Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Top 5 Culture Free Agents Charlotte Should Target

By meerna Jul11,2024
Top 5 Culture Free Agents Charlotte Should Target

With two roster spots open, the Charlotte Hornets still have work to do to finalize their 2024-25 roster. In recent years, the Hornets have struggled to land a seasoned veteran who can serve as a mentor and culture maker. The importance of veteran players in key leadership roles cannot be overstated, such as Udonis Haslem in Miami, James Johnson in Indiana and Taj Gibson in New York.

Even though they now have a vocal leader in Grant Williams, the Hornets still need veterans to help guide the young players. These newcomers aren’t expected to play the majority of minutes unless they suffer a serious injury, so I’ve focused on their off-the-court contributions rather than their stats. Here are my top five options.

Wesley Matthews

March 25, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Wesley Matthews (32) prepares for the game against the Boston Celtics at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

At 37, Matthews is nearing the end of his career, bringing 15 years of experience since going undrafted. He is a savvy veteran who has an established relationship with Charles Lee from their days together in Milwaukee and last season in Atlanta, where new assistant GM Dotun Akinwale recently joined.

Matthews, who now plays more of an SF/PF, provides depth at a position the Hornets need and would be a great addition as a 3&D option in a deep lineup.

Anthony Gill

Mar 29, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards forward Anthony Gill (16) reacts after a play against the Detroit Pistons in the third quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports / Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Christian graduate has just four years of NBA experience, but he’s known as Washington’s “Culture Guy.” At 31, he likely still has some staying power and could play a big role behind Brandon Miller. Could he be interested in finishing his NBA career in his hometown?

Jae Crowder

April 21, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts after scoring a basket in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers during Game 1 of the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Another player associated with Charles Lee from their time together in Milwaukee during the ’22-23 season is Crowder. At 34, Crowder may still be chasing a championship, but if he’s ready for a different role, a reunion with his former assistant coach could give him a clear path to rotation minutes. Despite some questions about his ego in the past, Crowder has been a well-liked teammate overall.

Tristan Thompson

April 14, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) stands on the court prior to their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Cavalier Thompson, 33, has stayed in the league longer than expected thanks to his work ethic and leadership. While Charlotte doesn’t have a pressing need for a center, Thompson would be a smart addition. He would challenge Williams and Richards daily in practice and hold his teammates accountable, solving a problem the team has struggled with in recent years.

Svi Mykhailiuk

April 7, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Svi Mykhailiuk (50) moves the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Look, Mykhailiuk may not be the same veteran as the others, but he deserves a mention for a few reasons. First, he had a good run in Charlotte towards the end of the 22-23 season and is familiar with the team and personnel, even with some changes. Plus, Lee knows him well from Boston’s championship team last season and could be a supporting role. Third, he adds outside shooting to the forward position, which the Hornets still need.


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