Archive for June, 2011

I Should Probably Retire!
June 27, 2011

Okay…as many of you know…it’s hard to quit something that you love.

I loved playing baseball in high school and college…and at 36…I still can’t quit!

Some days, my body says quit…but foolishly I don’t!

This is some video shot on my droid phone from my game today in the NOLA men’s baseball league.

The first clip is of me pitching against former UNO standout Greg Battistella. 

The next clip is of me grounding out to third.

Maybe next week I’ll actually do something to help my team!

I also beaned a player on the opposing team…Randy Fink. Not sure if you can see the stitch marks on his elbow…but they’re there….MY BAD RANDY!

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More Bad News For Hornets/CP3
June 24, 2011

The Hornets selling their 2011 2nd round draft pick for $750,000 last night only enhances my belief that the team is in an absolute free-fall until the new NBA CBA gets worked out and the Hornets get a new owner.

(Sidebar: I agree with what Charles Barkley said today…their will be no 2011-2012 NBA season because of the upcoming labor battle…but that’s a blog for another day)

The Hornets move last night cannot be spun into something positive!  I know in 2008 the Hornets sold a 1st round pick to Portland for $3 million and used that money to sign James Posey…but $3 million is a lot different than $750,000….plus, back then ownership and experts felt the Hornets were on the cusp of greatness.

Plus, if you make a pick you may land the next Manu Ginobili, Marcus Thornton or Jason Terry (all 2nd rounders)….making no picks ensures that you don’t!

As I wrote in my last blog…the NBA will keep the Hornets afloat…but that’s it!

Winning? PLEASE!

The Hornets franchise has value no matter what the team does on the court so don’t expect the Hornets to be anything more than a group that is barely competative…at best, a fringe playoff team. 

Plus, adding long term debt only hurts the value of a franchise so don’t expect any big name free agents with big contracts to come buzzing into the hive if/when free agency starts.   

Hornets management saying that they’ll use the money they obtained last night towards free agency is simply a LIE!

Let’s do the math:

Assuming their is a season and assuming the salary cap/luxury cap limit is $68 million (we use that figure because that was the luxury tax limit last season).

As I write this blog the Hornets have only 5 players on guaranteed contracts for next season (CP3, Okafor, Ariza, Jack & Pondexter) and those contracts total $40 million.

Most NBA teams carry 13-14 players (the max is 15, the minimum in 12).

If David West picks up his option the Hornets are at $47.5 million.  I truly believe West will pick up his option…we should know by this weekend.

Now we’re at $47.5 million and 6 players. 

$21 million dollars to spend on 7-8 players.

The NBA veteran minimum is $1.06 million. 

Lets add in three veteran minumum players.

We now have $18 million to spend on 4-5 players. 

The free agent players that you are going to get for 3-5 million dollars annually are mostly journeyman guys like Willie Green, Marco Belinelli and Jason Smith…I like all of them…but they are not difference makers.   

Certain people out there will write me and say the Hornets can spend $10 million of that $18 million on one big-time free agent (Marc Gasol?) and then sign rookie free agent players to fill out the rest of the roster.

That thought is technically correct, but the NBA will not allow the Hornets to take on a long-term, big contract while the team is for sale.  Bad debt is not going to help a property that’s for sale.      

That said…if their is NBA basketball in 2011-2012 (which is highly doubtful)….THE HORNETS ARE DOOMED!

Chris Paul won’t have to demand a trade…he will just refuse to sign an extension and the Hornets will be forced to trade him to ensure they do not lose him for nothing (a situation very similiar to Carmelo Anthony & Denver).

That said, here are some possible trades involving CP3.

I only put the teams on here that Paul may be interested in signing with when he reaches free agency…because realistically those are the only teams that will trade for him:

Charlotte Bobcats (CP3 is from North Carolina and has a close relationship with team owner Michael Jordan)

  • Send Boris Diaw, Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and 2012 1st round draft pick to Hornets for CP3

Golden State Warriors (new ownership and coaching staff truly committed to winning…passionate fans and how can you beat the bay area?)

