Tuesday night the Charlotte Hornets traded Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and the 41st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to Atlanta for Dwight Howard and the 31st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Sources: Charlotte is sending Miles Plumlee, Marco Belenelli and 41st pick to Atlanta for Dwight Howard and 31st pick.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 21, 2017
For Charlotte, this move does a few things. It gives Charlotte a tremendous shot blocker inside. Charlotte’s team defensive ranking fell from 7th a season ago to 20th this past year. Howard will certainly improve that ranking. Howard was very successful in Orlando where Steve Clifford was an assistant. Clifford has long raved about Howard and has wanted to acquire him for awhile. He knows what schemes will maximize Howard’s abilities. The trade also allows the team to rectify one of its biggest mistakes of last season…acquiring Miles Plumlee. While Marco’s shot making will be missed, it is better long term for his minutes to go to the younger Jeremy Lamb. Charlotte also moves from the 41st pick to the 31st pick. That is a very valuable pick as it is the highest non guaranteed pick in the draft. The team could get a valuable player on the cheap, or have an important trade asset.
The trade does raise questions. It does not appear that Howard and Cody Zeller will play well together on the floor as neither has much shooting range. Zeller could be a very good backup, keeping Howard fresh for the long season, or he could be moved for another player or pick. Also, this acquisition raises their team salary for 2017-2018 dangerously close to the luxury tax line. The trade probably means the team will not bring back Sessions on his option or use the mid-level exception. There will be a need for backup point guard, as well as depth issues at the wing spot. All this puts even more pressure on the Hornets for Thursday Night.
Charlotte made a big move Tuesday night and it does not appear they are done! It will be an exciting week!