Gordon Hayward injured, out at least four weeks

Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward has suffered a right foot sprain, the team announced today.

The injury was sustained during the second quarter of last night’s win over the Indiana Pacers.

The initial diagnosis was confirmed via a physician’s exam and studies today in Indianapolis.

Hayward will be reevaluated in approximately four weeks and further updates on his status will be provided as appropriate.

Hayward is averaging 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 34.0 minutes per game over the course of 44 appearances (all starts) this season with the Hornets. The eleventh-year forward is shooting 41.4% from the three-point line. The veteran wing set a career-high in scoring this season on Jan. 6, 2021 vs. Atlanta with 44 points and has totaled 20 or more points in 20 outings this season. The Butler product was originally acquired by Charlotte in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics on Nov. 29, 2020.

Warriors trade Brad Wanamaker to Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets today acquired guard Brad Wanamaker, Toronto’s 2022 second-round pick, which is top 54 protected, and cash considerations in a trade with the Golden State Warriors in for Charlotte’s 2025 second-round pick, which is top 55 protected.

In his third season, Wanamaker is averaging 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 16.0 minutes per game in 39 appearances. For his career, Wanamaker has appeared in 146 games, including one start, accruing averages of 5.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 16.0 minutes per game over three seasons with two teams, the Boston Celtics (2018-20) and Golden State Warriors (2020-21).

Wanamaker led the NBA in free throw percentage during the 2019-20 season, shooting .926% from the free throw line. He played four seasons collegiately for the Pittsburgh Panthers and spent seven seasons overseas in France, Italy, Germany and Turkey from 2011 to 2018.

Hornets guard LaMelo Ball undergoes wrist surgery

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball underwent successful surgery to address a fracture in his right wrist. The surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City by Dr. Michelle Carlson.

Ball’s wrist will be immobilized and he will be reevaluated in four weeks.

The injury was sustained during the Hornets loss to the LA Clippers on March 20.

Ball, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, is averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.59 steals (7th in the NBA) per game in 41 contests. Among rookie leaders, Ball ranks first in assists and steals, second in scoring and is tied for second in rebounds. Since starting on Feb. 1 in Miami, he is averaging 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals in his 21 starts while shooting .464% from the field and .426% from three-point range. Ball is the only player over the last 60 years to lead all rookies in total points, rebounds, assists and steals at the All-Star Break. Ball won back-to-back Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Awards in January and February.

Hornets will allow partial fan attendance, at 15% capacity, starting March 13, 2021

The Charlotte Hornets will welcome back a limited number of fans at Spectrum Center, starting with the team’s game on Saturday, March 13 against the Toronto Raptors at 7 p.m.

The Hornets’ reopening plan has been approved by state and county authorities, allowing the team to host fans at 15% capacity, which is approximately 3,000 fans per game.

Prior to reopening to the general public, the Hornets will host frontline healthcare workers from longtime partner Novant Health on Thursday, March 11 vs. Detroit. The Hornets will provide 500 complimentary tickets to Novant Health employees as a thank you for their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are thrilled to welcome Hornets fans back to Spectrum Center, even though it will be in a limited capacity,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “The energy, excitement and passion that our fans bring every night to Spectrum Center has been missed by our players, coaches and staff, and we cannot wait to have them back in the Hive. This is a great first step for not only our fans, but our city and our entire community.

“On behalf of our entire organization, I’d like to thank Governor Cooper, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio and our state and county health officials for their leadership, guidance and input throughout this process as we worked to reopen Spectrum Center to our fans.”

The team also laid out a long list of health safety standards they plan to adhere to.

The Hornets deserve respect, says forward Miles Bridges

The Hornets deserve respect, says forward Miles Bridges. Via the Charlotte Observer:

“Opponents, they still think we’re scrubs. We’re just trying to show people that it’s a new year,” Bridges said Friday, before the Hornets play the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.

The Hornets just beat the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. Afterward, Charlotte guard Malik Monk said of the rest of the league, “We’re going to make them respect us.”

That follows Bridges’ blunt comments in the preseason about the Hornets’ four-season absence from the playoffs: “The Hornets, we haven’t been a good organization for a long time. Let’s be honest about it — everybody here, we’re tired of that.”

“We’re still under .500, but I feel like we’ve opened a lot of teams’ eyes as to how (much) better the Hornets are getting and how good we’re going to be in the future,” said Bridges.

