Buzz City Beat: Charlotte Hornets linked to Jim Cleamons, Gerald Henderson eyes NBA return

Buzz City Beat is Swarm and Sting’s one stop for the latest news and stories from around the web about the Charlotte Hornets.

Charlotte Hornets‘ target and current San Antonio Spurs‘ assistant Ettore Messina is set to meet with the Milwaukee Bucks regarding their head coaching vacancy. (Woj) In this edition of Buzz City Beat, we look at Charlotte being linked to Jim Cleamons, Gerald Henderson‘s return to the NBA and Zach LaVine potentially landing with the Hornets.

Hornets linked to Jim Cleamons for head coach (ESPN.com)
Ex-NBA head coach Jim Cleamons had an informal phone conversation with Bucks general manager Jon Horst in regards to their head coach opening, a source said. Cleamons, who was an assistant coach when Michael Jordan starred with the Chicago Bulls, is also getting interest for head coach openings with Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets and Chicago State.

Cleamons has links to both Michael Jordan and Mitch Kupchak. He coached MJ from 1989-1996 and was with the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching staff from 1999-2004 and 2006-2011 when Mitch was the GM in LA. He is a 10-time NBA Champion (once as a player, nine times as a coach) with over 30 years of coaching experience (23 seasons in the NBA).

Jim is also a North Carolina native. He is currently an assistant high school basketball coach in Los Angeles. The 68-year old is being linked to both Milwaukee and Charlotte. At this point in his career, I think Cleamons makes more sense as an assistant for the Hornets rather than as a head coach.

Ex-Charlotte player Gerald Henderson eyes NBA return (HoopsHype.com)
I’m willing to fill any role. I’ve always been a team guy. I think that I can help in a lot of different ways. But ideally, I’d be in a situation where they need a veteran presence and I can come in with the right attitude every day and set an example for the squad and the younger guys.

Henderson missed the entire 2017-18 NBA season after undergoing hip surgery. Now seven months after the surgery, he is completely healed and looking to make a comeback. Gerald was drafted by Charlotte in 2009 and played in the Queen City for the first six years of his career. Maybe a reunion could be a possibility this offseason.

Hendo probably won’t command more than the veteran minimum, or close to it, so he could be a relatively cheap option for the Hornets to add shooting guard depth. He could be the veteran leader for a team who has prospects like Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon, as well as their draft picks this year, and who are also looking to get younger all-around. I think Gerald would be a good low-risk option for Charlotte.

Zach LaVine to the Queen City? (TheSportster.com)
He will be a free agent, but he won’t be getting the big time deal. However, he is still a very serviceable player to say the least. Zach Lavine is free to sign with whoever he wants this off-season and a team that she should maybe go to is the Charlotte Hornets.

While LaVine in Charlotte sounds good in theory, there are a few problems that could arise with the potential marriage. One is that Zach is only a restricted free agent this summer which means that Chicago could match any offer sheet that he signs with another team and the Bulls have way more cap space than the Hornets do. Secondly, Michael Jordan’s team probably doesn’t have enough cap space to sign the 23-year old.

He will likely want near max-money or as close as he can get to a max contract this summer. The most Charlotte could offer him would be a Mid-Level Exception deal which is nowhere close to a max contract. Unless the Hornets trade Nicolas Batum or Dwight Howard and clear cap space, they won’t be in the running to land Zach LaVine in free agency.

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