Archive for November, 2009

Just My Opinion
November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

Just some random thoughts…just my opinion.

SAINTS:

I think the next three weeks will be the most difficult of the season for the Saints.

New England

@ Washington

@ Atlanta

The Patriots are the Patriots and the game Monday night will be tough.  The Redskins stink on offense but they play good defense and will of course relish the role of spoiler.  Atlanta in ATL is always tough.

 

If the Saints get through these three games and are 13-0 then I truly believe that they’ll run the table and finish 16-0. The Cowboys, Bucs and Panthers (the Saints final three opponents) don’t scare me at all!

 HORNETS:

I love Julian Wright.  JuJu has done several segments at our TV station and he’s a talented guy…but he needs a fresh start. 

Since taking over 5 games ago as the new head coach Jeff Bower has played Julian a grand total of 16 minutes (JuJu’s minutes the following 5 games: 1,2,5,8,0).

With the re-emergence of Peja and Posey their is no real role for Julian.

So since I love proposing trades I’ve got another one.

Julian Wright to the Portland Trail Blazers for the rights to Victor Claver.

With Nicolas Batum injured Wright could perhaps find minutes with Portland and could develop with a good group of young players on that team’s roster.  The Hornets would also move closer to getting below the dreaded NBA luxury tax by trading Wright for the rights to a foreign player who’s playing over seas. 

Claver is a spanish pro player whom Portland took in the 1st round (22nd overall) last spring.  The Hornets could bring him over next season and hope he turns into a quality player.

 

BYRON SCOTT:

All sorts of rumors are swirling about Byron Scott one day taking over as head coach of the Lakers.  I’ve got a gut instinct that maybe Scott does end up in LA…but taking over the Los Angeles Clippers.  Mike Dunleavy isn’t getting it done and he’s got talent.  If team owner Donald Sterling decides to make a change he should look no further than Scott. 

 

Byron turned teams around in New Jersey and New Orleans and could probably do quite well with the Clips current roster (he could probably do REALLY well if the Clippers could sign one big free agent in 2010).  Sure, Byron is hard headed and isn’t great at developing young players but the Clippers have talent and I think he’d do well with LA’s other team. 

NCAA FOOTBALL:

I think Colt McCoy is the next Drew Brees.  I love the way the Texas Longhorns signal caller plays.  Any team that drafts Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford before McCoy is CRAZY in my mind.  Colt McCoy is the real deal!!!

I also love the Nike uniforms that 10 teams in college football are wearing.  The new Nike Pro Combat uniforms are tremendous.  LSU’s look great…but the best looking duds are worn by TCU.

Start Making Moves Hornets
November 17, 2009

Start making moves Hornets!

Look, their are a lot of bad teams in the NBA….teams that have good players to supply to good teams via trade.  If the Hornets wait until the February trade deadline to wheel-and-deal they may not be able to dump the bad contracts they want.

SO START MAKING MOVES NOW.

Look, I’m a positive, optimistic person but even if Chris Paul can get healthy fast the Hornets (as they stand now) are not good enough to compete in the Western Conference.  Unless new coaches Jeff Bower and Tim Floyd  know where the fountain of youth is and can bring Peja Stojakovic, James Posey and Morris Peterson to drink from it than this team will not compete.  Unless Bower and Floyd and can wave a magic wand and make lottery busts Julian Wright and Hilton Armstrong productive then the Hornets will struggle.

{Also, quickly…I do not know how to post items on www.hornetsreport.com but I was forwarded links and see where certain people are beating me up on the message boards for the trades I’ve proposed…I LOVE IT!  If any of the so-called experts sounding off have a better idea (trade) as to how to make the team improve I’d love to hear it….but if they do not, then please be quiet…and please stop saying the team as they stand now can be a contender….it cannot!} 

So Hornets, start making moves now to get better for next season.  The fact that Bower and Floyd are playing youngsters Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton is great…but this team needs to be shaken up.  Changes need to be made…and they better be made soon or the situation will be worse next season…and being bad in back to back years will give Chris Paul another reason to leave once he hits free agency in 2012.

