another dream career? “When I was about 12-13 I liked football and liked playing receiver, but one day I broke my leg and that quickly changed my mind. At the time I was still playing basketball, mainly in the parks, up to that point I hadn’t played organized basketball. After I broke my leg I said let me think about this basketball thing. Thinking back if I didn’t break my leg, I probably would have been hard headed and tried to play both and would not have excelled as much as I wanted to in the sport I should have been in, it was a blessing in disguise.”
  3. Who was the most influential person during your career, both at Michigan and in the NBA? “When I arrived in Michigan in 1985 we had some great seniors on my team and some really good leaders, RIP, Roy Tarpley was mentor at the time and guys like Antione Joubert at the University of Michigan. As far as the NBA, where I was in Michigan and Detroit was just down the road guys like Isaiah Thomas and a lot of the Detroit Pistons players would come down and play with us. They really taught us how the game would be played once/if we made it to that next level. They really mentored us. As far as my life, my mom has always encouraged me and reminded me to always be respectful on and off the court to everyone of all colors and faiths. I really had good guidance.”
  4. What does it mean to you to know you still hold some amazing records at Michigan? “People always had to remind me of the records I that I do have because I never just dwelled on them, people would say did you know you set a record tonight? And I would say things like oh really? Well that’s cool. I honestly never dwelled on it and just kept moving because I guess when you look at it, it is important to have those achievements about how talented you were, but I never put a high premium on it. My thing was more accomplishing things as a team, I always put that first and when records were made and broken I was always like ok thank you, but just kept going.”
  5. Is there one moment in your NBA career in charlotte that is your favorite and stands out to you this day? “I really can’t say just one moment; we had so many great moments there at the hive. At the time it was me and LJ, Larry Johnson, leading the way and transition to Valda Divac and Anthony Mason, may he RIP, that crew all of those times they made the playoffs at the hive were electric. I can’t just say one moment; I would have to ball all of them up into one and say that was my greatest moment there. That team there had more than any team I ever played on, we really fought together, had our sad time together, we really liked one another and was full of really good people, not just players, but just really good people including the coaches and that is what really made us so successful. In a lot of ways it is different than how basketball is being played today. You see it in the San Antonio Spurs, they don’t care who the star is, they operate as one unit and that is why they have been so successful. When they have older guys who have been banged up through their careers they are still successful because they believe what their coach has instilled in them and they are great as a people.”
  6. Do you ever get to come back to charlotte to see games? “I have not recently, I have been watching them from afar, but I am so glad the MJ has brought the Hornets back. I need to come back, always wished they could get the Hornets name back because now it’s a relief and now we can be THE CHARLOTTE HORNETS again. Basketball was the pulse of Charlotte in the beginning and it is good to see it back again. I give MJ and all the fans credit for being so patient, and that is what true basketball fans are about, hanging in there behind your team no matter what. I hope that now that the Hornets are back that they can rebuild and get to more playoffs. I can tell you this, the Hornets players, coaches, fans, and city deserve to have a championship there.”
  7. Who is your all-time favorite teammate you had on the Hornets? “Each player is my all-time favorite; you had a different personality from each guy. You loved that about that person and there was not one person on the team ever that I did not like, even the guys who would come and try out and didn’t make the team. We always had friendships, it was all the guys, even when I see Dell Curry and reflect and think wow I remember when his son would come in the gym and shoot with us and think wow I am so happy for him. We did our best to represent the Charlotte Hornets the best way we could, everyone on the team was equal. We would not have been as good as we were if it wasn’t for the fans. If you had the hive buzzing as loud as they did for us you had no choice but to go out there and give everything you had. It was easy to play well because always knew that our fans always had our backs, from the bad games to the good games they always had our backs.”
  8. Who would you say top 3 greatest charlotte hornets? Who and why? “I would say in terms of being a leader and getting the Hornets going I would have to say Muggsy Bogues. You can’t say Charlotte Hornets and not think of Muggsy Bogues, he was diffidently a great personality, our spark plug for not only our team, but the community. Of course LJ “grandmamma”, he brought that charisma that he had and that likeable personality with that smile, even before I got there I was a Hornets fan because they had players like LJ and Muggsy. In terms of the early stages of the Charlotte Hornets you have to talk about Alonzo Mourning, he was their fierce backbone shot blocking player that held the team the down on defense.”
  9. What did it mean to you personally to get to play for the Charlotte Hornets? “Personally, it was probably the greatest thing to ever happen to me and my career? Gave me an opportunity to be the best player I could be as well as a person, lifted up my career. My career was doing ok at the time, but for some reason when I got to Charlotte and had the hive behind me my spirit was so uplifted it was really one of the most enjoyable times of my career. The Charlotte Hornets were diffidently the real deal for me.”
