Archive for May, 2008

Another Trade For The Hornets
May 29, 2008

In my obsessive quest to make the Hornets a championship team I’ve dreamed up another trade for Hornets general manager Jeff Bower:

The below picture is of course me channeling the genius to Jeff!

This plan involves our Hornets and the Chicago Bulls. These teams were wheeling and dealing 2 years ago. In 2006 The Hornets obtained Tyson Chandler for P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith.

This deal involves 4 players and 2 draft picks. 

Hornets Receive: SG Thabo Sefolosha, PF Drew Gooden, Bulls 2008 2nd Round Draft Pick (#39 Overall)

Bulls Receive: PG Mike James, C/PF Hilton Armstrong, 2008 Hornets 1st Round Draft Pick (27th overall)

As I understand the NBA trade rules this deal would work.

Pros for the Hornets:

In Sefolosha the Hornets gain a young, defensive minded shooting guard who’s stuck on the Bulls bench behind Larry Hughes and Ben Gordon.  In Gooden the Hornets obtain an aggressive big man capable of backing up David West and even Tyson Chandler. To get this deal done the Hornets may also have to give up their 1st round pick this year in exchange for the Bulls second round choice.  But moving from #27 to #39 is worth it if you can get a proven big man and 2-guard who could back up Morris Peterson immediately and emerge as a starter in a year or so. 

Pros for the Bulls:

In Armstrong the Bulls get a young, athletic big man capable of joining an already young front court that contains Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas. Armstrong could start or come off the bench for the Bulls at the 4 or 5 position.  In Mike James the Bulls get a back-up point guard who’ll make the transition of potential #1 overall pick Derick Rose easier.

   

 

Charles Grant Back In New Orleans
May 29, 2008

Charles grant will take part in this weekend’s Saints mini-camp.

Grant was indicted last week on involuntary manslaughter charges in rural Georgia.

Grant’s attorney maintains his client is innocent.

 

New Contract For Byron Scott
May 28, 2008

The New Orleans Hornets and coach Byron Scott have agreed to a contract extension.

Terms of the deal have not been released but it’s estimated that Scott will make $6 million dollars annually. 

Scott is in Orlando at the NBA’s predraft camp scouting players.

The team has scheduled a press conference for next Tuesday to discuss details of the new deal.

Jake Delhomme Update
May 28, 2008

courtesy: www.espn.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme took a few snaps Wednesday, another step in his rehabilitation from elbow surgery.

 

Jake DelhommeDelhomme

 

Delhomme participated in team drills on the opening day of the team’s optional workouts. Delhomme threw about 40 passes, up from the 34 he threw in individual drills during April’s minicamp.

Delhomme said he was “mentally a little rusty,” but said his arm felt fine. Delhomme had ligament-replacement surgery in his right elbow last fall after playing in only three games.

The Panthers expect Delhomme to be at full strength for the start of training camp in July.

Tennis Star In Playboy Magazine!!!
May 28, 2008

courtesy: www.telegraph.co.uk

 

After losing to Serena Williams in the first round at Roland Garros, 23-year-old Ashley Harkleroad revealed all (but only to the world’s press). She announced that she would be appearing in the August edition of the famous glamour mag.

So why did she do it? Perhaps she was just fed up of continually hearing the second word in ‘losing streak’. For Harkleroad has never won a WTA tournament. Her highest ranking is 39th, which she achieved back in 2003, while she is currently languishing at 61st.

Her real reason was that she found herself twiddling her thumbs while recovering from surgery to remove a cyst from her ovaries. Then came the offer.

While tennis reporters were thinking of changing from Sports Illustrated to Playboy, she said: “I thought, well, I’m not really doing anything right now so I thought about it and it was something that I did. I’m proud of my body. I was representing a female athlete’s body.

“It was hard work, but, you know, it was just a completely different experience. It was fun. I think it comes out July 13th. It’s the August edition. So you’ll see for yourself.”

Her winning opponent, Serena, praised Harkleroad’s off-court activities. “I’m just surprised that she beat me to it.”

When quizzed whether one half of the Williams brand might make centrefold one day, she said: “I do appreciate that mag. I think (Playboy owner) Hugh Hefner is a great businessman.”

