The Hornets of 2008-2009 are starting to remind me of the Saints from 2007.
After an amazing season that put the team on the map (Saints 2006/Hornets2007-2008)….they suffer through a sophomore slump and fail to live up to expectations.
After being picked to win the Super Bowl in 2007 the Saints failed to make the post season. Free agent players like Jason David and draft picks like Robert Meachem proved to be awful decisions.
After being picked to reach the NBA finals in 2009 the Hornets are floundering and look as if they’ll be a club fighting for one of the final few playoff spots no where close to earning home court advantage. Free agent James Posey is a great defender but he’s being asked to do too much and lately he couldn’t shoot the ball into the ocean if he were on a cruise boat.
The good news for the Hornets is that they have a chance to retool and upgrade for a post season push. Unlike the NFL where trading contracts and moving valuable parts is nearly impossible…the guaranteed contracts of the NBA allow creative deals to happen.
For the Hornets to make any bockbuster deal they’d have to move one of their high paid players and I don’t see this happening (nor do I think it should happen!).
We all know Chris Paul is never going anywhere. David West is nearly as untouchable. Tyson Chandler has value (espicially to a team like Phoenix or the L.A. Clippers) but I know coach Byron Scott loves his defense and would probably not be willing to part with TC. Peja is immovable because of his age and injuries and no one wants an old player with a bad contract.
So what kind of deal can the Hornets make to help themselves?
Well, if I were GM I’d try to get this monster four team deal done!
(This deal works under NBA salary rules and trade guidelines)
New Orleans Hornets
Salary: $6,750,000 Years Remaining: 1
Salary: $3,448,050 Years Remaining: 1
Salary: $1,446,720 Years Remaining: 2
Outgoing Players: Sean Marks, Hilton Armstrong, Julian Wright, Morris Peterson
Oklahoma City Thunder
|*Cash compensation or 1st round pick received from New Orleans|
Salary: $5,592,240 Years Remaining: 3
Outgoing Players: Chris Wilcox
Golden State Warriors
*Cash compensation or 1st round pick received from New Orleans
Salary: $1,869,600 Years Remaining: 2
Outgoing Players: Anthony Morrow, Marco Belinelli
Salary: $442,114 Years Remaining: 2
Salary: $797,581 Years Remaining: 1
Salary: $2,032,800 Years Remaining: 2
Outgoing Players: Charlie Villanueva
Why the deal works for all four teams:
HORNETS: Get a versitile big man in Villanueva. The former UConn star is capable of playing three different positions and is on a roll right now averaging 27 points per game over the last two weeks. It’s also a contract year for Villanueva so he’ll have to be a good teammate and play at a high level if he wants a big payday this summer. Belinelli is averaging nearly 10 points per game (more than MoPete or Rasual Butler). The Italian is also 22 years old and unless Byron Scott buried him on the bench and stunted his growth (like he’s done with all young players and euros) could team with CP3 for years to come in the back court. In Wilcox the Hornets finally get a good big man who could do a great job backing-up Tyson Chandler.
BUCKS: The Bucks will not be able to pay Villanueva so they will lose him to free agency this summer. In return for Villanueva the Bucks get two young players (Morrow and Armstrong) who could team with guys like Andrew Bogut, Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to help a team that by the end of the season will have traded away most of it’s moveable veterans.
WARRIORS: A team going nowhere this year the Warriors have more talented wing players than any other team in the NBA so losing two young ones is not that big of a deal because lets be honest….where are they ever going to play with Ellis, Crawford, Jackson and Maggette in the starting 5??? Julian Wright could be a perfect ‘garbage-man’ for Don Nelson’s wide open offense. As non-stop as JuJu plays he might be perfect tipping-in (cleaning-up) all the missed three point shots Golden State throws up. Plus, Wright is a solid defender againt four positions (1’s-4’s). The Warriors would also receive cash or New Orleans 1st round pick in 2009 or 2011.
THUNDER: OKC is trying to stock-pile draft picks for the future. They will deal Chris Wilcox who’s a free agent this summer. OKC does not have a true shooting guard so MoPete could fill that role. Peterson is also as classy a veteran as you’ll find and a guy who could help young players like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant develop. The 1st round pick in 2009 or 2011 sweetens the deal for the Thunder.
SUMMARY: The Hornets give up two first round draft picks in these deals but considering the win-now mentality and the fact that Byron Scott has a bad track record of developing young players I’m okay with that. The other three teams (all losers this year and building for the future) also all come out of these deals with parts that make them better for the future. The Hornets also get almost 10 million dollars in salary relief next year with Wilcox and Villanueva becoming free agents.
*****And for all the doubters out there who think the Hornets giving up two former lottery picks, a classy veteran and two future first round picks is too much…I ask you two multi-layered questions:
1. Where are the Hornets going in the post season with the team they have today? Certainly not past the Lakers or the Spurs! But the trade I proposed could help them get past those two clubs.
2. Right now the Hornets have no money to spend this summer and will be drafting low in the 1st round. Does trading low draft picks really hurt the team? I say NO! Does having 10 million dollars freed up to perhpas land a free agent player this summer help? YEP!