This post was updated : 2-24-10 (7:53pm CST)
They’ll finish in 9th place missing the 8th and final postseason spot by a 1/2 game. (and really, if the Hornets got into the playoffs they’d face the Lakers and would be lucky to win one game in the best of 7 series).
- But…this offseason the Hornets are in a GOOD SPOT…THEY HAVE A GOOD PROBLEM!!!
With Chris Paul (knee surgery) out Rookie Darren Collison is proving he’s capable of leading a team and being a full time starter in the NBA.
The 22 year old from UCLA is averaging 20 points, 8 assists and 2 steals as a starter in place of CP3.
But…when Paul returns Collison’s minutes will decrease greatly. Sure CP3 and Collison can play in the same backcourt when the team goes small…kinda like the Hornets did two years ago when they played Paul and Pargo together…but Collison & Paul cannot start together. Collison is a true point guard, not a shooting guard, so unless the Hornets want to mirror the dysfunctional mess that is Golden State and start an insane lineup of all small guards they’ll have to bring Collison off the bench. So…when CP3 returns at the end of the season Collison will see his minutes cut in half.
But having a surplus of good players is a nice problem to have and one I think the team can parlay into success next season.
In my opinion, the Hornets should look to trade Collison this offseason.
I know Collison makes the teams bench (which has historically been a sore spot for the Hornets) better…but this team needs starting help more than bench help and trading Collison could mean getting a starter back in return.
Package Collison with a bad contract (MoPete, Posey, Stojakovic) or with David West or Emeka Okafor and really rebuild this team for a serious run.
Keeping Collison as a backup is foolish. Sure, Paul needs a backup but a veteran journeyman player like Bobby Brown, Devin Brown or another minimum contract player can fill that role. Even a player like James Posey can play point forward when Paul needs a breather.
If the Hornets do not explore trade options with Collison they’re crazy!
- And being the obsessive NBA die hard that I am….I have of course come up with several ideas for the Hornets:
Updated Collison Trade: (2-24-10)
Darren Collison to New York Knicks
Wilson Chandler to New Orleans Hornets
WHY: The Knicks will have tons of money to spend this summer and although they probably won’t land a whale like Lebron or D-Wade…they could get Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh and re-sign David Lee. So who plays the point?
Speculation is Steve Nash will re-team with his old coach and relocate to NYC (where he makes his full time home)….but even at a discount price Nash will be pricey. So perhaps the Knicks would be tempted to swap Chandler for Collison one -for-one.
Updated Collison Trade II: (2-24-10)
Darren Collison & Morris Peterson to Sacramento
Omri Casspi & Beno Udrih to New Orleans
WHY: Tyreke Evans is a tremendous rookie and in my opinion the favorite (along with Stephen Curry) to win the NBA’s rookie of the year award. But is Evans a true point guard? NO! Evans is turnover prone and a true scorer. He may be better served playing off the ball. Team him with Darren Collison and you’ve got the best young backcourt in the league.
Casspi has been a huge boost to the Kings and could start at SF for the Hornets. The Hornets would have to take Beno Udrih’s bad contract back in this deal but Udrih is a decent back-up point guard who can also play off the ball. Plus, the Hornets have lots of expiring contracts in 2011 so taking on Udrih is not a bad thing. Morris Peterson makes the deal work money-wise. Peterson would lend depth to a young Kings team and he’s got an expiring contract.
Collison Trade #1 (updated 2-24-10):
Darren Collison and Julian Wright to Detroit
Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye to New Orleans
WHY: The Pistons Rodney Stuckey is really a 2-guard playing the point in Detroit. Acquiring Collison gives the Pistons a true floor general. Jerebko is having a solid rookie season and could start at SF for the Hornets. Longterm I actually like Daye better than Jerebko. Jerebko is a better player right now but Daye has more upside. If the Pistons fell in love with Collison and could swing this deal they’d get two young players who could start at the wing positions (Jerebko at SF & Daye at SG).
Collison Trade #2:
Darren Collison & David West To Golden State
Anthony Randolph & Monta Ellis to New Orleans
WHY: The Warriors are one of my favorite teams in the NBA but as I stated above, they’re a dysfunctional mess. Head coach Don Nelson will more than likely be fired when the season ends so the rebuilding will begin this summer. Stephen Curry is the second best rookie in the league (Tyreke Evans is the best) but he’s more of a shooting guard than a point guard. The Warriors get a true point guard to pair with Curry and an all-star power forward to team with Andris Biedrins in the front court. Add Corey Maggette into that starting 5 and the Warriors look like a solid, balanced team on paper. The Hornets get an all-star scorer in Ellis and a young power forward with worlds of potential in Randolph.
Collison Trade #3:
Darren Collison, Julian Wright, future 2nd round draft pick to Memphis
Hasheem Thabeet to New Orleans
WHY: The Hornets could certainly use size and rebounding help and Thabeet would provide that. The Grizzlies seem set at center with Marc Gasol putting up all-star numbers so in my opinion Thabeet is kind of expendable in Memphis. Memphis is in desperate need of a point guard so Collison could be just what the team needs to help get over the hump. Wright needs a change of scenery and he makes the deal work money-wise…plus, he still may turn into a good player.
Collison Trade #4:
Darren Collison & Julian Wright to Portland
Nicolas Batum & the draft rights to Victor Claver to New Orleans
WHY: Portland’s Jared Bayless is more of a combo guard who should be coming off the bench not starting at the point and veteran Andre Miller will more than likely be dealt this summer. The Blazers have a surplus of wing players and could absorb the loss of Batum. Claver is reportedly a solid talent who could return from overseas this summer.
- Bonus (non-Darren Collison) Trade:
Julian Wright to Cleveland
Draft rights to Christian Eyenga to New Orleans
WHY: I, like many others, became enamored with Eyenga’s highlight reel before last year’s draft. He’s a boom or bust type of talent who’s currently playing in Europe. If Cleveland would take Wright it’s a deal I’d do in a heartbeat.
- One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure 2010 Free Agent Signing:
WHY: Their is something about Mahinmi I’ve always liked. Not that’s he’s played a lot…but he’s worked hard, proven himself in the D-League and could emerge as a solid contributor in the NBA. The Spurs did not pickup Mahinmi’s option for next season meaning he’ll be a free agent this summer. This is just the type of player the Hornets need…low risk, high reward. Years ago, back in the spring of 2004, I wrote several blogs about a free agent named Chris Andersen….and in opinion Mahinmi falls into the same category as the Birdman. Also, it’s worth noting that the Spurs traded Luis Scola to the Rockets and gave Houston a starter…because they gave up on Scola too soon. Maybe the Hornets can luck into the same type of situation.
Missing the playoffs may not be a horrible scenario for the Hornets. Getting into the NBA draft lottery could help the team add much needed depth. The guy I would love to see the team take is former Helen Cox High School star Greg Monroe. Monroe is finishing up his sophomore season at Georgetown. Every time I see Monroe I see David West.
I also like Al-Farouq Aminu from Wake Forest…and small forward is more of a position of need for the Hornets than power forward so if the Hornets get into the lottery Aminu could be their guy.