The Charlotte Hornets (then-Bobcats) were the most improved team in the NBA last season. They improved from 21 wins to 43 wins and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The biggest reason for their turnaround was the addition of big man Al Jefferson, who signed as a free agent in the 2013 offseason.
According to head coach Steve Clifford via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, Jefferson will help recruit free agents to the Hornets.
Coach Steve Clifford thinks Jefferson can have the same impact this summer for the now-Hornets. The Hornets will have at least $13 million in cap space to pursue free agents. Clifford said Jefferson’s presence makes the Hornets a much better sell.
“Totally. He’s dramatically changed where we’re at as a franchise from one year to the next,” Clifford said of Jefferson, who was named All-NBA last week.
“He changed his career with what he did this year and it was already a really good career. He’s made this a more attractive place for people to come and play. No question about that.”
The Hornets have been linked to the likes of a few restricted free agents, Detroit Pistons’ power forward Greg Monroe, Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward and Indiana Pacers’ guard Lance Stephenson. They have been interested in Los Angeles Lakers’ big man Pau Gasol before and will likely be interested in him again now that he is set to become an unrestricted free agent. They also could make a run at Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo through a trade.
Jefferson averaged 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 50.9% from the field and 69.0% from the free throw line this season.