Also…If I were Jeff Bower or Hugh Weber I’d be on the phone now with Golden State trying to pry this guy out of the bay area:

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The below clip courtesy of the ESPN Insider:

Now that Stephen Jackson is a Bobcat, one would figure Monta Ellis becomes the man for Golden State.

But as he explained to the Oakland Tribune, he’s not interesting in assuming more responsibility, and wants others to step up.

“I’m not going to put any more on my back,” Ellis told the paper. “I’m not going to do more. Somebody else is going to have to step up and take on the role that Jack had and be that player.”

The team hopes with Jackson now gone, Ellis can “straighten up.”

“Monta’s only chance to be the franchise player was for us to move Jackson,” a team source told the paper. “He’s already going down that road. But getting him away from Jackson will hopefully straighten him up.”

Either way, it’s clear from Ellis’ disparaging comments about Stephen Curry before the season, his feud with Don Nelson last week and what appears to be more griping now that Jackson is gone, Ellis is rather disgruntled as well.

Might a trade be on the way?

Ric Bucher

Ellis has lost his backers

“Monta Ellis’ support system — former VP Chris Mullin and Stephen Jackson — has been dismantled, piece by piece. What’s left are all the people who publicly and privately chastised him for his offseason moped accident two summers ago. From what I’ve seen and heard, he doesn’t believe in the direction of the franchise or that coach Don Nelson believes in him. He hasn’t publicly asked to be traded, but that’s about the only difference between him and Jackson — and that could just be a matter of time.”

Fixing The Hornets
November 16, 2009

Okay…I think I’ve found a way to fix the Hornets…keep them competative this year and build for the future.

Inspired by a report from the Sacramento Bee newspaper and from trade someone sent me from www.hornetsreport.com I’ve come up with the following scenarios:

Three trades:

TRADE #1:

Peja Stojakovic & Bobby Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers

Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic & Adam Morrison to the New Orleans Hornets

WHY: The Lakers are reportedly looking for better outside shooting and another point guard. Peja could finish his career with a chance for a ring and Bobby Brown would take minutes from Jordan Farmar.  The Hornets would get three wing players because they desperately need wings who can play.  Vujacic would automatically start at shooting guard and Walton/Morrison can easily break the Hornets rotation at small forward.  Morrison also has an expiring $6 million dollar contract which would help the Hornets get under the luxury tax.  Morrison could be re-signed next season (at the veteran minimum) if he plays well.

TRADE #2: (as reported in the Sacramento Bee)

Emeka Okafor to the Sacramento Kings

Kenny Thomas to the New Orleans Hornets

WHY: I’ve been saying for weeks that Okafor and West are too much alike and cannot play in the same line-up.  Also, I don’t think Okafor is tough enough for West and has not endeared himself to the team.  Okafor goes to a Kings team still searching for a quality big man (Spencer Hawes still looks shakey).  The Hornets get an $8 million dollar expiring contract which gets them further under the luxury tax and helps free up some money for free agency in the summer 2010.  Yes, the Hornets would have to play the remainder of the season with Sean Marks, Hilton Armstrong and Darius Songaila at center but the three should be servicable enough to stay conpetative.

TRADE #3:

Julian Wright and Devin Brown to the Portland Trail Blazers

Rudy Fernandez and a future 2nd round pick to the New Orleans Hornets

WHY:  Both Wright and Fernandez are young players in need of change.  I was at the Hornets/Portland game Friday night and Fernandez seemed to be sulking the entire game.  Wright is one of my favortie all time Hornets players because he’s such a great guy but he needs a fresh start.  Both of these guys are super talented and could flourish in new systems.  Fernandez would start immediately at small forward for the Hornets.  Juju would provide energy and solid defense at four positions for the Blazers…Brown gives a playoff team another quality veteran in the back court.

