NBA free agency starts tomorrow (Tuesday, July1st).
Players can officially sign with teams on July 9th.
Expect a lot of activity from the Hornets who’ll no doubt try to sign a couple of their own free agents (Jannero Pargo and Chris Andersen) as well as other big names on the market.
Since the Hornets traded away their first round draft pick for cash the team has to make a splash in free agency.
When I say make a splash in free agency, don’t just look for the Hornets to sign a player straight up…..look for sign and trades. The Hornets will no doubt try to pry a player away from his current team with a new contract and at the same time deal some of the players they have no use for (Hilton Armstrong, Mike James, Rasual Butler).
Here is a list of the guys I think the Hornets have interest in and the chance they have of signing the player listed.
Hornets Level of Interest: Red Hot
Chance Hornets sign Childress: 75%
Synopsis: The Hawks can’t afford to keep both Childress and superstar Josh Smith. The Hawks will focus on Smith. Childress is really what the Hornets need…a smart veteran wing player who’s had a taste of the playoffs and is comfortable starting or coming off the bench. I believe this is a guy the Hornets brass will make a serious run at signing or trading for.
*Ben Gordon: SG Chicago Bulls
Hornets Interest Level: Very High
Chance Hornets Sign Gordon: 50%
Synopsis: This is the player many experts believe the Hornets have targeted as priority #1 in free agency. A 20-point-a-night scorer who could push Morris Peterson to a reserve role. The Bulls have too many good young players and may not be able to re-sign Gordon. The problem is Gordon is a restricted free agent so despite the fact that Chicago has tough decisions getting him away from the Windy City could be tricky.
*Corey Maggette: SF Los Angeles Clippers
Hornets Level of Interest: High
Synopsis: Maggette was rumored to be heading to Orlando but the Magic might not have enough money to land him. A small forward known as a tough defender Maggette seems like a Byron Scott player. The arrival of Maggette would slide Peja to the shooting guard position (Peja played the 2-guard spot his first year with the Hornets when Desmond Mason was on the team).
*Ron Artest: SF Sacramento Kings
Hornets Interest: High
Chance Hornets sign Artest: 25%
Synopsis: Artest has to decide if he wants stay one more year with Sacramento or take a longer contract for more money. I’m betting he opts out of the final year of his deal. A tremendous defender who can score 20 a night Artest is a risk because he can be a distraction off the court but with a strong head coach like Byron Scott and quality leaders like Chris Paul and David West I think Artest is worth the risk.
*James Posey: SF Boston Celtics
Hornets Level of Interest: High
Chance Hornets sign Posey: 20%
Synopsis: Posey is an unrestricted free agent but will more than likely return to Boston. Posey simply opted out of his contract so he could get more money.
*Sasha Vujacic: SG Los Angeles Lakers
Hornets Level of Interest: Moderate
Synopsis: The only way Vujacic gets out of LA is if the Lakers land someone like Artest and can no longer afford Vujacic. Sasha is a solid defender who’s ready for a starting role and I believe he’d be a perfect fit in New Orleans either as the starting shooting guard or as the 6th man. Vujacic is a restricted free agent so if the Hornets get him a sign and trade seems more likely.
*Monte Ellis: SG Golden State Warriors
Hornets Level of Interest: Guarded
Chance of signing Ellis: 10%
Synopsis: The most electric up-and-coming shooting guard in the league Ellis is arguably the hottest name on the free agent market. He’ll want more money than the Hornets can afford and he’s a restricted free agent so I can’t imagine Golden State allowing him to leave. But, Ellis is from Jackson, Mississippi and would thrive alongside Chris Paul.
*P.J. Brown: PF Boston Celtics
Chance Hornets sign P.J.: Unknown
Synopsis: P.J. came out of retirement and got his ring with Boston last year. So, the big question now is….does he still want to play? If he does he’d be a perfect back-up to David West, the player he helped mentor into the NBA. If P.J. doesn’t want to play than Byron Scott should offer him his top assistant coaching position. As a classy, well respected leader P.J. would be a fast riser through the coaching ranks.
*James Jones: SF Portland Trailblazers
-Jones was one of the top 3 point shooters in the NBA last year and a guy who could be ready to breakout.
-A solid shooter off the bench but a guy who’s never rally found a home (8 teams in 7 years!).
*Brent Barry: SG San Antonio Spurs
-The Hornets made a run at Barry 3 years ago. He’s a solid veteran who can make shots and would get more playing time in New Orleans then in San Antonio.
*Matt Barnes: SF Golden State Warriors
-An older version of Julian Wright….long and athletic. He’ll help someone off but to me he’s too much like Wright….why have 2 players who do identical things on the bench?
-Golden State will not be able to sign all the free agents they have so the Hornets should make a run at Biedrins. He’s a big man in the Tyson Chandler mode who’d be a tremendous edition coming off the bench.
*Carlos Delfino: SF/SG Toronto Raptors
-I’m a big fan of Delfino but it looks as if he’s going back to Europe to play. He’d be a great 6th man for the Hornets.
*Jarvis Hayes: SG Detroit Pistons
-He dropped 29 on the Hornets on national TV. If he can be had for cheap then the Hornets may want to look at him.
*Ricky Davis: SG Miami Heat
-A former Hornet and scoring machine Davis is known as a selfish player and a cancer cell everywhere he’s been. I can’t imagine the team bringing him back…but he sure can score!
*Sebastain Telfair: PG Minnesota Timberwolves
-Former national high school player of the year, could be a nice back-up for Chris Paul if he’d come for cheap on a one year deal.
-All Star type player who’s had some serious injuries. If he comes back healthy he’ll be electric…but that’s a big “if”!
*Marko Jaric: PG/SG Memphis Grizzlies: After recent trades Memphis now has way to many guards on it’s roster. Jaric makes quite a bit of money but he’d be an upgrade over Jannero Pargo as the team’s combo guard off the bench. If the Hornets could add a reasonably priced big man in free agency they could perhaps offer a package that includes Rasual Butler , Melvin Ely and even Chris Andersen or Hilton Armstrong in an attempt to obtain Jaric. Bonus feature for Jaric: his wife is Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Adrianna Lima….who wouldn’t love seeing her in the stands???
*Vladimir Radmonovic/Luke Walton: SF’s Los Angeles Lakers: I love both these players and have been a fan of these guys for years….but they hurt themselves because of their play in the post season. Both could be on the trading block depending what moves the Lakers make. I’d love to see the Hornets obtain either one of these players.
*J.J. Reddick: SG Orlando Magic: A college sharp shooter who will be traded. He plays no defense but the Hornets need guys who can make shots and Reddick can make shots. Reddick makes only 2 million dollars and he’s in the last year of his contract. Acquiring Reddick is great for the Hornets….they’d have to give up very little to acquire him and if he stinks he’s gone at the end of the next year…if he’s solid then the team gets a cornerstone player at a bargain basement price.