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Mourning had some great years in Charlotte and elevated the franchise to a higher level, but he would be traded to the Miami Heat after failed contract negotiations for Glen Rice, Matt Geiger and Khalid Reeves.
Although the organization's inability to re-sign Mourning was disapproved by Hornets fans, Rice would be a major contributor who would lead the team to some of its best seasons ever.
After Larry Johnson and Kenny Anderson were dealt during the 1996 offseason, the sharpshooting Rice and the newly acquired Vlade Divac guided the team to a stellar 54-28 record and a return to the playoffs. The next season, the team registered another great record, going 51-31 and making the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
However, the team's regular season success did not accumulate to much success in the playoffs. They would be swept in the first round by the Knicks in 1997 and fall to the Jordan-led Bulls in 1998.
Rice ended up being trade after just three seasons with the Hornets, while Mourning led the Heat to six consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Despite being diagnosed with a serious kidney disease towards his later years, it's interesting to wonder how the Hornets would've competed if they kept together the core of their team.