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Trade Grades: Hornets Add Nicolas Batum From Trail Blazers - This Is Sports Zone

On Wednesday night The Charlotte Hornets agreed to their second trade in the last three weeks, sending guard Gerald Henderson and second year forward Noah Vonleh to the Portland Trail Blazers for Nicolas Batum, as the Blazers look to shed salary to retain their many free agents including LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez, and Wesley Matthews. Here are the SportsZone Trade Grades for both teams:


The Hornets were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league last year, and acquiring Batum is a solid step towards fixing that, even though Batum is coming off the worst season of his career as a result of a lingering wrist injury. He is a career 36% shooter from three-point range, and is one of only three players to average over six rebounds and five assists the last three seasons (the other two are LeBron James and Russell Westbrook). The had to part with Henderson, who opted into his player option last week, and has been a solid role player the last three seasons, but doesn’t have the range or defensive prowess Batum carries. They also had to part with Vonleh, a lottery pick last season who missed most of his rookie season with injuries, despite their best efforts to trade Cody Zeller instead. Vonleh could come back to bite them, but having just added Spencer Hawes to pair with Al Jefferson in the Lance Stephenson trade, general manager Rich Cho chose to take the risk to improve his team’s shooting from three-point range. Plus they still have the 9th pick in the draft, and are rumored to be heavily interested in Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, so Vonleh was expendable. The Hornets lineup now looks significantly stronger with Batum and Michael Kidd Gilchrist the starters at the wings, with Jeremy Lamb (acquired from the Thunder in a minor deal Wednesday for Matt Barnes) the first off the bench.


gerald-hendersonWhile this trade doesn’t necessarily indicate the beginning of a rebuilding process for Portland, this trade does seem like Portland is bracing itself for a worst case scenario of losing their top three free agents. Henderson is more of a scorer than Batum who could help make up for the loss of either Matthews or Arron Afflalo (also a free agent), while adding a young talent like Vonleh seems to be a safe guard against the possibility of losing Aldridge and/or Lopez. While losing Batum will hurt next season, give Portland credit for recognizing the situation they are in and not only shedding salary, but doing it for two players capable of stepping in and making an impact next season, and in Vonleh’s case, beyond.

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