February 11, 2023
Photo: Chuck Burton / AP
For the first time in a handful of years, the Charlotte Hornets were positioned to be sellers at the trade deadline. General manager Mitch Kupchak and his front office staff took advantage of the opportunity and moved off a couple expiring contracts, dealing Jalen McDaniels and Mason Plumlee.
OFFICIAL: We have acquired a 2023 second-round draft pick from the Philadelphia 76ers, a 2027 second-round draft pick from the Portland Trail Blazers and forward Svi Mykhailiuk from the New York Knicks.
🔗: https://t.co/N8fMbqnWbY pic.twitter.com/ALwgdhggw6
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) February 10, 2023
McDaniels was the first to go, being dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers alongside a 2024 second-round pick in a three-team deal. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Charlotte’s involvement in the trade that also sent Matisse Thybulle to Portland while the Hornets recouped Ukrainian small forward/shooting guard Svi Mykhailiuk, their own 2023 second-round pick that previously belonged to Philadelphia, and a 2027 second-rounder via Portland. In 233 games (46 starts) Mykhailiuk averaged 6.3 points on 39.9% field goal percentage, 35.6% from three-point range and 78% from the free throw line for the Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Knicks.
Trading McDaniels and a 2024 second to recoup their own 2023 pick (likely a top-35 pick) while adding a 2027 second-rounder isn’t a terrible return. The Hornets ran the risk of losing McDaniels for nothing in unrestricted free agency if they held onto him, and they seem keen on extending PJ Washington this summer. Maximizing his value and shipping him out to a contender may not be exciting for Hornets fans that hoped for a young player or first-round pick in return, but it’s better than potentially losing him for nothing.
Plumlee was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers, who were incredibly active, also acquiring Eric Gordon and Bones Hyland over the course of a couple hours. The LA Times’ Andrew Greif was the first to report the Hornets will also receive a 2028 second-round pick in return for Plumlee.
Source: The Clippers are sending a 2028 second-round pick to Charlotte, in addition to Reggie Jackson, as part of the deal to receive Mason Plumlee.
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) February 9, 2023
After it was rumored Plumlee could fetch a first-rounder in the midst of a career year on an expiring contract, he ends up being moved for a single second-rounder in 2028 and Reggie Jackson. But the Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that Jackson is likely to be bought out by the Hornets and will hit the open market.
The Charlotte Hornets and guard Reggie Jackson are likely to agree to a contract buyout, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Jackson will be among top point guards on the open market and will prioritize contending. Hornets set to play younger players down stretch.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 9, 2023
As things stand (without Reggie Jackson), the Hornets depth chart currently looks like this:
Guards: LaMelo Ball, James Bouknight, Bryce McGowens (Two-Way), Théo Maledon (Two-Way), Terry Rozier, Dennis Smith Jr.
Wings: Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre Jr., Cody Martin, Svi Mykhailiuk
Bigs: PJ Washington, Mark Williams, Nick Richards, JT Thor, Kai Jones
That group is made up of 13 players on the official roster, leaving Kupchak with two open roster spots that could be filled in a myriad of ways. The elephant in the room is Miles Bridges, who is still under investigation by the NBA after being charged with felony domestic violence in July 2022 and pleading no contest in November. Other options include converting the two-way contracts (Theo Maledon and Bryce McGowens) into standard NBA deals. The Hornets could also shuffle some players through 10-day contracts, and if someone catches their eye, sign them to a deal. The buyout market is technically an option, but no veteran will be looking to sign with a team so far out of playoff contention.
Kupchak on Miles Bridges: “Miles pleaded (no contest) in October…the #NBA is conducting an investigation… I don’t know when the investigation is going to end. When it ends we’ll have more information and go from there.”
— Nick Carboni (@NickCarboniWCNC) February 10, 2023
All in all, Kupchak did what most fans wanted him to do; capitalize on Plumlee’s career year, acquire an asset for him, and clear up minutes for the young bigs. Losing McDaniels as a player hurts, but there was no guarantee he would re-sign with the Hornets, and they don’t control his market like they do Washington’s (restricted free agent). The return may be underwhelming, but if any of these picks are spent on a contributor or used in a trade for a quality player, Kupchak’s plan will make more sense.
Check out the remaining 2022-23 Charlotte Hornets season schedule.