So Hornets fans, I’ve been thinking and reading and thinking and questioning, and thinking…
Every year around this time, we all start trying to come up with ideas that will make our team better so we can be in the playoffs. We want to make that blockbuster trade that will help us to get rid of players we don’t like, get rid of ugly contracts, or just to be an armchair GM and use NBA Trade Machine (thanks ESPN), to make trades that make no sense to get player A for players B, C, D, and E and the money will work. Man I wish it was that easy. My purpose for writing today was because of a trade I saw that popped up. Should the Hornets take on Andrew Wiggins and his massive contract? Now I say massive because it’s what everyone else keeps saying, and it is massive, but you have to look beyond his contract, to the rest of the team and the players’ contracts. That guaranteed money, if you will.
So let’s take a look. On the surface, A Wiggins for Batum swap does work. The argument is that Batum’s player option is a rather large expiring contract that could be a good trade piece next season. The question is whether or not we could move him. We couldn’t move Erick Dampier’s contract, so, moving Nic’s probably won’t be easy either.
Let’s play the sides now. So let’s say that we do want this swap, and we are on board with it. Nic’s contract ends in 2 years and Wiggins’ contract ends at the end of the 2022-2023 season. Wiggins is currently 24 years old, so he will be still be under 30 as his contract expires. Also worth noting is that the Wiggins contract grows each year. By that last season, he’s making $33.6 million dollars. Argument 1 is that we don’t want to take that cap hit. At the end of this season, $46.5 million come off of the books when Biz, Marv, Willy and MKG contracts all expire. Wiggins will be slated to make $29.5 Million. Batum’s deal would be a $27.1 million player option that he’s going to take. Keeping Batum saves us $2.4 million, and we can wipe the books clean or maybe buy him out. I’m not real sure how the buyout works so I’m not going to go there. If we trade him away, Wiggins impacts us with a $31.5 million in the 21-22 season and $33.6 million in the 22-23 season. Net gain in trading for him and having him here next year after $46.5million comes off the books? This leaves us with $17 million to spend on players to fill 3 roster spots. Guaranteed money that we will pay out if we made the trade would be $83.9 million in salaries. If we don’t trade for Wiggins, our Salary for next year is $81.5 million. So for everyone who is complaining about that big contract let me spice it up. At the end of the 20-21 season, another $17.4 million comes off the books when Dwayne Bacon and Cody’s contracts end. You still with me? This means that the 20-22 season, we would be at $66.2 million, and we will have to decide just how much we’ll need to have to pay Graham to stay a Hornet.
This is a lot to think about. Also, there could be other players involved in this deal to sweeten the deal for the T-Wolves to want to do this deal. It could include Monk, Willy, picks…who knows. Also, how would Wiggins fit in Charlotte? Would he gel with the other guys? Do we need another SF? Would we run him as a SG? Why would Minnesota want to trade him away? Is he a “problem child”?
Let me just put it as simply as I can put it. We need an upgrade at center. I love Cody, Biz, and even Willy, but we get beat up in the paint and rebounds are hard to come by. In making a trade like this, what can we get in the free agent market in terms of centers? What options could we have? Now granted, I would take Wiggins’ numbers (22.6pts, 43.9 fg%, 31.6 3-pt%, 5.1reb, 3.6 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks) over Batum’s numbers (3.5pts, 36.6 fg%, 28.9 3-pt %, 4.4 rebounds, 3 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks) any day of the week, however, why would Minnesota take Batum’s mess? It would have to be because they are getting something of quality in the deal, and Minnesota isn’t hurting too bad in the salary department, unless you’re looking at how long it will be before they are under $100 million again. They just have a few worse contracts than we so, and us taking Wiggins helps them to thin the herd some for their future. We don’t have any big, long term, contracts on our roster (big being $12 mil or more for multiple years, multiple being 3 or more years).
So am I saying to trade for Wiggins? I’m just saying that the big fuss that everyone has about doing it, once you take a look at it, isn’t that bad. The question you have to ask yourself is a simple one. Can he consistently be a guy who can average 20+ points a night and is he worth what he can produce? Also, can he do it for another 3 seasons? Obviously Batum was never that guy, but I think we all knew that. Would we get what we pay for? Maybe.
One last thing is if we did bring him and we didn’t lose our youth, and the starting 5 was as follows:
Graham, Wiggins, Bridges, Washington, and Cody
Second unit could be:
Rozier, Monk or Bacon (I think one would be traded away in the deal), Cody Martin, Marvin Williams, and Biz
Would you be all that upset?
18.7, 22.6, 12.3, 12.4, 11.5 = 77.5
18.3, 6.5, 3.8, 6.9, 7.7 = 43.2
That’s just average points per game for each player for the 1stunit, the second unit, and the total.
Numbers would fluctuate for all, but it would be nice to bolster the scoring capability this year, and then bolster the middle with a center next year.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the Hornets be.
This is just all food for thought.
Let’s Go Hornets