I think the entire Tyson Chandler trade disaster will push the Hornets to new heights.
The bungled deal…which went sideways when TC was unable to pass a physical due to a big toe condition…will make Hornets players realize that the window of opportunity in the NBA is small. Paul will make every player even better than he already does in his quest for a title. David West will have a monster finish and Chandler will finally emerge as the double-double force we remember.
Personally, I think the Hornets will finish 4th in the Western Conference. Lakers #1, Spurs #2, Nuggets #3…Hornets #4. It’s a long way away but I’d bet its Hornets/Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
I’d also like to see the Hornets make a run at free agent big man Mikki Moore. Moore was just bought out of his contract and can sign with any team he chooses. Last season the 7-foot center scored 9 points and grabbed 6 rebounds and would provide the Hornets with nice depth.
My other question is…how will the Hornets get under the dreaded NBA luxury tax next season? The return of Tyson Chandler means the Hornets will be over this limit. Since 1999 when the NBA introduced the luxury tax the Hornets have never had a payroll that has required paying the luxury tax.
Sources tell me Hornets majority owner George Shinn may consider asking new governor Bobby Jindal to help pay the luxury tax. The Saints get over $20 million dollars annually to remain competative in the NFL…why shouldn’t the Hornets get a bigger inducement payment (corporate welfare check)? Stay tuned to see if anything comes from that tip.
If the state doesn’t chip in the Hornets will have to make a trade but that won’t be easy. The team will have to get very creative.
In my opinion what would have to happen is something like the following.
These deals are just hypotheticals to show how the Hornets could be creative getting under the luxury tax (the team is expected to be 5-7 million over this tax).
Tyson Chandler to Cleveland for Anderson Varejao (assuming Varejao picks up his player option or signs a new deal making roughly the same annual salary) and the Cavs 1st round pick.
Chandler is on the books for 11 million in 2009-2010 and trades have to be within 25% of the total contracts being exchanged or the league will not approve them.
Varejao will make 6 million in 2009-2010 and a non-lottery 1st round pick is valued at 3 million dollars.
This deal would work.
The Hornets could then sell the 1st round pick just as they did last year to a team looking to load-up in the NBA draft.
Total money saved against the 2009-2010 luxury tax: 5 million dollars…and the Hornets get an athletic big man in Varejao.
The team could also make another deal to make sure they were well under the luxury tax.
James Posey is set to make 6 million dollars in 2009-2010. The Hornets could send Posey to Golden State for Kelenna Azubuike and the Warriors 2nd round pick.
Azubuike is on the books for 3 million dollars…2nd round picks are valued at 1.5 million dollars. This deal would work. The Hornets could then draft a player in the second round…stash him in a european league and control his rights. This player would not be on the 2009-2010 roster.
Total money saved against the 2009-2010 luxury tax: 3 million dollars…and the Hornets get a quality wing player in Azubuike.
I realize these are just hypothetical cases but these deals would cut 9 million off the Hornets books and allow the team to remain competative by getting less expensive but talented players.
I’d also love to see the Hornets pursue former LSU Tiger Glen Davis. No offense to Ryan Bowen and Melvin Ely…but give ‘Big Baby’ the money you’re paying those two….Davis will probably sign for a 2 year 4 million dollar deal.