There aren’t a whole lot of teams that make sense in a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs, but the Charlotte Hornets are one of them.
As the San Antonio Spurs approach a crossroads in their franchise’s development, the Charlotte Hornets are preparing for a new era in North Carolina. They’ve built a compelling young core that ended up being more competitive than they imagined by this point due largely to the coaching job by former Spurs assistant James Borrego.
They officially parted ways with franchise star Kemba Walker last offseason after years of mediocrity to pursue the dawn of a new era. While they didn’t make the playoffs, Charlotte was only the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference, landing eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth and final playoff seed. It’s a sizable gap, but not one that couldn’t be surmounted if they made win-now transactions in the offseason.
For the Spurs, finding a sign-and-trade deal for their star player is something that would not only optimize his value, but would push them into a new era of their own. It’s going to be difficult to find a decent trade suitor at this point in the process, but of every candidate, Charlotte might actually make the most sense. Therefore, we found a deal that works out for all parties.
The San Antonio Spurs sign-and-trade DeMar DeRozan to the Charlotte Hornets for Miles Bridges and Cody Zeller.
As 3-point marksman Devonte’ Graham exploded in his sophomore season, the Hornets took a different direction from the one they originally embarked on. This left the 2018 No. 12 pick Miles Bridges to figure things out for himself at the small forward spot, relying on his athleticism and raw instinct to survive in a rotation designed for perimeter play.
Charlotte ranked dead-last in pace this year and finished with a -6.7 point differential, placing them 27th out of 30 teams this season. For as talented as these young players might be, it’s going to be a long time before they can give their fans something to be excited about unless they make win-now moves in the 2020 offseason. Bringing DeRozan along places an adult in the room who knows how to navigate the East. His passing would be huge for Graham, Terry Rozier and PJ Washington, who are all getting used to playing in Borrego’s Spurs-inspired offense.
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To make this work, a few kinks need to be worked out. First, DeRozan’s new theoretical deal is worth three years, $100 million that descends as the seasons go on. He makes about $33.3 million in the first year, $31 million in the second and $28.7 million in the last year with incentives along the way. To inherit this salary, Charlotte needs to get rid of Bismack Biyombo’s massive cap hold after making $17 million as a backup center this season. That, combined with the $19.3 million that would be sent to the Spurs, would make for a big enough hole to place DeRozan on the team next year.
San Antonio gets to embrace the youth movement with a wing who fits in with their team well. Bridges aligns with the team’s best athletes at just 22 years old. The former Michigan State Spartan has the makings of an all-around forward who can switch between positions, generate second-chance buckets and defend multiple positions when fully engaged.
Bridges is a firecracker with a world of potential just waiting to be implemented in the right system. The Spurs can give him all of the tools he needs to fulfill the talent he’s shown since early in his basketball career. Meanwhile, Cody Zeller gives San Antonio a sure-fire backup center on an expiring contract, which bodes well for making moves in a loaded 2021 free-agency period.
You can find other articles in this series by clicking on the team name below:
Western Conference: LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies. Eastern Conference: Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks.