4 players who need to step up for the Charlotte Hornets this season

Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Washington, Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre Jr. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Washington, Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre Jr. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets forwards P.J. Washington, Gordon Hayward & Kelly Oubre Jr. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /

On the transaction front, it’s been a relatively quiet offseason for the Charlotte Hornets. The team didn’t make any splashy free-agency transactions and made the most obvious pick in the draft by adding center Mark Williams to the rotation. Unfortunately for the organization, all of its noise came from things that had nothing to do with basketball.

Center Montrezl Harrell, who was acquired from the Washington Wizards near the 2022 trade deadline, got caught with several vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana while driving in Kentucky. Previously facing a  felony drug trafficking charge, Harrell’s offense has been downgraded to a misdemeanor. However, it remains unclear what his next steps are both legally and professionally.

For as unfortunate as this was, it’s a nonviolent offense that could clear up in the blink of an eye. The same can’t be said for the biggest plot twist of the Charlotte Hornets’ offseason.

Charlotte Hornets F Miles Bridges is accused of violent, dishonorable crimes.

Following the best season of his professional career, Miles Bridges was charged with three felony offenses in a sinister domestic violence case that claims he beat his girlfriend in front of their children in June 2022. As announced by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, the charges include “one felony count of injuring a child’s parent and two felony counts of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death.” ESPN reported that he pleaded not guilty to all three of the charges.

Bridges’ partner, Mychelle Johnson, took to social media in wake of the alleged attack to show her battered and bruised head including marks along her face and neck. She stated the following in her since-deleted Instagram post:

“I have nothing to prove to the world, but I won’t allow anyone who could do something so horrible to have no remorse and paint a picture of something I’m not. I won’t allow the people around him to continue to silence me and continue to lie to protect this person.”

If these allegations are proven true, Bridges has lost his place on this team. Unlike other professional sports leagues in North America, the NBA’s tolerance for violent offenses is extremely low and many of its fans feel the same way. He would be condemned and likely face an indefinite suspension — effectively costing himself a payday in the $100M+ range this offseason.

From a raw, human perspective, this is a truly unfortunate and avoidable situation. No family should have to endure the emotional trauma of such actions. It’s inexcusable for a man to lay his hands on a woman, but with children involved? It’s horrifying.

From a basketball perspective,  which pales in comparison to the real-world ramifications, this is an unexpected setback that seriously damages the rebuilding in Charlotte. The free agency market has dried up and the Hornets are lacking the assets needed to make compelling trade offers. For the time being, the Hornets need players currently on the roster to keep the ship afloat.