Hornets respond to LaMelo Ball wrist injury with a deadline trade with Warriors

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The Charlotte Hornets added some point guard depth at the NBA trade deadline Thursday, acquiring Brad Wanamaker from the Golden State Warriors.

The Hornets are absorbing Wanamaker’s $2.25 million salary into what was about $4 million in salary-cap space. The Hornets have an open roster spot, so there is no need to release another player to add Wanamaker. The Warriors’ likely incentive is lowering what figures to be a big luxury-tax bill at the end of the season.

The Hornets and Warriors are technically exchanging second-round picks, but the way this trade is structured, it’s highly unlikely either pick would actually be conveyed to the other team.

Wanamaker signed a one-year contract with Golden State, so the Hornets have no obligation to him beyond this season. He averaged 4.7 points, 2.5 minutes and 16 minutes this season with the Warriors. He is shooting a career-worst 35% from the field.

The Hornets are fourth in the Eastern Conference at 22-21. Their biggest need is still center depth. However, LaMelo Ball’s wrist fracture — likely a season-ending injury — puts some pressure on point guard depth that Wanamaker addresses.

Devonte Graham starts at point guard now, and Terry Rozier can shift over from shooting guard to the point. So Wanamaker is more veteran insurance at the point than a likely candidate for the rotation.

Graham and Monk both Hornets after the deadline; that could make for a tough choice

Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak kept that last roster spot open throughout the first half of the season. He took a similar approach two seasons ago before eventually claiming Shelvin Mack off waivers after the trade deadline to be a third point guard.

With the Hornets acquiring no center help, it’s expected the Hornets will look into acquiring a big man after buyouts occur. Two centers who could potentially be available: Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge.

However, buyouts would mean both those players become unrestricted free agents, which means they’d control this process and might favor teams closer to title contention than Charlotte.