Charlotte Hornets: Rich Cho’s Tricks of the Trade
After the recent trade for Miles Plumlee, has Rich Cho made yet another great trade deal? Or is this one too much of a risk for the Charlotte Hornets?
The Charlotte Hornets recently traded Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes to the Milwaukee Bucks for Miles Plumlee, a questionable move that wasn’t exactly received with open arms by the Hornet’s fan base. But if you look back at what General Manager Rich Cho has done in the past, it’s clear that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to trading for players.
Cho and Coach Clifford have a good idea of what style of basketball they want to play, and which players will fit that mold. Although his drafting track record is questionable, his ability to execute four beneficial trades is what has kept the Hornets fairly competitive during his tenure. Could the Plumlee trade be the next season-defining trade the Hornets need?
February 10, 2015: Charlotte Hornets trade with Minnesota Timberwolves
Give: Gary Neal (SG), 2019 Second Round Pick
Why: With Kemba Walker down for an extended period of time with knee surgery, Rich Cho went out and got Mo Williams as an interim point guard, adding a developmental player as well in Troy Daniels. By only giving up Gary Neal and a late pick, there wasn’t a considerable downside to the trade.
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Williams gave the Hornets a scoring threat at the 1 spot while Kemba rehabbed, and scored 17.2 PPG and 6 APG, giving the team a dependable backup point guard when Kemba did return later that season. Troy Daniels spent two more seasons with the team, shooting 48% from three and averaging 6.5 PPG.
June 25, 2015: Charlotte Hornets trade with Portland Trailblazers
Receive: Nicolas Batum (SG/SF)
Why: In an extremely risky move, Rich Cho sought out perimeter scoring and defense to make up for the lack of a three-point threat the past few seasons. He gave up a developmental recent first-round draft pick, and Gerald Henderson, an improving wing but with limited upside. Nic Batum stepped in right away as an impact starter and now is inked to a five-year contract to be a franchise player for the Hornets.
Henderson and Vonleh have both been average in Portland, and Henderson later signed with the Philadelphia 76ers. This trade was the first time that I really took notice of the trading ability Rich Cho had, as his risky move panned out, leading one to believe that the front office saw issues with Vonleh and Henderson that the rest of the fanbase did not. Although it was an incredibly risky move, it paid off in a big way.
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June 25, 2015: Charlotte Hornets trade with Oklahoma City Thunder
Receive: Jeremy Lamb (SG)
Give: Luke Ridnour (PG) and second-round draft pick
Why: In another move to add perimeter shooting, Cho sent a player recently acquired to land Jeremy Lamb, a 2012 first-round pick from the Thunder (and Kemba Walker’s college teammate). Lamb has struggled with injuries but when healthy has been a great scoring option with the second unit, giving the team a spark when needed.
Ridnour was quickly traded and ended up retiring altogether soon thereafter. This season, Lamb has averaged 9.0 PPG when healthy, as well as 4.7 RPG. Altogether, this has proven to be a fantastically one-sided trade in the advantage of the Hornets, giving them a solid scoring option off the bench.
February 16, 2016: Charlotte Hornets trade with Memphis Grizzlies
Receive: Courtney Lee (SG)
Give: P.J. Hairston (SG) and two draft picks
Why: Rich Cho sought to gain another perimeter shooter/defender before the trade deadline, and got an established veteran in Courtney Lee. He gave up P.J. Hairston, a first-round pick only two years earlier, for a player entering a contract year. This calculated risk proved to pay major dividends for the Hornets, as Lee averaged 8.9 PPG while shooting 39% from three.
He also played a major role defensively, as the day the Hornets traded for him, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was announced to be out for the rest of the season with a second torn labrum. Although Lee left after one season, he played a prominent role, especially in the playoff series against Miami, for the Hornets.
February 2nd, 2017: Charlotte Hornets trade with Milwaukee Bucks
Receive: Miles Plumlee (PF/C)
Give: Spencer Hawes (C) and Roy Hibbert (C)
While the verdict is still out on this deal and it will take some time until we know the true ramifications of it, the Charlotte Hornets’ fans should have faith in the moves Rich Cho makes. He has been solid in recent years so there is no reason to think that this trade is going to hurt the team in the long run. Of Course, we will all have to wait and see.