Archive for January, 2010

I’m Back On The Band Wagon
January 14, 2010

Okay okay okay….I know I’ve been flip flopping like a politician regarding the Hornets but the last few games have really made an impression on me.

I know the Hornets have been playing garbage teams but they are starting to put it all together.  Okafor has been lights out, Paul and West are their all-star selves and the bench (led by Darius Songaila and Marcus Thornton) has been respectable. 

But as good as the Hornets have been the team must get below the NBA’s dreaded luxury tax…meaning trades that help dump salary.  The salary dumping started this week when Hilton Armstrong was traded to Sacramento for a 2nd round pick in 2016.  Armstrong was terrible and a huge bust.  It’s still hard for me to fathom how Byron Scott chose to keep him instead of Chris Andersen.   With the subtraction of Armstrong the Hornets are now within $500,000 of getting below the luxury tax.

That said, I’ve come up with a way for the Hornets to improve on the court and get below the tax.   

Yes, another trade!!!!!

But seriously…this one is ligit.  It helps both teams.

  • Hornets Receive: Corey Maggette & Vladimir Radmonovic
  • Warriors Receive: Peja Stojakovic, Julian Wright & Bobby Brown

Hornets acquiring two players and $15,404,531 worth of salary.

Warriors get three players and $16,128,460 worth of salary. 

WHY:  The Hornets get below the luxury tax and pick up two good players who can help them make a playoff run.  Maggette is all-star caliber and Radamonovic is a quality post season tested forward who can start or come off the bench.   

The Warriors get a young athletic player in Julian Wright and rid themselves of  Maggette’s big contract.  Bobby Brown’s tiny contract ends this summer and Peja comes off the books in 2011.  Maggette is due 30-plus million over the next three seasons.

Golden State is going nowhere and needs a shake-up.  The Hornets need some help financially and can justify Maggette’s contract because it helps them stay competative…which will keep Chris Paul happy.


Priceless Kiffin/Orgeron Picture!!!!!
January 14, 2010

Great Deal For The Hornets…Plus, Avery???
January 8, 2010

ESPN’s John Hollinger has come up with what I believe is a great deal to help the Hornets get under the NBA luxury tax and a trade that actually helps them push toward the playoffs.

Nocioni and cap space for bad contracts and Darren Collison?  SURE!!!!!  I don’t like giving up a pick becuase the Hornets could be in the lottery but Collison can be replaced as a back-up. 

New Orleans Hornets, $3.33 million over

The Hornets may make the playoffs despite their slow start, but that doesn’t change their terrible economics. The Hornets aren’t making much bank and are unlikely to sign off on what amounts to $10 million in expenses ($3 million in salary, $3 million in luxury tax, $4 million in foregone distributions) just to give themselves a 50-50 chance of making the playoffs as L.A.’s Round 1 punching bag.

New Orleans has added incentive because the Hornets already are over next year’s projected luxury-tax line by several million dollars. (Orlando, the Lakers, Denver and Dallas are the only other four teams that are certain to be over, though several other clubs dance perilously close to the line.) Because of this, some wonder if the Hornets will be forced to deal David West, but I doubt it will come to that.

As luck would have it, the Sacramento Kings are $4.15 million under the cap at the moment, making them an obvious trade partner. The two sides could set some kind of record for dead money included in a deal, actually, if the Kings swapped Kenny Thomas and Andres Nocioni to the Hornets for Darius Songaila, James Posey, Morris Peterson and Hilton Armstrong.  

Such a deal would likely cost the Hornets cash and a first-rounder, too, since the Kings would be eating into their potential 2010 cap space. In fact, the Kings might turn the screws and demand that promising point guard Darren Collison be part of the swap. Nonetheless, that might be worth it for New Orleans since it would get them under next year’s tax as well as this year’s — much as it made sense for Utah to deal Maynor recently.

Other variations on this deal also work. For instance, replace Nocioni with Beno Udrih and Armstrong with Devin Brown and the Hornets save just as much this year, albeit less next year. Subtracting Thomas and Posey from the deal also works. In all of these scenarios, incidentally, the four-for-two or three-for-one nature of the deal would require Sacramento to cut Sean May. But I presume they’d get over it quickly.

The point is that the Hornets have an obvious incentive to rent the Kings’ cap space, and the Kings could use some of what the Hornets have to offer (cash, a pick, potential relief from the 2011-12 money owed to either Nocioni or Udrih). It cuts into Sacramento’s cap room for next summer by about $3 million (depending on the exact parameters), but considering that draft picks normally cost $3 million, they’d get cash and a couple of useful players out of it. And since they weren’t going to be in the LeBron sweepstakes anyway, it works out nicely on their end, too.

After the Hornets fired Byron Scott earlier this season, GM Jeff Bower assumed the role of head coach.

But it looks like the Hornets might be targeting other candidates after the season. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports one NBA executive has told him Avery Johnson has his “name written all over it,” but Stein isn’t so sure.

“We’ll see,” he writes. “What the exec couldn’t answer is whether the Hornets will be willing to spend on a coach in the offseason after spending the regular season obsessed with shaving $3.3 million off the current payroll to get under the luxury-tax threshold. There are other unanswered questions, too, including whether Bower would return to his GM-only status in that scenario.”

One thing to throw into the mix here is that Johnson was born in New Orleans, and played college hoops at Southern University in Baton Rouge, so he’s certainly familiar with the local scenery.

If a coach in Johnson’s price range is what the Hornets are looking for, there’s at least some possibility they could take a peek at George Karl, as it’s believed he could be seeking another team if things head south in Denver this season.