3 Charlotte Hornets who definitely won't be back next season

It's been a rough season for the Charlotte Hornets and there could be some big changes coming. These three Hornets might not be back next season.

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

There have been some bright spots for the Hornets this year, including the play of rookie Brandon Miller. But they also have gotten just 22 games from LaMelo Ball and just 19 from Mark Williams and are currently 17-52, the third-worst record in the league. They shed long-tenured veterans, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and P.J. Washington and more changes are definitely coming this offseason. Here are three players who could be on the way out.

3. Tre Mann

While Tre Mann has shown promise, questions linger about his long-term fit with the Charlotte Hornets. While LaMelo Ball has been injured, Tre Mann has played very well. He is currently averaging career highs in both points and minutes per game this season, averaging 12.1 points and 31.1 minutes per contest. However, despite his contributions, there are doubts about Mann's future in Charlotte.

When you consider the team's developmental trajectory, Mann is obviously not at the forefront. Players like Brandon Miller could overshadow Mann's role in the team's long-term plans. In addition, although Mann has demonstrated improvement over time, the emergence of other players could complicate his future with the Hornets. 

Take 30-year-old rookie Vasilije Micic for example, whose floor general abilities have garnered attention. In March alone, Micic averages 16.0 points and 5.3 assists per contest. In their game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Hornets ran Mann off-ball while Micic played point guard and Micic finished that game with a career-high 25 points and 8 assists. With that said, Micic's recent performances have also been noteworthy, potentially edging Mann out of a secure roster spot.

Another significant factor affecting Mann's role with the Hornets is his defensive capabilities. Mann struggles on the defensive end. When it comes to defensive versatility, Mann is sitting at the 37th percentile according to craftednba.com. This weakness has impacted his minutes on the court, and limited his overall effectiveness. 

In conclusion, although Tre Mann has shown potential and contributed positively to the Charlotte Hornets since arriving, Mann may find himself seeking opportunities elsewhere in the league once LaMelo returns. His box scores this month show he is ready for a larger role. Now Mann has the remainder of this season to show the surrounding teams what he can do. 

2. Aleksej Pokusevski

In a league that thrives on potential, Poku has yet to live up to his. Despite his intriguing skill set and towering presence on the court, Pokusevski has yet to find his rhythm in this league and sadly, Charlotte does not appear to be the place for Poku's big break. 

Aleksej Pokusevski, a 7-foot forward from Serbia, began his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, joining the team during the 2020-2021 season, amidst their rebuilding phase. He played 24 minutes a game in his first season. However, despite flashes of brilliance, his minutes per game have steadily declined each season since his debut. Additionally, the Thunder's recent decision to waive Pokusevski in late February of this season further underscores the challenges he faces in finding a stable role in the NBA.

The 7-foot forward from Serbia is an intriguing prospect. However, with players like JT Thor, Grant Williams, and Davis Bertans commanding the power forward position for the majority of the game, opportunities for Pokusevski to showcase his talents are limited. He's currently putting up around 2.6 points in barely over 10 minutes per game, which pretty much screams "underutilized potential."

It appears that Pokusevski's journey in the league is fraught with uncertainty. If he's serious about making an impact at the highest level, limited opportunities might force this young forward to navigate waivers and roster changes once more.

1. Marques Bolden

Marques Bolden joined the Charlotte Hornets in late February on a 10-day deal. His contract eventually evolved into to a two-way deal by early March. However, it would be surprising if Bolden was still with the Hornets for the 2024-2025 season.

This move for Bolden was primarily driven by the uncertain status of Mark Williams, the Hornets' usual starting center. Due to a lingering back injury, Williams hasn't taken the court since Dec, 8 and it's been reported that he might be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Right now, Bolden's role on the Hornets' roster is all about filling in the gaps and meeting the team's immediate needs. Bolden is fourth in line on the depth chart for the starting center position, which basically means the Hornets would rather roll with Grant Williams or Poku at the 5 before they give Bolden a shot. Since joining the NBA in the 2019-2020 season, Bolden has played in only 11 games and he didn't exactly light up the court with his performance in those games either. With this kind of track record, it's hard to find a compelling reason for Bolden to stick around.

While Bolden's presence provides temporary depth to the Hornets' frontcourt, Nick Richards' emergence as a reliable backup complicates Bolden's long-term prospects with the team. Richard's impact at center raises questions about the necessity of keeping Bolden past this season. Because once Mark Williams fully recovers, Richards is likely to take on a role with the second unit. Then, it's probable that Bolden's role with the Hornets will diminish. If this were to happen, Bolden may opt to explore opportunities elsewhere in the league, seeking a more stable and substantial role on another team's roster.

In conclusion, Bolden's here to fill a temporary gap in the Hornets' lineup. However, that situation is subject to change come next season.

Next. Story link. 3 Washington Wizards who definitely won't be back next season. dark