  • Send Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, Jeremy Lin and 2012 1st round draft pick to Hornets for CP3

Detroit Pistons (storied franchise with new ownership and a solid GM, Joe Dumars, who loves CP3)

  • Send Ben Gordon, Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe, Kyle Singler & 2012 1st round draft pick to Hornets for CP3

Atlanta Hawks (Paul has family in ATL and wanted to be drafted by the Hawks in 2005)

  • Send Josh Smith, Keith Benson and a 2012 1st Round Pick for CP3

Oklahoma City Thunder (Paul played his first two seasons in the NBA in this city while the Hornets were gone for Hurricane Katrina)

  • Send Russell Westbrook (who would have to sign a long term extension and come in a sign-and-trade) & Serge Ibaka for CP3

Boston Celtics (It’s the Celtics, no explanation needed)

  • Send Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis/or Jeff Green and 2012 1st Round Draft Pick for CP3

Los Angeles Lakers & Minnesota Timberwolves:

  • Lakers get CP3
  • T’Wolves get Trevor Ariza
  • Hornets get Andrew Bynum the Lakers 2012 1st round draft pick & Michael Beasley

The best situation for keeping Chris Paul is having the NBA labor battle take 10-12 months…miss the entire season…hope the league fixes itself and then hope Gary Chouest buys the Hornets next summer.  If the NBA lost an entire season Paul would not become a free agent until 2013….allowing Chouest time to convince the superstar he is committed to winning…and truly can win in ‘the new’ NBA. 

We’ll see.

The Hornets Are In BIG Trouble
June 22, 2011

Here it is plain and simple…THE HORNETS ARE IN BIG TROUBLE!!!

Less than an hour ago Hornets general manager Dell Demps told the media that he is looking to reload…not rebuild!

But the question remains…HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?????

While the upcoming NBA draft lacks superstar appeal their are plenty of solid players who could come in immediately and help teams in various ways.

The only problem is that the Hornets do not have a 1st round pick and Demps says he doubts the team will acquire one.

Once the NBA gets a new collective bargaining agreement and free agency starts Demps will of course try to sign players that can help Chris Paul contend…BUT THIS WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE!

Here is an example:  The Hornets are on record saying that they want to re-sign free agent power forward Carl Landry.  Landry is expected to receive other offeres from teams in the NBA.  Let’s say Landry gets contract offers from the Hornets, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons.  If I’m the owner of any of those teams I’m on the phone with the league office telling Commissioner David Stern that I will not lose a player I want to a team that the league owns!!! 

I cannot see any owner losing a player to a team owned by the league!  

In essence, the owner would be losing to himself….since all owners have a 1/30 stake in the Hornets. 

This situation holds true not only for Carl Landry but also for Jeff Green, Glen Davis and any other free agent that is in demand.  The Hornets will not land any player they have to get into a bidding war for until they have a new owner!

So reloading through free agency is out.  The only free agent players the Hornets will be able to sign are guys no one else wants!  Kwame Brown, Sasha Vujacic, Aaron Gray, DJ Mbenga.  Heck, if Marco Belinelli & Jason Smith get solid offers the Hornets may not be able to sign them.

I know this is a depressing outlook…but if you think about the situation it’s the truth!

Until the Hornets have a new owner the NBA will keep them afloat…but that’s it!  The NBA will not allow the Hornets to outbid teams with owners who have a plan and a more certain future. 

Now remember back to last year…it was nearly one year ago today that Chris Paul came out and said that he wants to remain in New Orleans…but he also wants to win and he wants the team to put players around him that can help him win.

I doubt CP3’s stance has changed…but what has changed is the fact that the Hornets will not be able to put any new quality players around him.

Last year the Hornets had chips which allowed them to acquire veteran players who helped the team win (Collison & Thornton were dealt for Ariza and Landry…the Hornets also had two 1st round draft picks…one of which was used in a deal to acquire Jason Smith and Willie Green).

This year the Hornets have no chips to acquire veteran help! 

So buckle up New Orleans…it’s gonna be an interesting summer and fall!

One last item since I’ve had way to much coffee and have more to say on this topic. 

