The Charlotte Hornets have been one of the most exciting teams of the season, as the acquisition of highly talented rookie LaMelo Ball catapulted them into competing for the playoffs. The Charlotte Hornets will likely seek to build around LaMelo Ball shortly and surround him with other players that can help him win.
The Charlotte Hornets have a good roster currently, but it does seem like they need another piece to truly compete in the Eastern Conference, which is full of strong teams with star power. One of the needs that the Charlotte Hornets is the need for a solid big man that can be their solution at the center position. The Charlotte Hornets may choose to acquire a big man via trade: here are the dream targets if that ends up being the case.
3. Myles Turner
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers Receive: P. J. Washington, Jalen McDaniels, Vernon Carey Jr., a future first-round pick
Myles Turner is one of the best defensive players in the league and is currently leading the league in BPG, averaging 3.4 blocks per contest. Turner even has the offensive upside of being a vertical threat and a floor spacer and is a perfect center to play with a playmaking star akin to LaMelo Ball. Myles Turner is a player that can dominate the defensive end while being a complementary piece on the offensive end. Turner is a traditional center with a diverse offensive game, and his presence on both ends could push the Hornets into contention.
Turner is a center that is just 25 currently, and it is unlikely that the Indiana Pacers would let him go easily. P. J. Washington would be the prospect that headlines this deal: he is a power forward with an all-around offensive game and is mobile enough to switch onto wings on the perimeter. Jalen McDaniels is a prospect who could potentially develop into a great 3 and D wing player, and Vernon Carey Jr. is a raw center that doesn't get much playing time on the Hornets. The future first-round pick should be a good sweetener for the deal, and this package provides the Pacers with a solid package for their starting centers.
2. Kristaps Porzingis
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Kristaps Porzingis
Dallas Mavericks Receive: P. J. Washington, Malik Monk (sign-and-trade), Jalen McDaniels, a future first-round pick, a future second-round pick
Kristaps Porzingis is one of the premier big men in the league, and he has been a great player for the Dallas Mavericks this season, averaging 20.5 PPG and 9.4 RPG on solid efficiency. Porzingis is a great offensive big man who is prolific from beyond the arc, averaging 35.9% from range. The fit between him and LaMelo Ball would be perfect. Porzingis can space the floor for Ball, and capitalize on the opportunities that Ball's playmaking will get him, whether it's at the rim or the perimeter.
The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored to be looking for a secondary ballhandler to put next to Luka Doncic: perhaps the Charlotte Hornets have the answer. Malik Monk has been great as a spark off the bench this season, averaging 13.1 PPG, and shooting a blistering 42.4% from outside the arc. Monk is a shot creator that can be a ballhandler next to Doncic. P. J. Washington would be a solid big man that could replace some of the things Porzingis does. Washington provides floor spacing and athleticism, as well as the option to go small at the center. Jalen McDaniels would be a prospect for the future, and the draft compensation would give the Mavericks even more assets to build around Luka Doncic. This trade seems fair for both teams, as the Mavericks would get some fairly good players that fit Luka Doncic's timeline, as well as draft compensation for the future.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Karl-Anthony Towns
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: P. J. Washington, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk (sign-and-trade), Jalen McDaniels, a future first-round pick, a future second-round pick
Karl-Anthony Towns is a player that would fit on almost any franchise. Towns is an all-around offensive center, able to dominate inside while also stepping outside the arc to hit jumpers. Towns is also shooting a blistering 39.7% from beyond the arc this season, an amazing mark for a center. His skill set would be perfect in Charlotte, as he would give them great rim protection on the defensive end, and a great scoring option on the offensive end. Karl-Anthony Towns would be able to compete in the playoffs if he were to get traded to Charlotte, something he hasn't had the opportunity to do often in Minnesota.
The Charlotte Hornets would have to send a massive trade package for the Minnesota Timberwolves to consider trading Karl-Anthony Towns. P. J. Washington and Miles Bridges are both premier young prospects for the Charlotte Hornets: trading them in this deal would allow them to have more touches in Minnesota, and allow them lots of playing time. Malik Monk would be a salary piece in this deal, but he would also be a great shot-creator on the perimeter for the Timberwolves. Jalen McDaniels and the picks are assets for the future. If the Timberwolves are trading Towns, then they are likely rebuilding, hence the package consisting of mostly young players and draft picks. This would provide them with a decent number of players they could try and develop, and draft picks are always welcome in a rebuild.
Free Agent Alternatives
If the Charlotte Hornets were not able to acquire one of the aforementioned 3 players via trade, then there are other alternatives that they could explore in free agency. Andre Drummond is currently on the Los Angeles Lakers, but he will be a free agent at the end of the season, and will likely command a bigger deal than the Los Angeles Lakers are willing to offer. Drummond is an extremely capable rebounder and rim presence and could be a perfect fit next to LaMelo Ball.
Montrezl Harrel is another Los Angeles Lakers big man that is in a similar situation: he will likely decline his player option in free agency, and get lucrative offers from a variety of franchises. He could be another free agency option for the Charlotte Hornets. While Harrell is an undersized big man, he would provide the Hornets with switchability, which is important in today's league. Harrell could potentially have a starting role in Charlotte as well, which could play a factor in his decision this summer.
Both of these players would fill the Charlotte Hornets' need for a solid big man. This offseason could be an opportunity for the Charlotte Hornets to move towards competing, and perhaps an addition via trade or free agency is the way to do it.