2015 Charlotte Hornets

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Charlotte Hornets (Last Year: 33-49)

2015-16 Projected Depth Chart:

C: ^Al Jefferson/*Bismack Biyombo

PF: Cody Zeller/Marvin Williams/Noah Vonleh

SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist/*Jeff Taylor

SG: ^Gerald Henderson/Lance Stephenson/P.J. Hairston/Troy Daniels

PG: Kemba Walker/Brian Roberts

NBA Free Agents:

^C-Al Jefferson (PO)

^SG-Gerald Henderson (PO)

*C-Bismack Biyombo (RFA)

*SF-Jeff Taylor (RFA)

PG-Mo Williams (UFA)

PF-Jason Maxiell (UFA)

2015-16 Team Salary: Approximately $46 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Big Al Back?: Al Jefferson holds an option on the final year of his contract, and since he is the cornerstone of what Charlotte does down low, his decision to remain with the team for one more year or become a free agent is enormous. With the cap expected to take a big jump in the summer of 2016, Jefferson might ride out the final year of his deal and become a free agent next offseason.

If Jefferson does opt out, the Hornets could be losing both him and restricted free agent Bismack Biyombo, which would create a hole inside. Charlotte has used its last two first-round picks on Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh but would definitely need to find a more suitable replacement if Jefferson leaves.

2. Shooters: The Hornets finished dead last in the NBA in three-point shooting and need to find some deep threats this offseason. There could be a solution when Charlotte selects ninth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, but the franchise would be better served finding a veteran free agent who could contribute immediately. This need will be further magnified if Gerald Henderson opts out of the final year of his contract and becomes a free agent.

3. Shop Stephenson: The Hornets signed Lance Stephenson to a 3-year deal worth about $27 million last summer, but he vastly underperformed this past season. Expect Charlotte to shop Stephenson in attempt to perhaps find a shooter, though it’s unlikely any team will be open to taking on his contract unless the Hornets are willing to sell low.

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