The Charlotte Hornets could benefit if the Brooklyn Nets got through with buying out Joe Johnson.
The Charlotte Hornets got beat last night by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the third game of their five game road trip. The Cavs represent a team that has good size at each of the guard positions with Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, and LeBron James. The Hornets ran into some trouble in stretches where Jeremy Lin came on as the shooting guard and J.R. Smith would simply shoot over him.
Playing smaller lineups has been a feature of the Hornets all season with Jeremy Lin seeing time at the two guard and Jeremy Lamb seeing time at small forward. Offensively there is not much wrong with that, but defensively it offers exploitable matchups. How should the Hornets handle the times when Courtney Lee is not on the court? Nicolas Batum looks the part of a small forward, but you really want him fresh for the offense.
With the trade deadline passed, there should not be a way to add another wing to provide a bigger body behind Lee. Yet there may be just such an option. The Brooklyn Nets are talking buyout with swingman Joe Johnson. Johnson is 6’6” and 238 lbs. He would at least look the part in a Steve Clifford defense scheme. With the variety of men the Hornets play, Johnson’s offensive struggles would not even be that big of a deal.
His ‘struggles’ by the way are good enough for twelve points and four assists per game. This is definitely an upgrade from P.J. Hairston territory. His 38% three point percentage would fit right at home with what the rest of the team does.
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The issue is cost. Johnson will be highly sought after by a number of teams looking to improve their playoff positioning. The Cavs made inquiries before the deadline, and there is interest from other teams like the Celtics, Heat, Hawks, Thunder, and Raptors according to reports by James Herbert of CBS Sports. Several of those teams (read OKC and Cleveland) are probably better shots at a title than Charlotte at this moment.
So Joe, ignore those others and come to the togetherness environment of Charlotte. We need you more. The Hornets play the Indiana Pacers tomorrow night.