The Charlotte Hornets added some point guard depth at the NBA trade deadline Thursday, acquiring Brad Wanamaker from the Golden State Warriors.
The Hornets are essentially absorbing Wanamaker’s $2.25 million salary into what was about $4 million in salary-cap space. The Hornets have an open roster spot, so there is no need to release another player to add Wanamaker. The Hornets are technically giving up one or two two second-round picks, but terms of the deal mean it’s highly unlikely either of those picks is ever conveyed to the Warriors.
Wanamaker signed a one-year contract with Golden State, so the Hornets have no obligation to him beyond this season. He averaged 4.7 points, 2.5 minutes and 16 minutes this season with the Warriors. He is shooting a career-worst 35% from the field this season.
The Hornets are fourth in the Eastern Conference at 22-21. Their biggest need is still probably center depth. However, LaMelo Ball’s wrist fracture — likely a season-ending injury — puts some pressure on point guard depth that Wanamaker addresses. Devonte Graham starts at point guard now, and Terry Rozier can shift over from shooting guard to the point.
Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak kept that last roster spot open throughout the first half of the season. He took a similar approach two seasons ago before eventually claiming Shelvin Mack off waivers after the trade deadline to be a third point guard.
With the Hornets acquiring no center help, it’s expected the Hornets will look into acquiring a big man after buyouts occur. Two centers who could potentially be available: Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge.
However, buyouts would mean both those players become unrestricted free agents, which means they’d control this process and might favor teams closer to title contention.