The Charlotte Hornets are well-known for being a young, up-and-coming team. They currently have a 28-24 record and are 7th in the Eastern Conference. They have definitely been competitive this year, with notable wins against contenders like the Golden State Warriors.
One of the holes on the Charlotte Hornets roster is the lack of a starting-caliber big man. Mason Plumlee is solid, but he seems more suited to a backup role. With that in mind, here are the 5 best trade targets for the Charlotte Hornets that would rectify that issue.
5. Montrezl Harrell
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Montrezl Harrell
Washington Wizards Receive: Mason Plumlee, 2022 second-round pick (TOR), 2023 second-round pick (BOS)
Montrezl Harrell is currently a solid sixth man for the Washington Wizards. He is well-known for being a high-energy presence off the bench, as well as his efficient scoring on the interior. He is currently averaging 14.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 2.1 APG while shooting an astounding 65.2% from the field.
The Charlotte Hornets could use a pick and roll threat who can play off of LaMelo Ball, and while Harrell's best role is as a sixth man, he would definitely be a good piece next to the star point guard. Montrezl Harrell would fit the Hornets' high-tempo system and would give the team yet another good scoring option.
Moving Mason Plumlee would also allow the Hornets to give valuable developmental minutes to players like JT Thor and Kai Jones, while still having a solid veteran coming off the bench. They would have to attach two second-round picks in the deal to make the upgrade from Mason Plumlee to Montrezl Harrell. On the Wizards' end, Montrezl Harrell is on an expiring contract, so perhaps it'd be best for the team to try and get something in return for him in a trade. Overall, this is a trade that could benefit both teams.
4. Jonas Valanciunas
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Jonas Valanciunas
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Mason Plumlee, PJ Washington, 2024 first-round pick (CHO), 2022 second-round pick (TOR)
Jonas Valanciunas has definitely become one of the most underrated players in the league. Valanciunas is putting up 18.2 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 2.5 APG while shooting 40.2% from beyond the arc, albeit on low volume. He would be a good option for the Hornets due to his interior finishing and could give the team offense an extra dimension with his post offense.
In this scenario, the Charlotte Hornets would have to send out a package centered on PJ Washington and draft compensation. The New Orleans Pelicans have struggled all season with spacing, and a high-volume 3PT shooter like PJ Washington (39% from 3PT range on 4.7 attempts) could help them.
This trade would also allow the Pelicans to free up minutes for young athletic center Jaxson Hayes, while also getting a solid veteran center in Mason Plumlee as a backup option. The second-round pick would be an extra sweetener. The Pelicans would get more shooting and draft compensation, while the Hornets get their starting center.
3. Christian Wood
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Christian Wood
Houston Rockets Receive: PJ Washington, Mason Plumlee, Cody Martin, 2023 first-round pick (CHO)
Christian Wood is an athletic center who is well-known for his floor spacing ability. Currently, Christian Wood is putting up 17.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 2.2 APG, while shooting 37% from beyond the arc on 5.0 attempts a game. He is one of the best sharpshooting big men in the game, and he would be amazing as a rim roller and shooter on the Hornets.
To get Christian Wood, the Charlotte Hornets would have to send out a package featuring PJ Washington. Washington would get a bigger role with the Houston Rockets and would have the room to develop his offensive game there. The Houston Rockets would also get a solid wing player in Cody Martin, as well as the Hornets' 2023 first-round pick. Mason Plumlee would be the salary-filler contract in this scenario.
There's no question that Christian Wood would push the Charlotte Hornets to the next level and be a difference-maker with his size and shooting. The Hornets wouldn't be giving up too much to get him either, so if a deal with this framework is available, it should be explored.
2. Myles Turner
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers Receive: Mason Plumlee, James Bouknight, 2024 first-round pick (CHO), 2026 first-round pic (CHO)
Myles Turner is one of the most highly sought-after players in the league. In fact, a previous report claimed that four teams were interested in the Indiana Pacers big man, with the Charlotte Hornets being one of them.
It is easy to see why the Charlotte Hornets would be interested in Myles Turner. He is a top-tier rim protector, who can also step out and knock down jumpers from beyond the arc. He would shore up the Hornets' defense, while also fitting into their 3PT heavy offense.
In this scenario, the Hornets would send out a package based on young guard James Bouknight and two first-round picks. James Bouknight is a young guard that is unlikely to get playing time on the Hornets with LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier ahead of him. He would be in a better situation on the Pacers, as they have been reported as wanting to start a rebuild, which would involve trading Caris LeVert, who would be ahead of him in the rotation. The two first-round picks would provide solid value for Turner as well.
Overall, Myles Turner would definitely be a good acquisition for the team. He would help them on both ends of the floor, in particular on the defensive end. Adding Myles Turner to a team that focuses on perimeter shooting and has players that can help him get going offensively like LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward seems like a recipe for success.
1. Domantas Sabonis
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Domantas Sabonis
Indiana Pacers Receive: Mason Plumlee, PJ Washington, Cody Martin, 2024 first-round pick (CHO), 2026 first-round pick (CHO)
Domantas Sabonis is an elite power forward who is a great interior finisher that can also make plays for others. While Domantas Sabonis is not a floor spacer, he is still an All-Star caliber big man who can give the Hornets supplementary playmaking, interior scoring, and rebounding.
Acquiring an All-Star caliber big man requires a good trade package. In this scenario, the Hornets would send out a package centered on PJ Washington and two first-round picks. The draft compensation would obviously help the Pacers with their rebuild, while PJ Washington is a young prospect that could be their power forward of the future. Cody Martin would be a solid role player that could potentially be re-signed at the end of the season. Mason Plumlee would be the salary filler in this scenario.
Overall, getting Domantas Sabonis adds a star-level player to the Charlotte Hornets, and could be the move that pushes the team to the next level. He would greatly improve their offense, and allow shooters like Kelly Oubre and Terry Rozier to get more open shots. There is no doubt that he'd be a good acquisition, and if he's on the market, the Hornets should do their due diligence to see if they can get him.