 

Pay This Man!
May 26, 2008

Remember the movie ‘Rounders’ starring Matt Damon?  It came out in 1998.

In the big card game at the end of the movie Damon’s character squares off against John Malkovich’s evil ‘Teddy KGB’.

Damon beats Teddy but GKB’s cronies don’t want to pay Damon.  Then in a heavy russian accent Teddy says “pay that man, pay that man his money.” 

I keep hearing that line over and over again when I see, hear or talk about UNO baseball coach Tom Walter.

Pay that man, pay that man his money!

UNO should open up the check book and fork over a serious raise to Tom.

For the first time since the 1988-1989 seasons UNO is going to back-to-back NCAA post season baseball tournaments.

He’s the best coach on the schools staff. 

Before coming to UNO Walter took George Washington University to multiple 40 win seasons. 

The guy can coach, the guy is a winner.  He’s now breathing life into a lethargic UNO program.

The only problem for UNO is that bigger schools with more money and more resources are going to be coming hard after Walter.  Auburn, Maryland maybe Central Florida. He’s now a hot property! 

So as Teddy KGB said “PAY THAT MAN, PAY THAT MAN HIS MONEY!” 

STEP UP UNO…DON’T LOSE THE BEST COACH TO WALK THROUGH YOUR DOORS SINCE TIM FLOYD LEFT IN 1994! 

Hey Hornets….Make This Trade!
May 26, 2008

In my quest to make the Hornets better for a championship run next year…..I’ve got another suggestion for coach Byron Scott and general manager Jeff Bower.

Make a trade with Golden State.

The Hornets should deal center Hilton Armstrong for shooting guard Marco Belinelli.

The Warriors need big men and the Hornets need shooters.  The deal looks great on paper for both teams.

Plus, these teams have dealt with one another in the past.  Back in 2005 the Hornets traded Baron Davis to Golden State for the expiring contract of Dale Davis and back-up point guard Speedy Claxton.

The low risk/high reward carries for both these players.

Both players are averaging just 2 points per game. Armstrong is entering his 3rd season….Belinelli his second. 

Armstrong figures to be buried on the bench behind Tyson Chandler, a soon to be resigned Chris Andersen, Melvin Ely and a potential 1st round draft pick.  Belinelli is buried behind Monta Ellis.

Maybe a fresh start would turn Hilton into the next Tyson Chandler…and in obtaining Belinelli, the Hornets would be getting the next Manu Ginobili. 

If I were Hornets GM…..I’d be working on this deal! 

The Ultimate Hornets Offseason!
May 21, 2008

Two Heads are Better Than One...Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower And I channeling The Basketball Genius!

(Two heads are better than one.  Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower and I channeling the basketball genius.)   

If I were running the Hornets here’s how I’d take the team from being a solid playoff club to a Championship team (take note Jeff Bower & Byron Scott)

THE CORE:

The best thing about the Hornets is the fact that they’ve obviously got a great core of talent.  If the key players can stay healthy this group can be a post-season force for years to come.

Chris Paul, Peja Stojakovic, David West and Tyson Chandler are of course the core I’m talking about. 

With those 4 on the floor the Hornets are already ahead of the game.  

MO-PETE, VUJACIC & DELFINO

Did you notice that in the above section I did not mention Morris Peterson?

It’s not that I don’t like Mo-Pete.  I think he’s a tremendous guy and a solid player.  But, I do think the team has to bring in a shooting guard to push Peterson and perhaps take his position. Mo-Pete has come off the bench as a 6th man before and can do so again if he loses his postion to a new player.  Heck, maybe even some serious competition at his 2-guard spot would push him to play better.

The player I think the Hornets should bring in as their big free agent in 2008 is Sasha Vujacic. Vujacic is a restricted free agent, so his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers, can match any offer he receives. But I think he’s worth going after. 

Several years ago Sasha came to New Orleans for a predraft workout.  In our 2004 mock draft I said Vujacic was the player the Hornets should take 18th overall. The team instead took J.R. Smith and then parted ways with him less than two years later.    

