On Wednesday afternoon it was announced that veteran power forward Josh McRoberts would not be opting in to play the 2014-15 NBA season with the Charlotte Hornets, per a report from the Associated Press and Hornets general manager Rich Cho. McRoberts will now become an unrestricted free agent coming off of a solid season with the Hornets.
In the report, Cho said that re-signing McRoberts would be a priority for the organization this offseason as they look to continue building from their 43-39 season that led them to their second playoff berth in franchise history. McRoberts proved to be a valuable commodity for Charlotte as their starting power forward, putting up 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists throughout the season. His ability to affect the game in a variety of ways and stretch the floor made the former Bobcats a much more versatile team.
However, there’s obviously no certainty when it comes to unrestricted free agency. As a result, McRoberts opting out of his contract for next season could heavily influence what the Hornets look to do with the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, a pick that they acquired in a trade with the Detroit Pistons involving Corey Maggette and Ben Gordon.
Much of the speculation about the pick has been that the Hornets will look to grab one of the many power forwards that should be available when they make their lottery selection. While Charlotte drafted Cody Zeller in the lottery last season, they still have a relatively shallow frontcourt that an elite big man prospect would help strengthen.
With how things are shaping up, there are a number of guys the Hornets could look to pursue with the ninth pick if they are indeed targeting a power forward. The potential of Aaron Gordon is certainly intriguing, especially with how young he is. A guy like Dario Saric would be an interesting selection as well as a younger version of McRoberts in the sense that he’s able to offer a ton of versatility. If Charlotte wanted to grab a power forward to space the floor and improve their perimeter scoring, they’d have to show strong interest in Doug McDermott.
There’s a chance that the Hornets could very well look to address a need on the wings with the ninth pick, but the uncertainty of re-signing McRoberts could change that. Whichever way they decide to look with the selection, though, the Hornets should have a bevy of quality options to choose from.