It’s the first of three exit strategies that the NBA is considering for the Charlotte Hornets, the team announced Wednesday.
The move will likely cost the Hornets about $4 million in salary cap space for next season, which is a bit higher than their current salary cap.
But the Hornets are looking to build on the success of last year, when they signed free agents like Kemba Walker and Courtney Lee, as well as a pair of young veterans in Al Jefferson and Mike Scott.
The Hornets have made some moves in free agency in the past couple of seasons.
They drafted and signed Chris Copeland and Marcus Camby, respectively, in free agents deals in the first round, and they signed Gerald Henderson to a long-term deal in the second round.
The team has made other moves in recent years, signing two former All-Stars in Nicolas Batum and DeAndre Jordan to long-time deals and re-signing their own former All, Marvin Williams, in a deal that is still under consideration.
While the Hornets have a lot of assets to work with at the deadline, they are looking for a long term solution in order to help them contend for another title.
The team also could have an opportunity to add a star, if it chooses to do so.
Hornets President/CEO Steve Mills said the Hornets want to build around the players that will help them win more games, but also make the franchise stronger.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to help the franchise get to the next level, but it’s also about trying to help our players succeed and make us the best basketball team in the NBA,” Mills said.
“It’s about winning championships.
We know that.
We’ve been in this business for 30 years.
We can get better.”
As part of the plan, Mills said he’s looking at what could happen if the team was able to trade away its first-round pick, its second-round selection and its 2019 first-rounder, which would leave the team with about $20 million in cap space.
He said that if a deal could be reached to move away its second pick and move away from Charlotte, then the team would likely consider trading its 2019 second-rounder and 2019 first round pick as well.
He didn’t provide any specifics as to what a trade would look like.
“If we could trade our 2019 second round pick, we would definitely consider that,” Mills told reporters.
“But if it comes to that, I don’t think we would trade it, but I think we’d consider it.
But it’s something that we’ll continue to evaluate.”
The Hornets will have to fill some of those needs with the additions of free agents, but the team has already made some additions with the signings of the aforementioned two players.
The club also signed two other players to long term deals, which they’ll need to make up for if the Hornets don’t have enough cap space to match what they’ll have in salary.
Jordan is a five-time All-Star who is averaging 23.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the last two seasons, according to NBA.com.
Scott has also established himself as a player that can defend multiple positions on the court.
He averaged 14.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season, per Basketball Reference.
The 6-foot-8 guard averaged 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in his first two seasons with the Hornets, and he will add some more experience and a veteran presence.
Scott will also have a more dynamic scoring style that he was able as a point guard, and Mills said that will be a huge asset for the team in free agent signings.
“He’s a big, physical scorer.
He’s not going to get away from you, but he can score in transition,” Mills explained.
“So he’ll be an upgrade.”
The team also signed veteran guard Dario Saric, who is one of the best big men in the league.
Saric is averaging 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game over the last four seasons.
Saric was a member of the Miami Heat for five seasons and also spent a few seasons in the European league.
Sarcic is coming off a season in which he averaged 14 points and 9.4 boards, while shooting 51.5 percent from the field and 53.7 percent from three-point range.
He also played for Greece, where he averaged 7.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.