I have stood firm on my stance that the Hornets should NOT trade Chris Paul. 

I am now of the belief that no matter what Dell Demps does this summer the Hornets will be at best a fringe playoff team…and….I believe that CP3 fully intends on testing free agency in the summer of 2012…so, perhaps it’s time to start exploring a massive tear down and rebuild. 

If Demps can get a kings ransom this week from OKC for CP3 (Collison, Westbrook, Ibaka and a 1st round draft pick…consider it!)….if Golden State would send Ellis, Udoh, and their 2011 lottery pick for CP3…consider it! 

Moving CP3…along with Ariza in another separate trade for picks or young  players might be the only way to go for this franchise.  

 

Hornets/Bulls Draft Night Trade
June 21, 2011

I’m not sure if this trade is legal under NBA trade guidelines…but if it is…DO IT!

Chicago Bulls receive Trevor Ariza

New Orleans Hornets receive all three of the Bulls draft picks in 2011 (two 1st round picks and one 2nd rounder…#’s 28, 30, 43 overall).

Why the Bulls Do It:

The Bulls are desperate for wing help and Trevor Ariza would be perfect for defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau.  Ariza is a lock-down defender who’s offense comes alive in big games and the playoffs.  The Bulls are in win now mode so giving away a pair of low 1st round picks and a 2nd rounder for a proven, playoff tested veteran is an easy swap. 

Why The Hornets Do it:

Acquiring young assets and building for the future while still being competative and having a chance to win is the way the Hornets have to go…this is the model San Antonio and Oklahoma City use successfully and it will be the way the Hornets operate going forward. 

With the draft picks acquired from the Bulls the Hornets select:

#28 Chandler Parsons/SF/University of Florida

NBA Comparison: Shane Battier

#30 Tyler Honeycutt/SG/UCLA

NBA Comparison: Francisco Garcia

#43 Keith Benson/C/Oakland University (Michigan)

NBA Comparsion: Samuel Dalembert

The Hornets have the 45th overall pick in the Draft:

#45 Andrew Goudelock/PG-SG/College of Charleston

NBA Comparsion: Marcus Thornton

or

Giorgi Shermadini/C/Democratic Republic of Georgia

NBA Comparsion: Nenard Krstic

Add in 2010 1st round draft pick Quincy Pondexter and the Hornets have five young players to go with superstar Chris Paul and veterans Emeka Okafor, Carl Landry (who has to be re-signed), Jarrett Jack and David West (who will pick-up his player option).

Will this move upset Chris Paul?  Probably…but even when the upcoming NBA lockout ends the Hornets will not be players in free agency because they have no owner….so either way…CP3 will be upset.  I’d rather have him upset and have some quality young players than have him upset with the exact same team as last season.  

Monty Williams has proven he’s very good at developing young talent…so acquiring these players and adding them into the mix with established veterans may be a recipe for success.

…and if it all goes sideways…and it looks as if CP3 and DWest will both walk away via free agency in 2012…the Hornets can trade both at the 2012 NBA trade deadline (assuming their is a season) and acquire more picks and young players to rebuild with.

The New Orleans Dominoes
June 15, 2011

New Orleans Hornets Nickname/Colors Change:  

Since the Hornets relocated to New Orleans in 2002 I’ve been on my soapbox lobbying for ownership to change the team name and colors.

Back in 2002 unconfirmed reports had former minority owner Ray Wooldridge ready to change the team name and colors to something more representative of New Orleans…but being a native North Carolinian majority owner George Shinn loved the name Hornets and insisted that name remain with his NBA franchise.  

Ray Wooldridge Wanted A New Nickname; George Shinn Kept The Nickname Hornets

For the record, the name ‘Hornets’ evokes a great sense of pride in North Carolinians…the name goes back to the Revolutionary War…which was won in the Carolinas because the people there turned Charlotte into a “Hornet’s Nest’ for Cornwallis and the Brittish.

For New Orleanians, losing the Jazz to Utah in the late 1970’s allows us to relate to what North Carolinians deal with every time they see a name that is so strongly tied to their area used to represent another city/state.