Fletcher’s Revamped 2009-2010 Roster:

1. Chris Paul

2. Sasha Vujacic

3. Rudy Fernandez

4. David West

5. Sean Marks

Bench:

Darren Collison, Marcus Thornton, Luke Walton, James Posey, Adam Morrison, Darius Songaila, Hilton Armstrong, Ike Diogu, Morris Peterson

Personally….if the Hornets could magically make this happen…I’d be very impressed.

With Paul healthy this team could realistically compete for a playoff spot.  If they fall short of the post season you’ve at least got young wing players to run with Paul for the next few years and then the team could pick-up one of three young centers in the NBA Draft Lottery next June (Greg Monroe of Georgetown, Cole Aldrich from University of Kansas or Donatas Motiejunas of Lithuania).

BCS Bowl Game Predictions
November 16, 2009

My Predictions:

11-15-10

***BCS National Champioship Game:

Texas (Big XII Champ) vs Alabama (SEC Champ)

-I really think ‘Bama is better than Florida and will beat them in the SEC title game.

***Rose Bowl:

Oregon (Pac 10 Champ) vs. Ohio St. (Big Ten Champ)

***Fiesta Bowl:

Oklahoma State (Big XII at-large) vs. Boise State (WAC Champ/at-large)

-I think OSU will beat Colorado & Oklahoma to finish the regular season and earn a BCS at-large bid.

***Sugar Bowl:

Florida (SEC at-large) vs. Pitt (Big East Champ)

-I think Pitt will beat West Virginia & Cincinnati and win the Big East Conference.  This match-up would also be good for our city.  Florida fans would no doubt turn out for Tebow’s final game and Pitt reportedly travels big.

***Orange Bowl:

Georgia Tech (ACC Champ) vs. TCU (MWC Champ/at-large)

Okafor Traded To Kings???
November 15, 2009

The Hornets salary dumping and rebuilding is underway.

Check out this article from the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

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Kings considering Okafor

A source with knowledge of the situation says the Kings are discussing a trade with New Orleans that would send Kenny Thomas to the Hornets and bring center Emeka Okafor to Sacramento.

The deal would be ideal for the Hornets, as Thomas’ expiring contract worth $8.7 million is just the kind of contract that would trim their enormous payroll. The question, of course, is whether the Kings see Okafor as a big man solution worth the five years and $62.5 million left on his deal.

http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/sports/kings/archives/2009/11/kings-consideri.html

Hornets Future
November 13, 2009

I think the Hornets made the right decision by firing Byron Scott.

The NBA had figured out Scott’s system and he was unwilling to change. 

Scott has been replaced by General Manager Jeff Bower.  Bower has never been a head coach at any level.  Bower is also bringing back a familiar face…he’s hired former Hornets head coach Tim Floyd as his top assistant.   

I really hope the players respond to Bower and Floyd and that these two create some dynamic opportunities for Chris Paul and company.  Floyd is a tremendous X’s and O’s coach…but will the team respect him and Bower?

If this season continues to go sideways then look for the Hornets to fire sale every big money veteran they can possibly move at the NBA trade deadline in February and to hire a new coach and general manager next offseason.

I hate to sound like Debbie Downer…but assuming the worst….who are some candidates to become the next Hornets head coach?

1. Avery Johnson

Fan Favorite here in New Orleans who graduated from St. Augustine High School.  Former NBA coach of the year who led the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA finals.  Johnson turned down a job with the Detroit Pistons last summer because they would not meet his salary demands which are reportedly in the 4-5 million dollar annual price range. 

avery%20small

I’m not sure the Hornets would spend that kind of money on a coach…even Avery…so unless Johnson will take a hometown discount I’m not sure he’ll be the next Hornets coach.

2.  P.J. Brown    

Another local who played his college ball at Louisiana Tech and lives in Slidell.  Brown has never coached at any level but he’s respected by every player in the league, he loves the Hornets and loves New Orleans.

3.  Alex English

A former NBA All Star and scoring champion who’s currently an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors. 

