The Charlotte Hornets are not expected to be a buying team in free-agency, but they will nevertheless make quite a buzz in the trade market this offseason. Dan Favale of Bleacher Report notes that The Hornets won’t have enough wiggle room to sign free-agents because they are projected to be $6 million over the cap.

Cap-space problems

Last season’s free-agency splash – including Nicolas Batum (5-year, $120MM deal) and Marvin Williams (4-year, $54MM) – and a bunch of contract extensions (Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Tyler Zeller) put the Hornets in this tough spot. With $102 million in guaranteed contracts in the books, the Hornets’ projected starting cap is pegged at under $6,345,856.

And even though they don’t exercise the team option on Ramon Session’s $6 million for next season, the Hornets will only have the mid-level ($8.4MM) and bi-annual exception ($3.2MM) to spend this summer.

This is the reason why the Hornets will be more active on the trading market than in free-agency. Charlotte possesses a bevy of tradable assets in the form of young players on their roster and draft picks. According to Favale, a combination of Williams, Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky and Mario Belinelli will be enough to pull off a huge trade.

Although it’s going to be hard for them to land superstars like Paul George, don’t rule out the Hornets in that particular chase. Michael Jordan is billionaire, and that makes him very capable of spending few millions of dollar to make his team a lot better next season.

Nicolas Batum’s decision

Other than acquiring free-agents or talents via trade, the Hornets will also need an internal improvement from their key players if they want to reach the playoffs next season.

Batum had a disappointing season after re-signing with the Hornets last summer, as he averaged 15.1 points on 40 percent FG shooting and 33 percent from beyond the three-point.

He also chipped in 5.9 assists and 6.2 rebounds per contest, but the Hornets were expecting better numbers from him. This summer, Batum will forego his commitment with the French men’s basketball team at the FIBA EuroBasket to spend more time training and working his game for next season’s grind.

Patrick Ewing Leaving Hive for Hoyas

Hornets assistant coach Patrick Ewing will vacate his spot in Charlotte’s coaching staff to return to his Alma-Mater, Georgetown and coach the Hoyas for next season. Ewing had been mentioned several times as potential candidate for an NBA head coaching gig, but after four years in Charlotte, the former All-Star center decides to begin his head coaching career at the college level.

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