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Hornets executives explain why they wouldn't trade Frank Kaminsky for 4 1st-round picks

Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk said the team didn't think they would get much value out of the future picks the Celtics were offering.

The Charlotte Hornets took Frank Kaminsky with the No. 9 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, but it soon was reported that the Boston Celtics made a huge trade offer in an attempt to trade up for Justise Winslow, who wound up going No. 10 to the Miami HeatGrantland's Zach Lowe has more details on the Celtics' trade proposal, which included four first-round picks and possibly a second-rounder or two.

Boston offered their own No. 16 pick, the No. 15 pick from the Atlanta Hawks that was acquired in a "prearranged contingency deal," an unprotected future selection from the Brooklyn Nets and their choice of a future first-rounder from either the Memphis Grizzlies or Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Lowe. There's some dispute about whether additional second-round picks were also involved.

Celtics president Danny Ainge admitted after the draft that the offer was probably too much, but it still wasn't enough to convince Charlotte to pull the trigger. The Hornets preferred Kaminsky over a bunch of picks.

Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk explained the reasoning behind not making the deal to Grantland:

"You have two minutes to decide: ‘Do I want to do this trade?'" says Polk, one of five men atop Charlotte's decision tree. "You don't have a day. You don't have hours. After all the intelligence we'd done, we were comfortable with Frank. But now you have two minutes to decide if you make this trade, who you're gonna take at No. 16, or maybe No. 20, and we haven't been focusing on that range. In fantasy basketball, it sounds great: ‘Oh my God, they could have gotten all those picks.' But in the real world, I'm not sure it makes us better."

Polk also argued that having those extra picks created a roster crunch after acquiring Nicolas Batum, Spencer Hawes and Jeremy Lamb in trades. "Even if someone wants to give me first-round picks, what am I going to do with them?" he said.

It's worth noting that the Hornets also turned down two first-round picks from the Chicago Bulls in the 2014 NBA Draft in order to stay at No. 9 and take Noah Vonleh, who was sent to Portland for Batum a year later. So, this is the second time in two years Charlotte has turned down an offer of multiple first-rounders in order to stay at No. 9.

There's some logic in Polk's thinking that having too many mid-to-late first-rounders isn't ideal, but the way he articulates the point doesn't make sense. He implies that the team didn't do its homework on the latter part of the draft, which is an indictment on the scouting department. A strong front office would find a way to make good use of those assets rather than throwing its hands in the air and essentially saying "what am I going to do with all these picks?"

The Hornets must hope Kaminsky turns out better than the skeptics believe and that Batum stays in free agency next summer. Batum's camp is already sending signals that he'd like to sign with Toronto next summer, per Lowe. (Batum denied the report). If Charlotte disappoints next season, it's not hard to see him bolting. If Batum leaves after one year and Kaminsky doesn't pan out, the Hornets are left with a lot of egg on their faces.

That's a worst-case scenario, but the best-case scenario is ... what, exactly? If Batum sticks on a big new contract and the youngsters develop nicely, perhaps Charlotte can sneak into the top half of the Eastern Conference. However, even that puts the Hornets a piece away from legitimate contention. The Hornets, like many teams stuck in the middle, will need some good strokes of luck to make that leap.

Charlotte can still make that leap with the path it's taken, but that's more difficult without those extra first-round picks at its disposal to swing a bigger move.

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