The Charlotte Hornets only have a couple of days before the NBA Trade Deadline. Any deal that they have decided to try is most likely being discussed with the likely teams by telephone as you read this. While we have looked at a big need for the Hornets and options for swinging the fences, we have not looked at an important part of the puzzle. How much is the Hornets pick worth?
The Hornets get a first round pick in next year’s draft same as everyone else. It would be the asset that would tip any deal into fruition unless it is not desirable. The Hornets are in the trade market hoping to improve their standing from the eighth playoff spot. Any team trading with the Hornets and interested in the pick would have to assume the pick would only get worse from where we are now.
Of a course a team could hope that the Hornets would fall out of playoff contention. That would put the Hornets pick into the lottery. Situations like these are why teams put protections on draft picks like lottery protected or top 3 protected to cover themselves in a worst case scenario.
If the Hornets remain where they are in the eighth seed, their pick will be the seventeenth pick in the draft. It is just outside the lottery. According to NBADraft.net players that might go in the area of the seventeenth pick include Brice Johnson of North Carolina, Grayson Allen of Duke, Denzel Valentine of Michigan State, Demetrius Jackson of Notre Dame, Melo Trimble of Maryland, or Anthony Barber of NC State. Outside of Valentine, none of those players are a lock to fit Hornets needs next year.
Yet there might be another team that values those possible players. Or perhaps a team that values stockpiling picks to do another deal later on. As things stand, the Hornets pick is not attractive enough to close a deal by itself. Maybe as part of a package, but not by itself.
The Trade Deadline is February 18.