Vujacic has really come into his own as a player. He was quoted as saying that 4 years ago he played more ‘European’…meaning he played no defense.  Now, Lakers coach Phil Jackson says the 24 year old Slovenian is one of his top defensive players.  Vujacic also gets it done offensively.  He hit several big shots off the bench for the Lakers this year.

Vujacic is also skilled enough to bring the ball up the floor as a point guard. 

Basically, Vujacic is ready for a starting job and he’s not going to get it with the Lakers. The Hornets can offer him a real chance at a starting job and pay him the mid-level exception.    

 Sasha Vujacic should be free agent priority #1.

If Vujacic can’t get free from the Lakers, another restricted free agent swingman who could push Peterson or take his starting job is Carlos Delfino of the Toronto Raptors.  Like Vujacic, Delfino has spent the first 5 years of his career coming off the bench and may flourish in a starting role with great players like Chris Paul and David West around him and a great coach like Byron Scott getting the most out of him. 

 

THE BENCH:

Let’s face facts….the Hornets bench was one of the worst in the league last season.

This group needs to be overhauled BIG time! But the Hornets can’t spend big money making their bench better.

I know, kind of a catch-22!

If I were general manager I’d part ways with Jannero Pargo and Bonzi Wells.

Pargo and Wells were just too unproductive in the post-season and will command too much money on the open market.

The three unrestricted free agent players I’d go after to make my bench stronger are:

Eddie House, Shooting Guard-Boston Celtics: Eddie is hands down the best shooter in the Shooting Guard free agent class, he is the most consistent deep threat and general pure shooter out there. House is best suited to come of the bench and give you a sharpshooter who can contribute instantly. If a team is looking for an instant 3 point threat off of their bench, there is no one better.

House is also making only 1.8 million dollars playing for the Celtics this year. The Hornets could afford to pay him 2-2.5 million. 

Beno Udrih, Point Guard-Sacramento Kings: Udrih has shown that he can run a team and can definitely start for a team at PG. He’s young and fast, and has gotten a lot better with protecting the ball.

Udrih made only $1,800,000 last season so the Hornets can certainly afford him.

(editor’s note:  Yes, as you can no doubt already tell from reading this column, I like the euro players….I’m not sure why, but I find myself rooting for the foreign born guys!) 

THE BIRDMAN:

Let the bird fly free!

Chris Andersen, Center/Forward-New Orleans Hornets:  Of the team’s unrestricted free agents I think the Hornets should only bring back the birdman!  Andersen is ‘Tyson Chandler-lite’.  Chris Andersen is a fan favorite, an owner favorite and a Byron Scott favorite.  ‘Bird’ can be the guy to back up Tyson.  Melvin Ely and Hilton Armstrong struggled with that role this year….mark my words…..Andersen will thrive as Tyson’s back-up next season!   

THE DREAM:

I’ve been touting Ron Artest as a Hornet for months!

Ron Artest, Small Forward-Sacramento Kings: Ron Artest is very talented. But that is never really the question with Ron, his temper is what will always haunt him. He’s sort of a mystery, where you are never quite sure what he is thinking about. But one thing is clear, Ron Artest can play. He is versatile enough to play both SF and PF for a team, and as long as you are willing to take the risk on his edgy personality you have a very high quality player.

Obtaining Artest would not be easy.  Sacramento would probably want Julian Wright, Hilton Armstrong and this year’s pick and the Hornets may still have to send cash consideration to make the deal work. 

I can’t see this happening, but I can dream.

JAKE TAYLOR

Remember Tom Berenger’s character Jake Taylor in the movie ‘Major League’? The busted up old veteran looking for one final shot at a title?

I give you Grant Hill!

Grant Hill, Small Forward-Phoenix Suns:  Hill can be a great contributor on any team, but he is not a starter anymore. His chronic injuries have destroyed what could have been one of the top 100 NBA players of all time, leaving him to revel in mediocrity. Someone will take a chance that he can keep himself on the court for them long enough to be useful.

Hill took near league minimum pay to play for Phoenix last year in an attempt to earn a ring.  Maybe he’d be willing to take the same salary to play with Chris Paul and the best young team in the western conference.

THE TRADE:

The Hornets need shooters off the bench, guy who can provide energy and offense.

