Forget most of what you’ve heard about 2010 Hornets free agency.
Lots of the information you’re hearing is incorrect. Sadly, some of the people talking about free agency do not understand the Hornets situation.
Despite trading Morris Peterson and his bloated contract to Oklahoma City the Hornets will still be up against (but not over) the dreaded NBA luxury tax and will not be able to be serious players in free agency.
Forget the top tier of free agents….the Hornets can’t even shop from the tier two list of players. Guys like Rudy Gay and David Lee will command salaries the Hornets cannot afford. Mid-level exception players (guys like Brad Miller & Mike Miller) are also not really options because the MLE counts against the luxury tax and the Hornets can’t have that.
Most sign-and-trade deals for big name players are also out. The only way a sign and trade would work is if someone fell in love with Darren Collison and would be willing to take the contract of Peja Stojakovic (or Emeka Okafor) to make a deal work for a big time player. Why would any rational team do that????? No one loves Collison that much.
But hope is not all lost for the Hornets. General Manager Jeff Bower is a creative guy…..and visionary, creative deals can land the Hornets a player or two.
Realistic Deal #1:
- Hornets receive Josh Childress
- Hawks receive James Posey
Childress has been playing in Greece and Atlanta controls his rights if/when he returns. Childress would sign the full MLE with Atlanta and then be traded one-for-one for James Posey. Childress would start at shooting guard for the Hornets and Marcus Thornton would come off the bench. Posey provides the Hawks solid defense and clutch shooting.
***Posey can also be dealt one-for-one for Shannon Brown. Brown informed the Lakers he will opt out of his contract. Brown is a guy who’s probably going to receive the full MLE. I like Childress more but Brown is also a quality SG who could start for the Hornets. Posey would fit right in with LA as they push for a three-pete.
Creative Deal #2:
- Hornets receive the rights to Joel Freeland
- Blazers receive Julian Wright
The Hornets need help in the paint and Freeland (a center from England who’s playing in Spain but who’s got a managable buyout) is a big man with tons of upside. Wright is young and talented and gets a fresh start with a new team.
Creative Deal #3:
- Hornets receive Hedo Turkoglu
- Raptors receive Emeka Okafor
This deal is a wash as far as money and length of contract. Both players are due 50 million dollars total through the 2013-2014 season. Okafor goes to Toronto…in essence replacing Chris Bosh and playing along side Andrea Bargnani. Turkoglu comes to New Orleans and can start at SG or SF. I’m sure people are saying “if you trade Okafor who plays center for the Hornets?” We’re gonna get to that…but realize that in crunch time last season it was Darius Songaila, not Okafor, on the floor playing center for the Hornets.
Free Agent Big Men:
- The Hornets will need to be visionaries and find guys that are on the cusp of being solid NBA big men (kind of like they did in 2004 when they signed Chris Andersen).
- Any of these three guys could be solid (low risk, high reward) pickups: Johan Petro, Ian Mahinmi & Louis Amundson.
Fletcher’s 2010-2011 Hornets:
(This team is still under the luxury tax, has more talent, a nice mixture of youth and veteran talent and is still going to be unshackeled financially when Peja and Songaila become free agents next summer)
Center: A platoon of Joel Freeland, Darius Songaila, Aaron Grey and two of the three free agent big men I listed above. Basically, let the best guys play at this position!!!!!
Brackins sidebar: I’ve got high hopes for Brackins. I said the Hornets would draft him if they traded down and they did. I really believe this guy could be a very solid offensive player as a rookie.