4. Dan Majerle

Former 3 time NBA All Star who is now an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns. 

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Yes, I’m dead serious!  Why not???  I know Abdul-Jabbar just announced he’s got leukemia but he says it’s very treatable and that he expects a full recovery.  Abdul-Jabbar has been fighting to get an NBA head coaching job for years and has done some very impressive work coaching in various pro leagues and as a special assistant with the Lakers.

kareem-p1_kareem_abdul_jabbar_si

I also like the fact that Abdul-Jabbar is 62….he’ll have a sense of urgency.  

6. Sergio Scariolo

An Italian coach who was hired by Spain and then led Spain’s national team to an Olympic silver medal in 2008.   

scariolo

Scariolo is now coaching in the Russian Super League and would be a quirky choice who could breath new life into the Hornets organization.   

7.  Keith Smart

A former college standout who hit one of the biggest shots in the history of the Superdome (1987 Final Four). Smart is currently an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors.   

8. Tyrone Corbin

Former NBA journeyman player who’s now an assistant coach in Utah for Jerry Sloan.

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Now, what about the future of Chris Paul?  Well, the Cleveland Cavaliers have proven that they’ll spend as wildly as anyone to keep Lebron James happy and keep the team competative…will the Hornets do the same? 

I’d say the answer to that question is NO! 

So it’s very important that the Hornets strike gold in the NBA draft lottery next June (assuming they fail to make the playoffs this year…which I think is a good assumption) and that they trade enough salary away at the trade deadline so they are able to secure at least one impact free agent player. 

Fletcher’s 2010 Free Agent Of Choice:

Rudy Gay: A super athletic wing player who could help the Hornets score in bunches.    Gay will have to settle for a deal somewhere in the range of $8-10 million dollars annually because all the really big deals will go to Lebron, Dwayne Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitzki.

nbHornets8.jpg

Fletcher’s Lottery Pick:

Donatas Motiejunas: A 7’0 Lithuanian who draws comparsions to Dirk Nowitzki and Andrea Bargnani.  I’d roll the dice and hope Motiejunas is like Nowitzki or Bargnani and not foreign lottery draft busts Darko Milicic or Nickoloz Tskitishvili.

donatas_motiejunas

 

The Hive Is Burning
November 7, 2009

The Hive is buring!!!!

The clock is ticking on Byron Scott and Jeff Bower!

Look, I’m not even going to talk about bad drafts (Cedric Simmons, Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright)), awful decisions (Letting Brandon Bass and Birdman walk away) and the poor development of young players (JR Smith)….because that’s water under the bridge…..I want to talk about how to salvage this year’s  Hornets season.

The next 7 days could determine Scott’s future as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets.

After losing at home by 17 points on Friday night to the Toronto Raptors the Hornets play 5 games over the next 7 days and 4 of those contests are against teams that right now look better than the Hornets.

Sunday: @ Lakers

Monday@ Clippers

Wednesday @ Phoenix

Friday vs. Portland

Saturday @Atlanta

The Hornets are 2-4 overall and have not looked like a team in any of their 6 games.  Even coach Scott says his charges are playing like individuals and not as a team.

Coach Scott and General Manager Jeff Bower can keep saying that the team will come together and that this group will eventually surge but I just don’t see it.

Taking the “it’s all eventually going to come together and be harmonious” mentality to me is like telling a person to keep trying to shove a square peg into a round hole because it’ll eventually fit. 

I’ve watched every second of every game this season and don’t see any way that this group gets better.    

If the Hornets fall flat this week…go 1-4 and stand at 3-8 would management make a change of some kind?  Fire Scott?  Make a trade to jump start the club?  Or will the Hornets stand pat and continue to say that they just have to gel and that time will get them on track?

My bet would be on the latter….stand pat and wait till the trade deadline.  If the Hornets are in 9th-12th place in the Western Conferecne when February’s trade deadline rolls around then they’d probably fire sale as many veteran players as possible and fire Byron Scott to make a statement.

