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Hornets to Acquire Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb in Separate Deals; Send Gerald Henderson, Noah Vonleh to Portland

The Charlotte Hornets had already begun the process of reworking a team that underwhelmed and missed the playoffs by shipping Lance Stephenson to the Clippers in exchange for Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes. With two more trades today, they’re asserting their status as the most buzzworthy team of the offseason thus far:

With LaMarcus Aldridge a free agent and looking more and more likely to sign elsewhere, Nicolas Batum became a popular name for hypothetical trades. Should Aldridge leave, Portland would no longer be even the fringe contender it had been the last couple seasons, especially in the Western Conference, and seeing as Damian Lillard is yet to turn 25, they would have time to rebuild, though that isn’t the case according to Woj:

Noah Vonleh didn’t do much last year as a rookie teenager on a squad looking to win now and make a positive impression during their first season since reviving the Hornets brand. He only saw 10 minutes of playing time on three occasions up until a lost season gave him a chance for more floor time in April, but he joins Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard as a young group for Blazers GM Neil Olshey and coach Terry Stotts to develop, regardless of where Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez decide to sign.

As for Henderson, he’ll make $6 million as an expiring contract next season and could serve as a replacement should Matthews and/or Arron Afflalo depart, or as a trade chip in another deal.

The Hornets are betting on a return to form from Batum, who’s only 26 years old, but has just one year left on his deal and is coming off a dismal season in which he shot 32.4 percent from beyond the arc, well below his career average of 36.9 percent. That obviously affected numbers like his true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage, but his free throw rate also plummeted. On the bright side, he again averaged close to five assists. Along with Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, he’ll form an extremely intriguing trio on the wing.

Michael Jordan and Rich Cho weren’t done there:

While he hasn’t done much since being a centerpiece of the infamous James Harden trade, Jeremy Lamb still represents somewhat of an unknown considering he, along with their other young players, faced an uphill battle for playing time under Scott Brooks, who favored trusted veterans like Derek Fisher and Thabo Sefolosha.

Matt Barnes is now one team closer towards a shot at being on every team’s roster at some point in his career, and he could add another to his list if he’s dumped by OKC. He’s 35 years old now, but had a strong season in Los Angeles last year, especially considering the peculiar roster management there often left him guarding elite wings, a cumbersome task for someone his age, particularly on an every-night basis.

Finally, Charlotte still has a top 10 pick, and both Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Chad Ford believe the moves today continue to point to the selection of Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky at No. 9.

UPDATE: It looks like Barnes is actually going to the Memphis Grizzlies, with Luke Ridnour going to Charlotte. However, Lamb could still wind up with the Hornets in a trade for Ridnour, who would then be waived by Oklahoma City.

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