I think the team should try to swing a trade for Golden State shooting guard Marco Belinelli. The Italian dropped 35 points on the Hornets in the Las Vegas summer league last year.

As a combo guard he’s stuck in Golden State behind Monte Ellis and Baron Davis. The Warriors need big man who fit Don Nelson’s uptempo style of play.

I’d offer Hilton Armstrong for Belinelli one for one.  

 

GARBAGE CONTRACTS:

Mike James & Rasual Butler.  Next season these two stiffs will make a combined 9.6 million dollars!  Seriously!

Because of these garbage contracts the Hornets will not be able to trade these two players.  They’re stuck with them!

So, If I were GM I’d hand Mike James the back-up point guard spot.  I hate how selfish he is, how he looks to shoot everytime he touches the ball…..but if he’s on the roster eating up 6 million dollars in salary he should be playing more.  I’d give him a shot!

Butler is a total bust to me.  Just make him inactive and hope he asks for a buyout!

THE DRAFT:

The Hornets are picking 27th overall in the 1st round of this June’s NBA draft.

Be smart!  Don’t draft a player who has no chance of making the team.  Follow the San Antonio blueprint.  The Spurs selected Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili late in the draft, left them in Europe for a few years and then brought them over and watched them thrive. Last year the Spurs picked Brazilian Tiago Splitter.  Remember his name…he’ll be a big contributor for them next year. 

The Hornets should do the same thing. 

Find a Euro….stash him over seas for a year or two and then hope you’ve got a diamond in the rough.

The only problem with this philosophy…Byron Scott seems to dislike foreign players. Besides Peja Stojakovic all euros who’ve played for Scott have not fared well.  They’ve rotted on the bench (Arvydas Macijauskas) or been traded (Bostjan Nochbar). 

But, hopefully Scott has softened to European players.

Here are few guys I like at #27: (player bios courtesy ESPN)

Nathan Jawai, 6’10 Power Forward-Australia: Big, athletic powerforward with long arms. Already has an NBA body. Strong. Wide shoulders. Soft hands. Strong. Quick on his feet. Very mobile for a big guy. Does most of his damage inside, but also has a solid jump shot.

Nathan Jawai youtube highlight video: Click link below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpJszNGHjNA

 

Joe Ingles, 6’7 Small Forward/Shooting Guard-Australia: Smooth wing with excellent midrange jump shot and a great feel for the game. Good floor vision. Likes to penetrate. Big-time scorer in Australia.

Omri Casspi, 6’8 Small Forward-Israel: Prototypical small forward. Plays with a lot of passion. Scrappy. Good rebounder. Good at slashing to the basket. Tough. Good, but not great, athlete. Decent midrange shooter. Some low-post moves.

Alexis Ajinca, 7’1 Center/Power Forward-France: Super long, wiry player with good athleticism. Amazing 7-foot-8 wingspan. Very skilled for a big man. Nice form on his jump shot. Prefers to play facing the basket. Good moves in the paint. Solid rebounder and shot-blocker.

Anton Ponkrashov, 6’8 Point Guard-Russia: Ponkrashov can do it all on offense, especially as a distributor. Despite his big size, he’s a creative passer. He can pass to anyone from anywhere on the floor. He is crafty, finds the tiniest seams to slip passes through and isn’t afraid to take it to the basket. He’s an aggressive lefty who uses his size, quickness and strength — he looks more like an NBA small forward than a point guard — to get to where he needs to be on the floor. His perimeter shot is solid and he knows how to finish around the rim.

Victor Claver, 6’11 Small Forward-Spain: Skilled forward with excellent quickness. Good athleticism. Has a quick first step that allows him to beat his defender to the basket. Good basketball IQ. Plays with good energy. Emerging jump shooter with NBA 3-point range. 

MY 2008-2009 HORNETS ROSTER: 15 PLAYERS

PG- Chris Paul             Back-Up: Mike James, Beno Udrih

SG- Sasha Vujacic       Back-Up: Morris Peterson, Marco Belinelli

SF: Peja Stojakovic      Back-Up: Grant Hill, Rasual Butler

PF: David West            Back-Up: Julian Wright, (2008 1st round draft pick Nathan Jawai from Australia)

C: Tyson Chandler      Back-Up: Chris Andersen, Melvin Ely 

Estimated Team Salary: $72 Million Dollars (this figure includes Chris Paul receiving a huge extension)

Saints’ Grant indicted on involuntary manslaughter
May 21, 2008

BLAKELY, Ga. (AP) — New Orleans Saints defensive end Charles Grant has been indicted on a charge of involuntary manslaughter stemming from a February altercation at a nightclub.

