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Free Agent Targets for the Charlotte Hornets

Looking at potential free agent targets for the Hornets
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NBA Free Agency is upon us and the Hornets have a lot of decisions to make. Obviously, the most important is bringing back Miles Bridges, who is a restricted free agent. The Hornets have a couple of other decisions to make as well with RFA - Cody Martin, UFA - Isaiah Thomas, and UFA - Montrezl Harrell. There's quite a difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent. A restricted free agent could sign an offer sheet with any other team, but the original team could match the contract and the player would stay at it's current team. An unrestricted free agent can sign with any team they want to and the team they were on at the time can't do anything to change that. With all that being said, let's take a look at potential free agents the Hornets could target. 

The Hornets have a BAE ($4.2 per year) and a full MLE (10.2 per year) to spend if they want to. 

The MLE otherwise known as the mid-level exception allows teams to sign players without it hurting their cap space or luxury tax. 

The BAE otherwise known as the bi-annual exception is one of the assets available for teams who are over the cap. 

Free Agent Targets

C - Isaiah Hartenstein - Projected $8-12 per year

Hartenstein's a name that doesn't really stand out to the casual NBA fan, but he is a really underrated center. He didn't start a single game this past season for the Los Angeles Clippers, however he put up good numbers off the bench (8.3 PPG, 4.9 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.1 BLK). Hartenstein is only 24 years of age and offers a lot of size at 7 feet tall. It's unclear what Hartenstein's salary would look like, but he should definitely be a target for the Hornets in free agency.

SF - Otto Porter Jr - Projected $4-8 per year

Otto Porter Jr could be a very sneaky target for the Hornets. Otto was a vital part of the Warriors championship run and is a perfect 3&D player that the Hornets should absolutely look to sign. The Warriors most likely will be unable to retain Porter Jr (due to wanting more money), which could leave the door open for the Hornets to make a run at Porter. Porter shot 37.0% from three during the regular season for the Warriors, while averaging 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. 

C - Mo Bamba - Projected $8-11 per year

Mo Bamba is an intriguing free agent option for the Hornets. It's unclear whether the Hornets would want to target Bamba, but recently it appears that it is unlikely that the Magic will tender a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, which means the Magic can't match any of the deals for the young big man. Mo averaged over 10 points a game for the Magic and over 8 rebounds a game, including 1.7 blocks per game. Steve Clifford coached Mo Bamba, but Mo didn't receive much playing time from Clifford. 

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SG - Victor Oladipo - Projected $5-12 per year

Oladipo could be another player the Hornets might have interest in during free agency. Obviously, health is a concern as Oladipo has missed a ton of games over the last couple of seasons. However, if he can stay healthy it could certainly pay off for the Hornets. With his injury concerns it makes Oladipo less spendable. He struggled shooting in the playoffs for Miami, but he played tremendous defense, which is definitely an area the Hornets struggled with last season. 

SF/PF - Kyle Anderson - Projected $8-11 per year

"Slo Mo" as most people know him is a really solid defensive player and could be an ideal fit for the Hornets off the bench. Last season for Memphis, Anderson struggled shooting from the line and from three, but if he could rebound similar to his 2020-2021 season, then it would be an underrated pickup for Charlotte. In the 2020-2021 season Anderson averaged over 12 points a game, with almost 6 rebounds a game, to go along with these shooting splits (46.8% Field Goal, 36.0% 3-Point, 78.3% Free Throw). 

SG - Gary Harris - Projected $8-11 per year

PGary Harris just feels like a perfect fit for the Hornets. Gary is a tremendous shooter and good defender, who could offer the Hornets some veteran experience. Harris also went to college at Michigan State, which would be a cool fit obviously, if the Hornets retain Miles Bridges as expected. Harris last season for Orlando averaged just over 11 points a game with impressive shooting splits (43.4% Field Goal, 38.4% 3-Point, 87.4% Free Throw). The Hornets could use some shooting depth to the roster. 

PG - Delon Wright - Projected $5-8 per year

The Hornets could use some backup point guard depth and Delon Wright would be a perfect behind LaMelo Ball. Delon is a good defender for a point guard and shoots the ball at a good percentage. His stats don't jump out at you, but he can really do it all. Whether it's passing, shooting, or defending he gets it done. Look for the Hornets to add another point guard to the mix to backup LaMelo Ball. 

PG - Tyus Jones - Projected $10-14 per year

Tyus Jones is most likely an option for the Hornets this off-season that could be unlikely. Tyus will probably want to be a starting point guard for some NBA team, but if the Hornets could get him to buy in to be the backup point guard to Lamelo, it would be a terrific signing for Charlotte. Tyus Jones went to college at Duke so it would be a nice reunion if it were to happen. 

C- Nicolas Claxton - RFA - Projected $8-14 per year

Nicolas Claxton is an interesting option for the Hornets in free agency. He is a good shot blocker and can finish at the rim effectively. He could be another player for LaMelo Ball that could catch his lobs and score inside the paint. Obviously, being restricted might make it more difficult for the Hornets to get a deal done with the 23 year old center. Claxton struggled majorly in the playoffs at the free throw line (18.2%), which is definitely a major concern going forward. 

PG/SG - Gary Payton II - Projected $7-10 per year

Gary Payton has a pretty cool story of how he got to the NBA from the G-League. He is a terrific pesky defender and at 6'3 is very athletic for his size. Gary Payton most likely will stay loyal to Golden State, but if Golden State isn't interested in bringing him back, Charlotte would be a good fit for Payton. 

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