  10. What was it like to be breaking all-star game records past huge NBA greats like Hal Greer, Wilt Chamberlin, and Tom Chambers? “At the time I didn’t know what I was doing, I got hot, but I had no idea I was breaking someone’s record. Coach would tell me to get back in the game and I would be like “um, okay?” but I wasn’t thinking about it I just have to knock down these two free throws, if you break records great, if ya don’t oh well. What gave me the greatest feeling really, better than breaking records, through out that day was honestly being able to play as good as I did in front of the top 50 greatest players to play the game. To be able to have a great game like that in front of all of those guys and your peers that was an unbelievable feeling. I was like oh my god I played that well in front of all of these great players and here it is, I guess I did pretty well. It is hard for me to want to brag about anything, but there is something special about that, playing like that in front of them like I did.”
  11. Do you think that the game has changed too much as far as how strictly the rules are regulated, i.e. traveling, too many steps, fouls, etc.? “Yes, they don’t call traveling now, players can run with the basketball and that is the basic fundamentals of the game. When you look at the European players of the game verse the American players as far as fundamentals, the European players are the ones being taught the right fundamentals now. The American players might be more athletic, but there is so much more than that. The NBA needs to get back to the basics, and when we talked about the Spurs Tim Duncan, if you want to talk about fundamentals, that is exactly why he got the nickname “the big fundamental” because of his footwork and everything is excellent. When we played in the 80’s and 90’s basketball was a more physical game but people liked that when people would get into the paint and post it up, now it is like players only do fancy moves, dunk, or shoot 3’s. It takes an element out of the game and has taken a step backwards, Since the 90’s I think we (the NBA) lost fans because of it. Travels aren’t being called, ticky-tack fouls are being called instead.”
  12. What do you think about the idea of having your jersey number retired as a charlotte hornet at the new hive? Would you ever consider the idea? Are you kidding me, that would be unbelievable, now that’s a buzz right there. It speaks volumes of you influence and what the people and the community of how they felt your impact there and how it was after you left it. It would be amazing and it would be a huge honor. “
  13. What do you think about MJ bringing back the Hornets franchise back to Charlotte? “It’s fantastic, I am so glad they brought the Hornets name back to Charlotte. Even back in the day the first time around, the Hornets color, name, and logo were it.”
  14. Do you have any advice for the current Hornets? Especially for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist “MKG” and Gerald Henderson, who both play your position (Small Forward)? “Even when I came in with the Miami Heat we won like 17- 20m games, which wasn’t even close to playoffs. My advice to them is to just keep working hard and be positive, if they do that it will all come together. They need to keep fighting together because it won’t work if you only have clicks. It won’t change unless everyone has the same goal in common or if they play for themselves.”
  15. Do you think that there is a current Hornet that has potential to be an All-Star? “Everyone has the potential to be an all-star, I never thought I would it was never in my mindset. If you work hard and do everything you can to bring wins to the team then the potential is there for everyone. Right now don’t worry about being an all-star now and just try to do anything and everything you can to help the team improve. If you do that, then you can get wins, if you do that then you have the potential to be an All-Star.”
  16. What do you think the hornets need most in the draft and offseason? “It doesn’t need to be a guy that can score a lot of points, what they really need is more leadership. I am not saying that they don’t already have leadership, but leadership comes in many different ways and you can always use more. It could be someone who understands how to be vocal, but doesn’t score a lot. You can always use someone who can score, someone who can play defense, but I will tell you this I believe MJ knows this and will get the Hornets who they need. Hopefully whoever they pick will suit the needs of the team. When you look at the draft I don’t think there’s one player that can come in and take over, I think what they have now is a good core, but there is always room for another piece to the puzzle who can help out. They have a young team that is growing together and that is important. When you look at the draft over the past couple of years there has not been a whole lot impact all at once to change a program. The Hornets have all the right pieces, they just need to go into the offseason and train and it will come together.”
  17. Do you have a favorite NBA player you enjoy to watch now? “Kevin Durrant, because as tall as he is and does what he does, how he is handling the basketball and his shooting. He has been missed this year and I have liked watching him from day 1 that he has been in the league. When you talk about a humble player, he is it. Durrant is so modest, he is a great player but when he talked about his mom being the real MVP, he was so genuine. I always knew he was a good player and good person, but that just stamped it for me. He is just incredible, the real deal, a real MVP.”
  18. Is there anything you want to tell all Hornet Fans? “I want them to know that from day 1 to the day I left I appreciate every second I was there; they made me the player I was at that time because of their support. I think that if their support were any different, then the outcome would have been different. The fans made me want to work my butt off for them. I am so glad I had the opportunity to represent both the Charlotte Hornets and the fans.”