Grant, who was stabbed in the neck during the fracas, was charged by an Early County grand jury that also charged Laquient Macklin with felony murder and feticide in the shooting death of Korynda Reed, 23. Reed died after being taken to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, after the fight early Feb. 3.

The indictment was posted on the Web site of the Early County News on Tuesday.

District Attorney Charles M. Ferguson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Sheriff’s Capt. Will Caudill said at the time of the melee that there was no known connection between Grant and Reed. He said the fight started inside the club and then moved outside, and Grant was attacked after shots were fired.

Woodrow Gray was indicted on a charge of aggravated assault in the knife attack on Grant, a former University of Georgia star from nearby Colquitt.

Grant was selected by the Saints in the first round of the 2002 NFL draft. He had 2 1/2 sacks in 2007 while starting 14 games for the Saints and has 38 1/2 over his six-year career.

In addition to Grant and Macklin, and Marshae Stromer, Anthony Wilson, Jarvis Tinson, Rodreaco Gray and Woodrow Gray were charged with involuntary manslaughter for alleged participation in the fight.

Grant also received misdemeanor fighting charges.

I Hate Columns Like This! So Far Fetched!
May 20, 2008

Bordow: Byron Scott should be atop Suns’ list

Scott Bordow

courtesy: East Valley Tribune

There is one coach out there for Steve Kerr, one coach who is available and would be a home-run choice for the Phoenix Suns:

Byron Scott.

I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t Scott already have a job coaching the New Orleans Hornets?

Yes, he does.

But Scott can opt out of his contract after this season. And while he has professed his desire to remain in New Orleans, you never know if a few flattering words – and a fat contract – would change his mind.

Scott would seem to be everything Kerr wants in a coach.

He’s a proven winner, having led the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. This season, he guided the Hornets to the second-best record in the Western Conference and was named the NBA Coach of the Year.

He likes to play up-tempo basketball – Kerr has said he doesn’t want to hire a control freak who wants to call every play and coach 75-72 games – but he also places an emphasis on defense. The Hornets allowed 95.5 points per game in the regular season; only the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics were harder to score upon.

He holds players accountable.

If anything, Scott has had to teach himself to be more of a players’ coach. He admits that he was too much of a disciplinarian with the Nets. He has since learned the delicate balance of trusting his players while making sure they know who’s the boss.

As a bonus, Scott played his college ball at Arizona State.

(Of course, you’re asking two Arizona guys in Kerr and owner Robert Sarver to hire a Sun Devil. I believe there are state laws against that).

Why would Scott leave the spectacular Chris Paul and a young, up-and-coming team to coach an aging bunch like the Suns?

Good question.

From strictly a basketball standpoint, Scott should remain in New Orleans. The Hornets have a much better chance of winning a championship the next few years than the Suns do.

But the big picture favors the Suns.

Until the playoffs began, New Orleans was a remote basketball outpost. The Hornets ranked 26th in attendance in the regular season, and it was not an uncommon sight for half of New Orleans Arena to be empty on a game night.

The Suns, on the other hand, are the talk of the town, even when times are bad. Phoenix played to 96.8 percent capacity this season and ranked 14th in the league in attendance.

Then there’s the question of the Hornets’ future in New Orleans.

There’s not enough money in the economically depressed city to support an NBA franchise over the long haul, so Scott could view Phoenix as the more stable franchise.

Scott wouldn’t come cheap. It would cost the Suns up to $2 million to buy out his contract, and he’d likely command a salary in excess of $5 million per season.

But he’d be worth the money given Kerr’s other options – broadcasters with no coaching experience, assistant coaches and front-office personnel.

Chances are that Scott won’t trade jambalaya and Paul for chicken enchiladas and Shaquille O’Neal.

But the Suns won’t know unless they ask.