That said….my suggestion is to make a move now to get better!!!

Basically, make a trade that jump starts the club and keeps superstar Chris Paul happy.

One year ago this week Denver was floundering when they decided to trade Allen Iverson for Chanucy Billups.  That move helped the Nuggets surge to the Western Conference finals and has them in a great position this season.

Fletcher’s Jump Start Trade:

David West to the Golden State Warriors

Stephen Jackson and Kelenna Azubuike to the New Orleans Hornets   

WHY: David West is a tremendous player and a cornerstone of the Hornets franchise but in my opinion the acquisition of Emeka Okafor has hurt him and will continue to hurt him.  West and Okafor are similiar players so the presence of Okafor has resulted in fewer shots for West.  West’s rebounds are also down through the first 6 games of this season.  But, David West is a two time all-star who would no doubt flourish and add toughness to the fast break style that Don Nelson runs in Golden State.  West and Andris Biedrins would form an athletic front line that would work nicely with scorers Ellis, Maggette, Curry and Morrow. 

The Hornets would get two very talented wing players to run with Chris Paul.  Jackson could start at small forward and Azubuike shooting guard. Sure, the Hornets are now thin at power forward and would have to piece that position together with Sean Marks, Ike Diogu, Hilton Armstrong, Darius Songaila and even James Posey but adding two good scorers might help jump start this club. 

This deal does not in any way benefit the Hornets financially.  If anything it hurts them a little because they’d be taking on a bit more in salary with two players and they’d have to let a player go (Devin Brown?) to meet the NBA mandate 15 player roster…but they’d still be paying the player released.

But..if the Hornets want to try to save this season and are serious about winning NOW…this deal might be something to consider.

If the Hornets decide to wait and sell off assets at the trade deadline look for these deals to possibly happen:

Fletcher’s Trade Deadline Salary Dump Deal #1:

David West & James Posey to the Cleveland Cavaliers

Zydrunas Ilgauskas & Jamario Moon to the New Orleans Hornets

WHY:  West and Posey are former Xavier University (Ohio) players who would return to the state where they played their college ball and help Lebron and Shaq compete with Orlando and Boston for an Eastern Conference title. 

Ilgauskas has an expiring $11 million dollar contract that would give the Hornets tremendous financial flexability…Moon is a high flying young player who’d make the deal work money-wise.     

Fletcher’s Trade Deadline Salary Dump Deal #2:

David West & Darius Songaila to the Chicago Bulls

Brad Miller to the New Orleans Hornets

WHY:  The Bulls get an all star PF to team in the front court with center Joakim Noah and a tough-as-nails playoff tested back up big man in Songaila.  The Bulls are a dark horse contender in the east and could use both players.

The Hornets get Miller’s expiring $12 million dollar contract.

I put David West in every above trade because he’s the teams only player with good trade value.  CP3 is not going anywhere and Okafor has a contract that very few teams are interested in.  Also, Peja is immovable.  So it’s got to be West in a trade. 

A salary dump trade by the Hornets will probably not initially sit well with Chris Paul but it may not be a bad move.  If the Hornets can use the money they’d get from an expiring contract to sign a big time free agent in the summer of 2010 they could be right back in the mix in the west.  If the Hornets do make a salary dump move and have money remember the name Rudy Gay.  In my opinion their is no way one of the mega-free agent players (James, Wade, Bosh, Nowitzki) lands in New Orleans so Gay may be the big get if the Hornets have money to burn. 

Add Gay and a lottery pick like local player Greg Monroe who’s playing his college ball at Georgetown and the Hornets could be right back in the mix.

UPDATE (11/08/09):

Allen Iverson is reportedly on the way out in Memphis because he’s unhappy to be coming off the bench.  With the Hornets lack of punch at the 2-3 spot I truly believe that if AI is cut loose the Hornets should consider bringing him on board.  

Iverson comes cheap and the Hornets can guarantee him a starting spot….because lets be honest….AI is light years better than the Hornets current starting shooting guard….Devin Brown.