Connect with us


NBA PM: Make Or Break Summer Ahead For Charlotte

The Hornets are riding high entering playoff season, but the team has pivotal free agency decisions ahead.

Lang Greene



Things are looking up in the Queen City, but a bad summer could stop all of their momentum

Barring an unforeseen collapse over the next eight games, the Charlotte Hornets (43-31) are poised to cap a successful season with an unexpected playoff berth. The Hornets have defied the odds this season despite Michael Kidd-Gilchrist appearing in just seven games and former All-NBA selection Al Jefferson missing half of the campaign battling a combination of injuries and Father Time.

The club has been spurred by the continued development of explosive guard Kemba Walker and resurgent bounce-back years from veterans Marvin Williams and Nicolas Batum. The club currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference standings and are just one game behind the Southeast Division leading Atlanta Hawks (currently third).

But as good as things are looking in Charlotte, the next few months will go a long way to see if they can sustain the success rate.

The team’s front office has plenty of questions to address once the offseason begins. While Walker is locked up through the 2018-19 campaign, Batum, Jefferson and Williams are headed to unrestricted free agency in July.

Jefferson has missed over 50 games since being selected to the All-NBA third team in 2014. While Jefferson is still a productive scorer in the post, the Hornets will have to decide if they want to invest in a long-term annual eight figure payday for the veteran. Jefferson has experienced declines in points, rebounds, minutes and games played in each season since 2014.

On the other hand, it remains a mystery if Batum views his long-term future in Charlotte.

The veteran forward is currently averaging 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 65 games this season. Last season, Batum managed to play 71 contests, but was limited to 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists in an injury-plagued campaign.

To his credit, knowing he will be a top target this summer, Batum hasn’t let his looming free agency status become a distraction to the team.

“I’ve been around teams where people think about their contract and their personal situation. I can’t understand that,” Batum said, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “With this team, we know if we do great as a team, if we all do our jobs, everything will work out.”

Rounding out the key decisions for Charlotte’s front office is the fate of Williams. The former University of North Carolina standout was a part-time starter a year ago, but has emerged as a starter in every game he’s appeared in this season. Williams has also knocked down a career-high 135 three-pointers on 40 percent shooting from deep, which will undoubtedly make him an attractive target in a league that values frontcourt perimeter threats.

Williams’ return could hinge on the health of Kidd-Gilchrist and the continued development of Charlotte’s youthful big men Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky.

The Hornets have continued to defy the odds and remain relevant heading into playoff time. But the team’s long-term possibilities for emerging into the league’s elite will likely come down to how they execute at the negotiating table come July.

Despite struggles, the Cavaliers are still in command of the Eastern Conference

The Golden State Warriors (68-7) and San Antonio Spurs (63-12) currently sit head and shoulders above the rest of the league. But the Cleveland Cavaliers (53-22) own the league’s third-best record and are overwhelming favorites to, at the very least, reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Cavaliers have been the definition of a roller coaster, as teams at the top go. The Cavaliers have demonstrated the ability to play with the top teams, but have also lost to inferior teams at a surprising clip.

Cleveland is two and a half games ahead of the Toronto Raptors in the standings for the first spot in the East, but are just 6-4 over their last 10 contests. The Cavs’ ability to hold off Toronto, despite their struggles, comes as a shock to star guard Kyrie Irving.

“Everything surrounding our team, [it’s] just crazy to think that we’re still in first place and we’re still the team to beat, honestly,” Irving said, according to ESPN. “Regardless of what anybody else says of what we need and what we don’t need and what we need to get better at – us, internally, we know that we have to improve on a lot of things, but we’ve just got to handle business as professionals and continue to get better.”

Irving is averaging 20 points per game since the All-Star break and has increased his minute workload to around 32.5 per appearance (after averaging 29 before the All-Star break).

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders



From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to:


Continue Reading


#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz



With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

Continue Reading

Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler



What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:


Continue Reading
American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries



Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now