A month into the job, Charlotte Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday no major roster makeover is in the works.
“There is no master plan to blow up this team right now,” Kupchak said during the team’s news conference to introduce new coach James Borrego.
Note the qualifier “right now.” The lottery to determine the draft order among non-playoff teams will be held Tuesday evening in Chicago. The Hornets will have a chance - a very slight one - to move up to one of the top three picks. As Kupchak mentioned in his first extended comments since being introduced in Charlotte a month ago, settling the draft order could prompt more “interaction” between NBA general managers that might eventually lead to trades.
For now, it’s a relatively quiet time for NBA front offices, beyond those hiring new coaches. Beyond that, it will be challenging for Kupchak to make extensive changes this summer: The Hornets’ guaranteed player contracts for next season already push them close to the NBA’s projected luxury-tax threshold, so there is not much flexibility to sign free agents or take on additional salary in trade.
Also, only a handful of the NBA’s 30 franchises are expected to have room under the salary cap when the league’s new fiscal year starts July 1.
That was conveyed to Borrego in the interview process. As Kupchak put it Friday, “When he was hired, the understanding is he is going to coach the players (already) on this team and the players we bring into this team going forward.”
Borrego said he was comfortable with that, saying he anticipates most of the improvement between now and training camp in late September will be “internal.”
“My vision here,” Borrego said, “is to maximize this roster as it stands.”
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