Five Potential Mid-Season Trade Targets for the Charlotte Hornets

Dec 23, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum (5) in the second half at Spectrum Center. The Hornets defeated the Bulls 103-91. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 23, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum (5) in the second half at Spectrum Center. The Hornets defeated the Bulls 103-91. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

With a number of great players on the trading block around the NBA this season, a mid-season trade could help the Charlotte Hornets strengthen their squad.

The Charlotte Hornets have had a so-so first half to the 2016-17 NBA season but a mid-season trade could turn them into legit contenders in the Eastern Conference. As the February 23rd trade deadline draws closer, more and more players are becoming available. Of course, it would take a lot of valuable assets to acquire a big time player but at the right cost, the team could get a player that could make an immediate impact.

Charlotte has stockpiled draft picks and has a number of tradable assets on their roster. A trade is not out of the question for them, especially considering that Rich Cho is a master of deals. After trading for key players like Nicolas Batum, Courtney Lee, and Marco Belinelli just in the last two seasons, another impactful trade could be on the way this season as well.

The team has all of their first-round picks until 2024 and all of their second rounders except for their 2018 one. (RealGM.com) That gives them the flexibility to make a move without risking too much of their future like the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks did. With the team’s average start, they will definitely be looking to get better through a mid-season deal.

Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and maybe Cody Zeller are the only players that are untouchable on the Hornets’ roster this season. Everyone else can be traded. Although, Charlotte won’t be sellers. They will be buyers and they will be looking for players to strengthen their team.

This time of year is when trade talks begin to heat up and multiple rumors start to swirl around teams and players.

Here are five players that the Charlotte Hornets should think about making a move for this season before the trade deadline:

Jan 17, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 17, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

5. Wilson Chandler

The Denver Nuggets aren’t a very good team this season and it looks like they are having a fire sale with their roster. Aside from key young players, the rest of the team seems available. Chandler is one of their better players but at 29-years of age, they want to go in a younger direction.

Wilson is averaging 16.2 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game. After missing all of last season, he has bounced back this year to play in 34 games and start 12 of them. He is averaging over 30 minutes per game and seems to have regained his form.

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Chandler is reportedly one of a number of Nuggets’ players on the trading block this season. The longer he remains on the team, the more likely he is to get traded because Denver will be willing to ship him without getting a big return. Charlotte has the players and picks to make a move for Wilson before the trade deadline.

ESPN’s Trade Machine says that trading Michael Kidd-Gilchrist straight up for Chandler works financially. It could also work for both teams. The Nuggets get younger at small forward while the Hornets get better immediately. Many will argue that MKG is a better player than Wilson but Denver’s wing gives Charlotte better shooting and not a big drop off on defense.

It would be difficult to part with MKG as he is still a young player with potential but there is no doubt that Chandler would positively impact the Hornets upon arrival.

Apr 1, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) in the game against the Miami Heat in the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Miami won 112-106. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 1, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) in the game against the Miami Heat in the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Miami won 112-106. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

4. Rudy Gay

This has been a move that I have mentioned here and there since the offseason. The Sacramento Kings are a mess and Rudy Gay isn’t likely to stay past this season as he has a player option for next year. Sacramento should be looking to trade him as a number of teams have reportedly been interested in the past and still are currently.

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While the Hornets haven’t been linked to Gay, he could be a big pick up for them if they want to get a strong offensive small forward. Of course, there is no guarantee that he will stay past this season but ESPN’s trade machine shows that a straight up trade involving MKG would work. Charlotte would lose defense at the cost of becoming a better shooting team with a better isolation scorer at a key wing position.

Gay is averaging 18.4 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game this season. He is 30-years old so it would make the Hornets much older but it would also give them experience. The biggest question would be the team’s willingness to part with MGK and give up a defensive stopper for a volume scorer.

Jan 10, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets center Frank Kaminsky III (44) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 10, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets center Frank Kaminsky III (44) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

3. Danilo Gallinari

Another Denver Nuggets’ player that is one the trading block is Gallinari. He is the leading scorer for his team this season at 17.1 points per game. At 6’10, he can play both forward spots but having him at small forward would strengthen that position offensively for the Hornets.

Danilo is a 37% three-point shooter this season so he has the ability to spread the floor for Charlotte while also giving them height on both ends. Galo has the ability to create his own shot and would help take some of the offensive load off of Kemba Walker.

According to ESPN’s Trade Machine, MKG for Danilo straight up works but the Hornets would likely have to throw in a first round pick to get the deal done. Galo has two years left on his contract as it runs through the 2017-18 season. He could be a building block for Charlotte and help build a solid core around Kemba, Batum, and Gallinari.

Danilo is clearly a better scorer than MKG and while they could lose some defense with the move, the long-term and short-term impacts of the deal would benefit the Hornets. Gallinari is one of the more underrated small forwards in the NBA and I believe that having him on the team would make Charlotte better.

Oct 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) boxes out Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) boxes out Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

2. Paul Millsap

We have all heard about Paul Millsap being traded this season. He is one of, if not, the biggest name on the trading block. While the Atlanta Hawks have reportedly taken him off the block, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be traded before the deadline.

There were already looking to move him but Atlanta’s a team that has always asked for too much in deals in the past. That could be the case here. As the trade deadline draws closer, they will be more open to moving him for less because it is almost certain that he will leave or at least entertain the idea once he hits free agency this summer.

Paul is averaging 17.6 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, and 3.8 assists per game so far this season. He is one of the most versatile big men in the league and would be a definite upgrade over Marvin Williams who has struggled a bit this year. He wouldn’t come cheap but if the Hornets could pull off a deal, it would make them a legit contender in the East.

A combination of Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lamb for Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr., who the Hawks are also looking to trade, would work according to RealGM.com. Charlotte would obviously need to throw in a first-round pick to complete the deal and maybe even two or a second rounder. The team has a number and they haven’t been successful drafters in recent time so it wouldn’t be that big of a gamble.

Jan 2, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum (5) drives around Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 2, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum (5) drives around Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jimmy Butler

This is the dream trade scenario for the Charlotte Hornets. Any team would love to get Jimmy G Buckets but the Chicago Bulls will want a lot in return for their budding superstar. Luckily, Charlotte may have the assets and the draft picks to get a deal completed.

Here’s a blockbuster trade for you courtesy of ESPN’s trade machine:

MKG, Jeremy Lamb, and Frank Kaminsky for Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic.

Throw in two first round pick from the Hornets and Jimmy could be in Charlotte wearing purple and teal.

The Bulls reportedly put Butler on the trade block earlier this season and he could be had “for the right price.” Jimmy has been playing at a near MVP level so Chicago probably doesn’t want to trade their best player.  While a trade might be improbable, Charlotte could package a deal that would spark their interest with young players and a few first round picks.

While all of these deals are just speculation, the Charlotte Hornets will surely be active, as they always are, at the trade deadline this season. A mid-season deal could swing the team in a positive way just as it did last year. Keep an eye on Woj as the rumors are sure to be flying.

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