The Charlotte Hornets are reportedly eyeing two of the bigger name free agents left on the market.
First, per The Athletic’s David Aldridge, the Hornets are discussing a deal with free agent forward Kelly Oubre. No deal is imminent, per Aldridge, but “talks are ongoing.” Oubre spent last season with the Warriors, averaging 15.4 points per game, having previously played for the Suns and Warriors.
Veteran free agent forward Kelly Oubre is in discussions with the Charlotte Hornets, per sources. There’s no agreement tonight, but talks are ongoing. Could be a good fit with a young, athletic Hornets team. Averaged 15.4 ppg for the Warriors last season.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) August 6, 2021
Second, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. the Hornets are also looking into working out an offer sheet with Bulls restricted free agent forward Lauri Markkanen.
The Charlotte Hornets have emerged with strong interest in a potential offer sheet for Chicago restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. RFAs can begin signing sheets Friday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 5, 2021
Both moves could have upside for Charlotte. Neither player is a star caliber player, but both have upside that might be worth a look at. With Oubre, his three-point shooting (he’s a career 32.6% shooter) is the big question mark that he has to unlock to take the next step, having shot 35 percent two seasons ago in Phoenix. However, he’s a strong, versatile wing defender that Charlotte could use, and he would add to an interesting forward rotation that includes Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington.
As for Markkanen, he could be an interesting second contract player to roll the dice on. He’s shown offensive upside his career — particularly as a shooter — but struggles to rebound and isn’t bulky enough inside to punish teams that put smaller wings on him.However, a change of scenery could do him some good as Chicago hasn’t been a consistent environment for his development. It’s also unclear if the Bulls would match an offer sheet, as they traded Thad Young in the DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade that thinned out their power forward rotation.
Overall, if Charlotte adds one or both, it adds to an interesting team that features the aforementioned wings, Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, and rookie James Bouknight. How all of that fits together would be the task for James Borrego, but it would be a fascinating talent pool for the Hornets.