 

I will never forget going to my first game wanting to watch you play. To a 90’s kid, the NBA was life. There was no higher praise than playing as your favorite player in a video game or having their trading card at the top of the stack so all your friends could see it, or playing as them in a backyard pick-up game. Glen Rice was that for me, I know I was just a kid and it doesn’t seem like much, but if it wasn’t for Rice, Muggsy, Dell, Barron Davis, Alonzo, and Anthony Mason. I know for a fact I would not be the athlete, sports writer, fan, and man that I am today. Thank You for that.

The Charlotte Hornets Off-season

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The Charlotte Hornets Off-season by Brad Kirby

The first year return of the Charlotte Hornets ended in disappointment and many questions needing to be answered regarding the future of our team. At the beginning of the year, there were thoughts from our whole entire fan base that the Hornets were ready and set to explode into the spotlight. With the additions of Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, Brian Roberts, Jason Maxiell, our two draft picks Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston, and Mo Williams and Troy Daniels during the season, our confidence level as fans jumped very high going into opening night and throughout the whole entire season. From Opening night to the last home game, the fan base supported the Hornets the whole way to the finish line through the good times and the bad times. But now, the good times are approaching as the NBA draft and free agency signing period are coming up quickly.

The Hornets Players Contracts Heading into Next Year

As the Hornets have 67 million dollars overall, but 60 million dollars will be tied up in all of our players if Al Jefferson opts in. It would put the Hornets in a situation where the Hornets wouldn’t have a lot of money to spend in the offseason. Al Jefferson has recently stated to media that he has unfinished business here, so it looks as if he will be opting in his contract this summer. As the Hornets approach this offseason, the organization should look to cut, amnesty or trade players on the roster to free up cap space for this upcoming free agency period.The Hornets should look into many trades that consist of Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, or Gerald Henderson for trading away their contracts. I know people are wondering why Lance Stephenson isn’t on this list but I would give him one more chance to shine and if he can’t develop this next year at least you know you tried to make it work with a very skilled player. A draft night trade is what the Charlotte Hornets truly need to consider. Once the NBA lottery results come out, which hopefully will give us luck, the Hornets need to make a game plan on the draft right away and make a bold move on draft night. During the free agency, they also need to sign one big time player that will contribute any given night. 

The Scenarios on Draft Night from most likely to happen to least likely to happen

1. It’s the day of NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick in the NBA draft. The Hornets are on the clock and they select Stanley Johnson, freshmen small forward from the University of Arizona. Johnson has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA draft class as he is 6-7 and 237 pounds with a fast moving motor. He is a very athletic prospect who can shoot the 3 ball and finish strong around the rim. If they don’t select Stanley Johnson then they will go with Willie Cauley-Stein, junior from the University of Kentucky. He is a 7-0 and 240 pounds with top notch shot blocking ability and very high elevation of the floor which makes him an alley-oop machine. If Cauley-Stein can develop better post game presence then the sky is the limit for him. Patrick Ewing could help him in this area very well over the summer. Cauley-Stein could definitely be Al Jeffersons replacement in the future.

2. It’s the day of the NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick. The Hornets organization are eyeing down Justice Winslow, a 6-6 and 222 pound freshmen from Duke University, who has fallen past the fourth pick of the NBA draft. The team who has the 5th overall pick are about to receive a call from the Hornets that states that they will give up Cody Zeller, Gerald Henderson, our first round pick this year, and a future first round pick that is lottery protected for your 5th overall pick. The team accepts the deal and Justice Winslow becomes a Charlotte Hornet. The Hornets needed to draft a proven prospect that has all-star capability, that can finish around the rim, that can expand his jump shot and that has a motor that would pair well with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s. The Hornets are giving up many pieces but in the end it would be well worth it to draft Winslow.

3. It’s the day of the NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick. The Hornets organization are eyeing down Karl Anthony-Towns, a 6-11 and 250 pound freshmen from the University of Kentucky and Jahil Okafor, a 6-11 and 275 pound freshmen from Duke University. The Hornets are in big need of a replacement at the center position for the future. The trade the Hornets would propose would have to include Cody Zeller, Gerald Henderson, Al Jefferson, our first round pick, and a future first round pick for their first or second overall pick. The team the Hornets would propose this too would maybe not accept the deal but the Hornets need to at least give the trade a chance. If the Hornets draft Towns, the Hornets would be getting a player with major upside who dominated college basketball with his scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking at Kentucky. With Okafor, the Hornets would be getting a player who is drawing comparisons with our big man Al Jefferson. Okafor could come in with very polished skills and post moves that are hard to guard down low in the post. His defense would need some work but everyone has one flaw when you get to the next level.

Now to Free Agency where the Hornets solidify a team

The Charlotte Hornets last summer made a big splash in free agency for Lance Stephenson which hasn’t panned out too well so far. So what’s the Charlotte Hornets plan this year? The Hornets will not have too much cash to spend out of their pockets this year as they spent much money last summer. The Hornets will need to shed some of their contracts or it will be a very quiet free agency period in Charlotte. A very good fit for the Charlotte Hornets would be sharpshooter Danny Green who is currently playing for San Antonio Spurs. Green can spread the floor and hit any shot which is a very big weakness on this Hornets team. An intriguing option would be all-star Jimmy Butler but he will require a max deal this offseason so the Hornets would need to lessen the contracts of the players to make this work out. The Hornets also need to add a big man into the rotation. Bismack Biyombo needs to resigned immediately this summer once free agency begins. Other than Bismack, the Hornets need to look at guys in their affordable price range. The Hornets would for sure love a Paul Millsap or a Greg Monroe but that would be  a hard add with the amount of money tied up in our organization right now. I’m looking at Tyler Hansbrough, a proven pro and hard worker or Thomas Robinson, a young player that has very high potential. All the Hornets need are players to help this team so they can reach the next level. All of us as a fan base need to truly believe in the Hornets this offseason and get Charlotte buzzing for next year when we make a run to the playoffs and beyond.