Charlotte Hornets: Depending Too Much on Expiring Deals?


The Charlotte Hornets defeated the Miami Heat last by a good margin, 99-81. Their leading scorer was Marvin Williams with eighteen points. Their shooting guard, Nicolas Batum, gained his first triple double of the season with ten points, eleven rebounds, and eleven assists. The question for you to answer is what do they have in common?

What they have in common is that they are playing on the last year of their contracts. This is also true for Jeremy Lin, who could opt out of his deal at the end of the season. Lin only scored five against the Heat, but has reliably scored near double figures all season long.

It is also true of Al Jefferson, though the big suffered another reverse in this season. Jefferson already had an injury that was keeping him out. Now the League itself has suspended Jefferson for five games when he is medically cleared to play. Injury and drug questions can’t be good for Jefferson’s future negotiations or possibly his future at all with the Hornets.

The absence of Jefferson has revealed how much the team is relying on Williams and Batum in this suddenly open concept offense. And neither Williams nor Batum are under contract for next year. Throw Lin in there and the Hornets may have to spend a fair amount of money to retain their current roster.

So the short term effect of contract uncertainty is a good thing for the 2015 Charlotte Hornets. It will pull career years out of Batum and probably Williams. The problem will be the 2016 Hornets. Will these same characters bring their A games when they are suddenly paid already? If they don’t, next year’s team will be a disappointment.

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The Hornets have some experience with this. Kemba Walker signed his extension last year and has played at a high level so far this year. Jeremy Lamb got a three year deal done and continues to produce as well.

The big question mark here is ultimately Batum who has become the main cog for the offense. Batum’s level of play should remain high if his usage remains high, even if he gets a huge contract next year. The problem that Portland had after signing Batum to his first fat contract was lack of usage. Damian Lillard had the ball and Batum was denied his beautiful game.

Next: Quick Look at Playoff Picture

Jefferson suddenly becomes a question mark in this discussion too. Will he be brought back? That deserves its own discussion.

The Charlotte Hornets are back in action in Memphis against the Grizzlies tomorrow.