Crazier things have happened.
Still, when the Charlotte Hornets trade their top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, veteran guard Terry Rozier, and veteran forward Gordon Hayward in a three-team blockbuster involving the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.
Said trade would require the Lakers to want to blow it up, seeing a future with their current franchise cornerstones to be one with unappealing endings.
In fact, there’s already speculation that Anthony Davis is on hot coals in L.A. There’s a legitimate chance that they do move him this offseason if the end to their regular season or playoff run is disappointing enough,
If so, the Hornets should be one of the first teams calling.
Not just because L.A. could be tempted to move Davis regardless. Thanks to his uninspiring injury history, and the potential to add a player they’ve been trying to get for a year, this is a trade that might only need the right incentivization.
Here’s why trading their top overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft is a move that the Hornets must make in the offseason.
1 perfect NBA trade Hornets must make in 2023 offseason
Given the legal situation with Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington’s impending free agent status, there could be a major hole at power forward moving forward.
If the Lakers are perceptive to moving him, he would instantly be the best big man in Hornets history.
Not just Charlotte Hornets history either.
Davis’ excellence with the New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the New Orleans Hornets) shouldn’t be forgotten though his time in L.A. may have clouded many people’s memory.
His length, athleticism, three-level scoring, defensive ability, and basketball IQ don’t come around every day, and he’s truly so good that a good young player could only hope to live up to him as an NBA draft comparison.
That said, he’s frequently injured and hasn’t always been a model teammate.
Anthony Davis’ Fit With Hornets
Nonetheless, in Charlotte, Davis would be the best overall player on the team and have a chance to lead them in their post Michael Jordan-era. He may prefer being on a championship team but there’s potential for the Hornets to at least make noise in the playoffs with him on board.
Charlotte might be tanking right now amid the absence of Bridges and injury to star guard LaMelo Ball. Still, they finished 10th in the Eastern Conference last season after going 43-29. Had they advanced through the play-in tournament, they would have made the playoffs.
Speaking of Ball, there’s a chance that he and Davis can bring out the best in one another.
LaMelo is an electric passer that can zip the ball over the court, a big man’s dream. Davis, with his ability to impact shots around the rim, allows Ball to use his 6-foot-7 frame more at the perimeter. Taking more gambles and taking away ball-handlers space at the point-of-attack with the confidence that Davis and starting center can make up for his mistakes if he gets beat, the Hornets could be an aggressive defense under head coach Steve Clifford.
While they’ll be giving up savvy playmakers in Rozier and Hayward that impact the game in multiple ways on both ends, Rozier incentives the Mavs to trade Kyrie Irving to L.A. to complete the deal. Hayward also fulfills this purpose, though the fact that he’ll only have one season remaining on his contract is another reason to move him while he can.
Will The Lakers Make The Trade?
Although the Lakers might consider a trade for Kyrie involving A.D., they’re unlikely to make this type of mood straight-up even if offered. Irving’s trade value has diminished across the league due to his off-court behavior and the media circus that surrounds him. In addition, though Irving is a more skilled scorer, Davis is an important defender for L.A.
That said, with the Hornets trading what will likely be a top-four pick to the Lakers in this scenario, Charlotte will be receiving L.A.’s 2023 first-round pick. That pick, which they’ll receive from the Pelicans, is currently projected to be the 17th overall pick.
With Davis and a near lottery talent on board, it’s as close to any even trade as any of the involved teams can ask for. Especially with the number of draft night steals teams could have in a draft that’s surprisingly strong throughout the first round.
This is a move that could still spell the beginning of the end of the Lakers, as LeBron James will reach free agency in 2024. Yet, that’s similar to another reason that L.A. could make the trade.
James is unlikely to play for the Lakers for the rest of his career, however long that will be for the 38-year-old. Drafting a player with a top-four pick could leave them with a player that’s not only capable of being third or fourth fiddle for the Lakers but of eventually becoming the face of the franchise.
The Hornets may want more young talent, especially with new ownership in town.
But why stretch out the rebuild?
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