The Charlotte Hornets own five picks throughout the 2023 NBA Draft. They were unfortunate to come up just short of the No. 1 overall pick and miss out on the consensus top pick Victor Wembanyama, which apparently also cost Hornets owner Michael Jordan half a million bucks. But still, they were fortunate enough in getting the 2nd overall pick and have the chance to pair LaMelo Ball with potential future stars in Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller.
Apart from No. 2, the Hornets will also pick at No. 27 in the first round. There are a number of ways the Hornets can go about that pick. They can, of course, keep it and draft a late first-round talent that can potentially turn out to be a gem.
But they could also package it in a deal to either move up in the draft or acquire another piece they can pair with Ball and whoever they choose at No. 2. Ball is entering his 4th NBA season and after the Hornets regressed this past season, now might be the time to get him the help he needs to turn the franchise around.
With that said, here are two trades the Charlotte Hornets can use with the No. 27 pick of the 2023 NBA Draft.
1. Trade for Clint Capela
The Atlanta Hawks have been on the decline since they made the Eastern Conference Finals a couple of years ago. They lost 4-1 in the first round to the Miami Heat in 2022 and lost in six games to the Boston Celtics in 2023. With that, Charlotte should check on Atlanta and see if they are willing to move on from center Clint Capela.
The Hornets will likely include Terry Rozier in this trade to bring in Capela's $21.1 million price tag. But given Atlanta's guard situation, Rozier might not be enticing for them. Still, that doesn't mean they can't land Capela in a three-team deal involving another team that can take on Rozier. And the Hornets will have to include the 27th overall pick and potentially some of their second-rounders, too, to sweeten the pot for Atlanta and whoever their third dance partner will be in this deal.
The Hornets have lacked a starting center that complements the play style of Ball since he arrived in the NBA. The 21-year-old plays a flashy brand of basketball and his showboat passes have been wasted on guys like (no offense intended) Mason Plumlee.
Capela, meanwhile, is a legitimate lob threat. He was the benefit of plenty of alley-oops from James Harden back in their days in Houston. Ball has needed a legitimate rim runner that he can throw lobs to or give pin-point passes to on dives to the rim and Capela checks those boxes.
In addition, the Hornets will also need his defensive presence inside the paint. Charlotte has finished in the bottom in both defensive rating and opponents points in the paint in each of the last two seasons.
2. Trade for Kristaps Porzingis
The Hornets could also look to trade for Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards. Washington is a team that is in an identity crisis right now. They still don't want to move on from Bradley Beal and go on a full rebuild.
In case they come to their senses, Charlotte should check in on Kristaps Porzingis. The Hornets could include the 27th overall pick in this deal and include veteran Gordon Hayward, as well as some future picks to acquire the Latvian big man.
A Ball-Porzingis pairing with either Henderson or Miller can be an intriguing trio to build around. Though he's lost a bit of a step due to his knee injuries, Porzingis still has a lot of talent.
The former No. 4 overall pick had a relatively healthy 2022-23 campaign for the Wizards, where he played 65 games, the first time he's done so since his sophomore season. And when he's healthy, Porzingis has proven that he can produce. He actually had his most productive year last season with averages of 23.3 points and 8.4 rebounds, while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 39 percent from three.
3. Trade for Marvin Bagley III
After acquiring former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman at last February's trade deadline, the Detroit Pistons have a plethora of young project big men on their roster. It's clear that the Pistons see Wiseman as a big part of their future since they immediately gave him a starting role upon his arrival. Isaiah Stewart has also established himself as a brute force on both ends of the floor. Also, the Pistons have every incentive to develop Jalen Duren given his strong rookie campaign.
That loaded big rotation sort of leaves Bagley out of the equation. Charlotte could take a flier on the former 2nd overall pick and pair him with Ball in the frontcourt.
Bagley played 42 games last season and started in 25 of them. On the season, he averaged 12.0 points and 6.4 rebounds and shot 52.9 percent from the field.