We’re now over two weeks into NBA free agency, and the Charlotte Hornets have been…patient to this point. They’ve signed LaMelo Ball to an extension while Miles Bridges took his qualifying offer. No outside free agents have been signed, and restricted free agent PJ Washington is still hanging out in free agency. Apparently the two sides have made progress on a new contract, but it’s still possible that Washington just signs the qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Assuming Washington returns, the Hornets will have one open roster spot with Amari Bailey on a two way and James Nnaji staying with Barcelona for the season. The pickings are pretty slim, so let’s see what’s still out there. The Hornets are reportedly on the hunt for a backup point guard with Dennis Smith leaving for Brooklyn, so that’s where we’ll focus our attention.
Dosunmu is a restricted free agent, which it makes it much trickier to acquire him. He’s a defense-first guard that’s a little shakier on the offensive end of the floor. The Hornets need more grit and defense in the middle part of the roster, so it’s a great fit. We saw how much of an impact Dennis Smith Jr. made as a similar player last season. However, the Bulls have space to match any reasonable offer. The Hornets would have to hope that the presence of Alex Caruso and Jevon Carter would deter the Bulls from investing more money into defenders at the position.
Nunn is probably more of a combo guard than a true point, but again, pickings are slim right now. He hasn’t been able to reclaim the form that made him first team all rookie with the Heat in 2020, but he’s still not bad. He’s a high usage, sixth-man type. The Hornets had a hard time scoring with bench players last season, so they could look to Nunn to help with that, though it probably comes at a cost to the defense.
Hill is getting old, but he still has a little bit of gas in the tank. He’s an above average defender and very good outside shooter. He probably can’t be relied on to play heavy minutes in a full 82 game slate, but he’s a good locker room guy and can run the offense for spot minutes when needed. He can also play off other guards as a spot up shooter if the Hornets want to put the ball in the hands of one of their better ball handling wings.
This one seems a little more farfetched since Wall is probably more likely to look for a title contender to land with. He worked out for NBA teams a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been quiet ever since. The Hornets could try to lure him with the hometown calling, but that rarely seems to work. Wall is far from the player he used to be, but he’s still not a bad player to have in the rotation. He has a great deal of experience the younger players can lean on, and he’s still capable of putting out some big games from time to time. He’d offer another facilitator off the bench and would basically be a souped up version of Ish Smith from a couple of seasons ago.
It’s admittedly not a great list. The Hornets are probably better off playing the trade market to land a guy like Delon Wright or something. Hopefully they do something soon. The uncertainty is no fun.