Talk about an identity crisis.
Are the Hornets an aging team that can no longer compete?
Are they a team that can compete now?
Are they a team that’s young and in a rebuilding phase?
WHO KNOWS????? The Hornets are in some ways all of the above.
That said, the NBA trade deadline is just over 2 months away and the Hornets are one of the most confusing teams in the league.
Some nights it looks as if the Hornets can compete against any team and will slide into the 7th or 8th playoff position. Other nights the Hornets look terrible…like a team that has no business in the post season.
So the big question is…what will the Hornets do?
Will they stand pat …do nothing and hope that the group thay have can figure it all out and go on a roll?
Will they go out and add a player trying to make a run?
Or will the Hornets sell-off some assets in an attempt to shed payroll and maybe even pick up a younger player?
Basically, will CP3 and the gang be buyers, sellers or watchers???
My bet is management decides to watch from the sidelines and keep this team intact.
But, that’s probably not the right decision. If the playoffs started today the Hornets would not make it. The Hornets are currently in 11th place in the Western Conferecne (the top 8 teams get in).
Maybe Hornets management will make one small move to try to shed salary but I expect them to do nothing.
I cannot envision the Hornets making a major move to try to make a run because they would more than likely have to take on more salary and that will not happen.
What should happen…in my opinion…is the following.
The Hornets should try to trade away an asset or two in an effort to shed salary and get young players.
And of course…I’ve got a trade ideas (so get ready to go crazy www.hornetsreport.com).
TRADE #1: The Easy Deal
- Darius Songaila to Portland for Nicolas Batum and the draft rights to pick Victor Claver.
WHY: I did a report the second day of Hornets training camp and I said Songaila would emerge as the best bench player on the team…and he has! A solid veteran who’s playoff tested Songaila has tremendous worth to a team looking to add depth for a push against the Lakers twin towers. Portland would get a player capable of filling a void in the paint left by the loss of Greg Oden. The Hornets get salary relief and two young players.
TRADE #1A: The Kinda Easy Deal
- James Posey & Darius Songaila to Boston for Glen Davis, Brian Scalabrine, the draft rights to Semih Erden & a future 2nd round draft pick
WHY: Boston gets two playoff tested veterans who can help them in a variety of ways. Posey of course won a ring in Boston and almost re-signed with the Celtics before joining the Hornets. In Davis The Hornets get a young C/PF from Louisiana would could emerge as a starter and will be a huge fan favorite. The Hornets also get salary relief because Scalabrine has an expiring contract. Erden is a 7-footer who’s still in Europe and who could one day emerge as an athletic big man who can handle the NBA.
TRADE #2: Big for Big
- Emeka Okafor to Cleveland For Zydrunas Ilgauskas
WHY: The Hornets rid themselves of the remianing four years on Okafor’s contract and free up $11 million dollars as soon as the season ends and Ilgauskas becomes a free agent. The Cavs get a center that they can count on for four more years and they still have enough money to sign a max contract player (something that could help keep Lebron James) this summer because Shaq’s $22 million dollar deal is coming off the books in July.
TRADE #3: The Blockbuster
- David West, Darren Collison & Hilton Armstrong to Memphis for Rudy Gay, Hasheem Thabeet & Steven Hunter
WHY: I love David West and hate to put him in any trade. West is a fierce warrior that any team would relish and that any franchise would be lucky to have. That said, he and Emeka Okafor are not the front court dynamic duo that the Hornets envisioned. The Hornets have been killed rebounding and defensively in the paint this season and West is averaging 4 points less than last season because Okafor’s game is similiar to his and they steal shots from one another. In David West Memphis would get an all star PF who won’t hog the ball the way O.J. Mayo and Zach Randolph do. This move would also give Memphis a classy leader (West) and a player who is under contract for two more years at a bargain basement price. Randolph would have to move to SF for the Grizzlies but he played that position last season for the Clippers. The Grizzlies are also thin at point guard so landing Darren Collison would bolster that position. At best Collison would emerge as the starter, at worst he forms a nice tandem with Mike Conley.
Rudy Gay is a restricted free agent this summer so he could be a short term rental for the Hornets. But, if the Hornets are serious about winning it’s a gamble they take. It would be hard to pry Thabeet away from Memphis but with the emergence of Marc Gasol, who’s playing at an all star level, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think Memphis would move him in the right deal.
Hunter & Armstrong make the deal work money-wise.
TRADE #4: The Gamble
- David West, Morris Peterson & Julian Wright to Detroit For Rip Hamilton, Kwame Brown & Jonas Jerebko
WHY: Rip Hamilton has 4 years left on his massive contract…that’s why this deal would be risky for the Hornets. The Hornets could use a playoff tested SG who averages 2o points a night but Hamilton will be 35 years old when his deal ends. Detroit would also no doubt like to rid themselves of Hamilton’s contract…espicially since they now have Ben Gordon. West gives the Pistons a starting PF for their playoff march. In Morris Peterson Detroit gets a back-up SG and a player who might be rejuvinated being back in his native state. Julian Wright sweetens the deal because he could still be a good player in the NBA. Jerebko is an up-and-coming rookie PF who’s become a fan favortie in Detroit for his relentless style of play. I like Jonas Jerebko and think he’s got a bright future. Kwame Brown has an expiring contract that gives the Hornets some much needed salary relief.
TRADE #5: The Steal
- Emeka Okafor to Orlando For Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass and a future 2nd round draft pick
WHY: The Magic are all in for a playoff run and Okafor would make them that much stronger. The Hornets would get an athletic young center dying for the opportunity to start and a quality PF in Bass who’s from Louisiana, used to play for the Hornets and who’s currently rotting on the Magic bench.
This deal is a wash money-wise, neither team comes away with any more flexibility.
I think this deal would be a steal for the Hornets because I’ve always liked Bass and was touting Gortat over a year ago before he jumped up on everyone’s radar.
Orlando may even think this is a steal for them because they get a veteran C/PF in Okafor who could perhaps help them beat the Lakers in the finals.
TRADE #6: The Dump
- Emeka Okafor to New Jersey for Yi Jianlian, Tony Battie & Jarvis Hayes
WHY: The Hornets get a lottery bust who could still turn out to be a nice player in Yi and nearly $9 million dollars of cap relief because Battie & Hayes contracts come off the books this summer. The Nets get a quality big man to play alongside Brooke Lopez. New Jersey also still has plenty of players with expiring contracts and enough money to try to lure a big name free agent this summer.
This deal would be a straight salary dump for the Hornets.
TRADE #7: The Wild Card
- Any Trade with the Golden State Warriors!!!
WHY: Reportedly the Warriors are shopping every player on their dysfunctional team. Maybe the Hornets and Warriors will workout a deal to try to jump start their franchises. I would suggest some deals but their are too many combinations that are interesting and that work on the ESPN trade machine. Obviously the only player on the Hornets who’s untouchable is CP3.