The Runner Sports

Charlotte Hornets Free Agency Preview

Free Agency in the NBA is one of the most exciting times of the year. Teams chase stars and overpay average players. They do this to improve their team as quickly as possible. Free Agency can be just as much of a gamble as the draft. Charlotte knows this all too well. Two years ago the Charlotte Hornets picked up Jeremy Lin, who was awesome for the Hornets. Then last year they lost him to Brooklyn, and they signed Ramon Sessions, who was not awesome.

This year the Hornets are strapped for cash. They have very little cap space, so don’t expect them to be big players in free agency. This is because last year they gave Nicholas Batum and Marvin Williams huge contracts to stay. Trading for Miles Plumlee and his huge contract before the deadline certainly didn’t help. Charlotte is projected to be $17 million over the cap. They will get a non-taxpayer exception for $8.4 million. That should help some, but expect the Hornets to chase role players rather than stars in free agency. As I wrote about in my draft preview, the Hornets have several needs. Who they pick in the draft will help determine who they target in free agency. With that being said, here are three players the Hornets may be interested in signing.

1. Danilo Gallinari

Gallinari is a versatile 3/4 who is 28 and has a player option in Denver. The big concern with him is his injury history. Last year he played a solid 63 games and averaged 18 points per games. He would give the Hornets a secondary scorer that they desperately need. His best fit would probably be at the 4, where he would be an upgrade over the quickly aging Marvin Williams. Gallo brings shooting and versatility to the Hornets. Money could be a problem as he is on the books for $15 million. Charlotte should be able to create just enough if they use the exception, and let go of Ramon Sessions. This would be an enormous upgrade for Charlotte, and vault them back into the playoffs. Simply put he is the best free agent the Hornets can realistically acquire.

2. Rudy Gay

This one is risky as Gay is 30 and coming off an Achilles rupture. It is safe to say he will never be the same player. That doesn’t mean he still can’t be useful. Like Gallo, he is probably best at the 4 in this point in his career. Before his injury he was averaging 18 points on 37% shooting from three and 45% overall. Gay is also a solid rebounder who is a capable defender. He can provide scoring and shooting to Charlotte, who desperately needs it. It has been reported that Gay has already declined his player option, so he will be a free agent. Gay would have been on the books for $13 million. Charlotte can sign him to a friendly short-term deal. He is no longer a number one scorer, but can be a great second option to Kemba Walker and the Hornets.

3. Patrick Patterson

Ahh the RPM king! Patterson for years now has posted an excellent RPM. The Raptors always seem to play better when he is on the floor. That is because he is a versatile player who doesn’t make mistakes. Patterson sets excellent screens, he is a versatile defender and he can hit threes. So while his normal stats are pedestrian, he is the master of the little things that help teams win. Patterson will immediately address Charlotte’s lack of depth. He can play the 3 and the 4 off the bench and bring Charlotte another floor spacer/defender. Toronto may blow things up this year, so Patterson could definitely be available. Yes I am aware he had a bad playoffs, but he is still a very good player.



Don’t expect too many crazy moves Hornets fans. The draft will be the biggest way to improve for Charlotte. However, Michael Jordan is impatient and will want to make some moves to improve the team quickly. There will also be some lesser players on the radar I have not mentioned. Guys like Justin Holiday, Ersan Ilyasova, and Alan Williams may also pique Charlotte’s interest. With that being said, if Charlotte adds one of these three players listed above, they should be back in the playoff race. Combine one of these players with a solid draft pick like Zach Collins, and Charlotte is heading in the right direction. This free agency will be all about the Charlotte Hornets finding value on the cheap. They can do it if there smart. Stay tuned!

Evan Dyal

Evan Dyal

Charlotte Hornets Writer at The Runner Sports
Evan Dyal