Our summer-long wait is nearly over.
Next Monday, October 2, the Charlotte Hornets and the rest of the NBA will hold a media day before kicking off training camp the following morning. As activity has slowly picked up around the league the last few days, a couple of interesting bits of Hornets news have trickled out.
But, before we get to that, we’ll just start from the top; Damian Lillard has been traded to Milwaukee as part of a three-team trade with the Bucks, Trail Blazers and Suns. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to break the news.
The Bucks seemingly came out of nowhere to pull off the biggest trade of the summer. For months, Lillard was destined for South Beach before some other teams entered the rumor mill recently; namely, the Toronto Raptors, but even the Hornets were included as a potential third team that could’ve landed Tyler Herro. In the end, none of those teams got in on the action.
The rumors that Phoenix was interested in offloading Deandre Ayton for Jusuf Nurkic were right on the mark. Ayton-for-Nurkic is a significant downgrade on-court for the Suns, but it’s long been rumored that Ayton’s teammates and coaches had soured on his attitude and demeanor. Adding depth across the board, plus a capable starter in Grayson Allen is a reasonable return for the former No. 1 pick.
What an uninspiring haul for Portland. On the surface, they traded Lillard for a 25-year-old center, a 33-year-old guard, an undrafted rookie, and just one future first-round pick.
Jrue Holiday could be flipped for more assets, but his value is greater to a contending team than a rebuilding one. How does Portland plan to extract maximum value from the Heat, Sixers, or other teams that don’t have many future first-rounders or rookie-scale players at their disposal? Time will tell, but the return appears lackluster for a franchise player who is arguably top-10 in the league and coming off the best offensive season of his career.
Alright, back to Charlotte.
The Associated Press’ Steve Reed spoke with Steve Clifford on September 26 and got a couple of notable quotes from the head coach. Let’s start with the bad news.
The news that Martin will be limited to start camp is the most worrisome. There’s a chance it’s for an injury unrelated to last season’s lingering knee problem, as Reed doesn’t directly mention that it is his knee, but it’s fair to assume the worst after the last year. Hopefully for his sake, he can heal up soon and continue his NBA career after a lost season in 2022-23.
McGowens being out is a lot less concerning, but it is unfortunate that he won’t be able to fight for an improved slot on the depth chart during camp. “A little bit” doesn’t sound like too serious of an ankle sprain, at least. No surprise that Williams is a full-go after thumb surgery during the offseason.
Always love to hear the head coach gassing up the new rookie. Brandon Miller’s deep-range efficiency as an on and off-ball player is a great fit for Clifford’s style of halfcourt offense, and it was evident on tape from his time at Alabama that he played with the energy and toughness Clifford desires from his players. Miller looks to be off to a good start in the Queen City.
Fair enough, coach. Bizarre might even be an understatement, but the most important thing is that whatever Kai Jones has been doing on social media lately isn’t fueled by something harmful. Reed goes on to mention that it’s unclear whether or not he will be present to start camp next week and that he has not been present at voluntary team workouts.
The other trade rumor kicking around in the mill right now is that Buddy Hield is on the block in Indiana. The veteran shooting guard is on an expiring $19.3M deal and is looking for a change of scenery after he and the Pacers were unable to agree to a contract extension.
Indiana has no incentive to move him right away, but plenty of contenders are bound to be interested in one of the league’s best 3-point shooters. Maybe the Hornets could get in on a Hield trade after the Lillard blockbuster came and went.
In other news, Bally Sports Southeast has added Terrence Oglesby to its broadcast crew as a live analyst for the Hornets. Oglesby, a Clemson alum and former pro hooper overseas and in the G League, comes in as a heavily experienced broadcaster. He’s worked with Bally, ESPN, FOX, CBS Sports and NBA TV, and has been a core contributor to college basketball media outlet, The Field of 68. As someone who has consumed his content with Field of 68 and listened to his broadcasts, I can say that Bally has added a very knowledgable basketball mind to its lineup.
That’s about all we’ve got until some more news pops up. Training camp is on the horizon — at this time next week, the Hornets’ preseason will be well underway.
P.S. let me know if there are any specific types of content you readers would like to see from me on At The Hive this season. With the independent site, we can freewheel a bit more than in years past. Film breakdowns, stat-focused player reviews, creative feature-style pieces, whatever pops to mind, feel free to let me know and I’ll try my best to make it happen.