The Charlotte Hornets have not made many moves in the 2022 offseason. The Hornets were busy during the 2022 NBA Draft and gave Cody Martin a new deal, but that is about it. They have a solid young team around LaMelo Ball and have some good complementary veterans alongside him, so there’s hope for this roster even with the inactivity.

Still, the Hornets are not good enough to be a lock for the postseason at this point in time and should look to make a big move, especially with the possibility of Miles Bridges not playing this season because of domestic violence charges. While a Kevin Durant trade isn’t feasible, Charlotte continues to be linked to a Donovan Mitchell trade. Here’s why the Hornets must go all out for the Utah Jazz star.

Why Hornets must pursue Donovan Mitchell trade

Ball-Mitchell duo

Getting LaMelo Ball a superstar running mate in the backcourt would be a big win for the organization. Terry Rozier has been a good fit alongside Ball, but Donovan Mitchell is simply a much better player with way more upside. He has been the focal point of a playoff team for the past few years in Utah. If traded to Charlotte that wouldn’t change, but he would be able to play off the ball next to an elite facilitator in Ball. Mitchell would be able to move more without the ball and flow within the system.

They would instantly become one of the best backcourts in the league. Those two alone would be able to make the Hornets a playoff team out East. As good of a scorer as Ball can be in stretches, he could defer to Mitchell and focus on being a full-time playmaker. Ball has already shown us he’s a natural point guard. Supplying him with a weapon like Mitchell would allow Ball to flourish even more for years to come.

Who do the Hornets give up?

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It would be hard to see pieces of this Hornets young core depart, but it has to be done to execute a deal like this. Donovan Mitchell is a marquee player in the NBA, so they would have to give up a good haul of draft picks. The Jazz are seeking out at least four first-round picks after flipping Rudy Gobert for a monster haul. If the Hornets can find a way to give up less picks and more players instead, that would be more ideal, with players like PJ Washington, Terry Rozier, and James Bouknight being trade options. This kind of package would feature young players who still have room to grow and have shown flashes of being impact players, along with a proven veteran scorer in Rozier, plus picks.

If Utah’s Danny Ainge is looking for more draft picks, maybe a third team could be involved. The Hornets should be wary of how many picks they burn on a star player, especially one who isn’t a true top-of-the-line superstar. With the team being fairly young, it’s still important to continue to amass more young talent to help fill out the roster over time through the draft. They can’t be too stingy, but they have to forfeit an amount that makes sense to catch the big fish.

The Hornets need to take more risks

Charlotte is not a hot spot for free agents to flock to whenever summer hits. We have seen the Hornets take a swing for the fences on other deals in the past, but more on role players who they think can grow into stars. Nicolas Batum is obviously at the top of that list, but they haven’t taken a stab at an established star either in his prime or heading into it.

Assuming that this gamble pays off, more future free agents would consider coming to Charlotte. Teaming up with a talented backcourt could be a recipe for success for a slasher or most big men.

Draft compensation is hard to give up and so is giving up young players, but just praying young prospects pan out quick every year is not a foolproof plan. The Hornets do not have the best draft success either in the past few years, other than LaMelo Ball. So if Kupchak has a chance to go get Donovan Mitchell, they have to capitalize on it, as long as it’s reasonable. If another team needs to be involved, make it happen.