Charlotte Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak Wants To Develop Centers On Roster

Charlotte Hornets General Manager, Mitch Kupchak knows the team needs a long-term answer at center. It’s an issue that head coach James Borrego brought up as a weakness late last season.

But as the Hornets compete in NBA Summer League, he’s not in a rush to make a big-time move. Instead, Kupchak’s plan going forward is to develop the team’s three young centers looking for one to emerge into a long-term starter in the next couple of years.

On draft night, the Hornets acquired center Mason Plumlee from the Detroit Pistons via trade with a very reasonable contract at two years, $16 million left on his deal. While Plumlee is expected to be the starter on opening night, ESPN writes that it could be a “temporary fix“:

“Our thought process was to get somebody that’s a veteran under a reasonable contract and also give these young guys a chance to grow a little bit, and maybe a year from now they’re going to be the guys that maybe we should’ve pursued this year in free agency,” Kupchak said.

Plumlee was solid for the Pistons last year with averages of 10.4 points and a career-high 9.3 rebounds.

Kupchak stated that it was not in the Hornet’s plans to spend a lot of money in free agency on a center when the answer could be currently on the roster. Those answers were from the three centers Charlotte selected in the last two drafts. Those selections were last year’s second-rounders Vernon Casey Jr. out of Duke and Nick Richards from Kentucky. Kai Jones was the prized selection at 19th in this draft out of Texas who made his presence in his first Summer League game.

Even though Carey and Richards did not break the rotation with the Hornets, they played well in the G League with the Greensboro Swarm. Richards averaged 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds, while Carey had 16.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.