Charlotte Hornets seek backup point guard, frontcourt depth

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.comJune 21, 2014 

Shooting might be the Charlotte Hornets’ most obvious need, but it isn’t the only one. They have to fill the backup point guard spot, and general manager Rich Cho would like to add frontcourt depth.

• If the Hornets choose to use one of their first-round picks (Nos. 9 and 24) on a point guard, three names worth noting are UCLA’s Zach LaVine, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Elfrid Payton and Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier. LaVine and Payton would both offer a bigger complement to 6-foot-1 starter Kemba Walker. Napier in both height and style of play is much like Walker.

• If the Hornets use a first-round pick on a big man, three names of note: Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, Michigan State’s Adreian Payne and European center Jusuf Nurkic. Gordon will likely be gone before the ninth pick. Payne could be insurance beyond Cody Zeller, should Josh McRoberts leave in free-agency.

• If the Hornets address the point guard situation in free-agency, here are three names that could make sense: Kirk Hinrich, Steve Blake and ex-Bobcat Ramon Sessions. Sessions made it clear after he was traded to Milwaukee that he’d enjoy signing again in Charlotte.

• If the Hornets need another big body, ex-Bobcat Jeff Adrien is an unrestricted free agent and has been working out almost daily at the Hornets’ practice facility.

• Beyond this draft, the Hornets no longer owe any team a future first-round pick, nor are they owed a first-round pick by any other team.

• It’s difficult to project where the Hornets will stand salary cap-wise in the summer of 2015, when many of their own core players might become free agents. Walker would be a restricted free agent then as would small forward Jeff Taylor. Gary Neal will be an unrestricted free agent, and Al Jefferson and Gerald Henderson will each have the option to void the 2015-16 season from his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.

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