The Hornets are 15-16, tying them with the Bulls for the 7th best record in the Eastern conference. The team’s leading scorers are Gordon Hayward at 21.8 points per game, Terry Rozier at 20.4 PPG, rookie LaMelo Ball at 14.8 PPG, and Devonte’ Graham at 13.7 PPG.

Next three Spurs games, two Hornets games postponed

The San Antonio Spurs’ next three games (Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Cleveland; Saturday, Feb. 20 at New York and Monday, Feb. 22 at Indiana) and the Charlotte Hornets’ next two games (Wednesday, Feb. 17 vs. Chicago and Friday, Feb. 19 vs. Denver) have been postponed in accordance with the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.

The games are being postponed due to four Spurs players testing positive and additional contact tracing for players on both San Antonio’s and Charlotte’s rosters, and in order to ensure the health and safety of players on both teams.

Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball playing limited minutes lately

Hornets rookie point guard LaMelo Ball has played limited minutes lately. Via the Charlotte Observer:

Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego says rookie LaMelo Ball playing as he did Friday costs him minutes, regardless of Ball’s huge potential.

“If you’re turning the ball over five times in 16 minutes, that ain’t gonna cut it for me,” Borrego assessed Saturday of Ball’s performance against the Chicago Bulls.

“If you’re doing that on the offensive end, you better be bringing something defensively.”

Ball, the third overall draft pick, has been occasionally spectacular in his first 15 games, including a triple-double against the Atlanta Hawks Jan. 9. However, his performance slipped the past two games, and Borrego has trimmed back his minutes: To 23 against the Toronto Raptors Jan. 16 and 16 1/2 against the Bulls Friday.

Ball is currently third in scoring among rookies, but just 0.2 ppg out of the top spot. He’s also leading all rookies in rebounds, assists and steals per game. He’s been the main rookie to watch this season, along with Warriors center James Wiseman.

Hornets name Tamara Daniels as Senior Vice President and General Counsel

The Charlotte Hornets have named Tamara Daniels Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Daniels, who will serve as a part of HSE’s executive leadership team and will advise and counsel across all areas within the organization, will begin her role with the franchise in February.

Daniels joins the Hornets after serving as Vice President & General Counsel of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the organization’s other properties: the Henderson Silver Knights, Henderson Event Center, Lifeguard Arena and City National Arena.

“We are very excited to have Tamara join our organization and be a part of our senior leadership team,” said HSE President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Tamara is a talented and experienced executive who brings a wealth of knowledge in the sports and entertainment industry that will greatly benefit all areas of our organization. I’d like to welcome Tamara, her husband, Jordan, and their family to Charlotte.”

“I am thrilled to join HSE as General Counsel and look forward to contributing to the ongoing success of the team’s business units,” said Daniels. “The Hornets have a stellar reputation for their commitment to the community and their team members. The newly launched Social Justice Platform is just one example of the franchise’s dedication to crucial initiatives beyond the game that gets me excited. While I will be forever grateful to Bill Foley and the Foley family for the time I spent with the Vegas Golden Knights and its affiliates, joining the Hornets presents an incredible opportunity for me and my husband. We cannot wait to start this new chapter of our lives in Charlotte.”

Wizards vs. Hornets game scheduled for January 20, 2021 is postponed

The NBA game scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 20 between the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Wizards, the team will not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled game against the Hornets.

Kyle Lowry hits game-winner for Raptors over Hornets

The Raptors aren’t off to a great start so far this season, but last night they beat the Hornets despite three Charlotte players putting up 20 or more points. Via the Toronto Star:

The Raptors knew they were going to get a ton of three-point attempts on Saturday night. The Charlotte Hornets play a lot of zone defence that creates those opportunities.

And it was a long two-pointer that was the biggest bucket of the night.

Kyle Lowry made a step-back 18-footer with just over 30 seconds to go for the game-winning basket, allowing the Raptors to post a 116-113 win over Charlotte, their second in three nights in Tampa.

Toronto stayed in the game with some of their best three-point shooting of the season. Despite droughts to start the game and open the second half, the Raptors made 21 on the night.

In the win, Chris Boucher came off the bench and put up 20 points, nine assists and two blocks on just seven field goal attempts. He’s been a standout so far this season and the story of the season for Toronto.