It was my belief that because tobacco road was getting an NBA expansion franchise…that the Hornets name and stats should have remained in Charlotte when the team relocated to New Orleans…much the same way the Sonics colors, logos and records remain in Seattle.  Oklahoma City got to rename it’s franchise…in essence, start from scratch with a nickname and colors fans relate to and take pride in.          

So once again, I beg….please consider changing the name of our city’s NBA franchise to something the people in this area can take pride in!!!

Now is the perfect time for such an endeavour.  A new collective bargaining agreement in the NBA will hopefully be favorable to smaller market teams…allowing these franchises to become more financially viable while keeping star players.  If the NBA fixes its business model then local ownership should emerge (Gary Chouest?!?!?!).

Will Galliano Billionaire Gary Chouest Eventually Buy The Hornets?

If the NBA finds a local owner…and for the first time since relocating to New Orleans nearly a decade ago professional basketball seems committed to the city long term…then a request should be made to change the name and the color scheme of the franchise.  New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has submitted the paperwork to change the name of his franchise when it moves to Brooklyn in 2012…so changing names is not unprecedented.

Mikhail Prokhorov Will Change The Name Of His NBA Franchise When It Relocates To Brooklyn

  

I look at a New Orleans name change as a fresh start for a franchise that is finally stable.

The Hornets already feature some of the hardest working and creative marketing executives in professional sports…so imagine if these smart men and women had a strong local nickname to promote and sell?

That said, I’ve got a new name for the Hornets that is truly New Orleans and something we could all take great pride in.  This name would also allow for tremendous marketing.

THE NEW ORLEANS DOMINOES   

Okay, so some of you reading this may be asking yourselves…WHAT????

To all of you…KEEP READING!!

The nickname Dominoes is in honor of local music legend Fats Domino.

Hornets Would Be Renamed In Honor Of Fats Domino

No matter your race, creed, color, religion, sex or age….we can all agree that Fats Domino is an amazing and iconic figure synonymous with New Orleans. 

The nickname Dominoes is quirky and would be one of a kind…and those are two qualities New Orleanians love.

(Sidebar: Kudos to WDSU News Director Jonathan Shelley for coming up with the nickname Dominoes during a quick and impromptu brainstorming session)

For those who are under the impression that naming the team after a person is unheard of…think again!

The Cleveland Browns were named in honor of team president/coach Paul Brown and the Charlotte Bobcats were named to honor owner Bob Johnson.   

The Cleveland Browns Were Named In Honor Of Paul Brown

I also believe that because of the Saints success the team colors for the city of New Orleans are black & gold.

Therefore, the Dominoes should also be black & gold.

Teams in the same city sharing colors is nothing new…in Pittsburgh the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins all share black and yellow.  Rapper Wiz Khalifa even produced a song to honor that city and it’s colors.

The name Dominoes could perhaps make it easier for SMG to finally sell the name rights to the New Orleans Arena…The Domino’s Pizza Arena…home of the New Orleans Dominoes!

Fats could even be featured in some pizza commercials. 

Maybe the sweet play of the game brought to you by Domino’s Sugar?

For the marketing executives…just imagine all of the possibilities and tie-in’s with Fats Domino’s songs:

I Found My Thrill…with the New Orleans Dominoes

I’m walking to New Orleans…to see the Dominoes play  

Whole Lotta Loving…for Chris Paul and the Dominoes

In 2008 the city talked about opening a New Orleans Music Hall of Fame on Rampart Street.  Why not build this museum in one of the adjacent parking lots next to the New Orleans Arena (or in the under construction Benson Tower) and offer free admission to those who purchase Dominoes game tickets (and vice versa…tourists going to the museum can use their ticket to get into Dominoes games).

Perhaps a monument to Fats could be built between the New Orleans Arena and a newly constructed New Orleans Music Hall of Fame.

A Fats Domino Monument Would Be Erected Between The New Orleans Arena & A Newly Constructed New Orleans Music Hall of Fame

I know all of this is crazy thinking but having something local…a name that we can all take great pride in and that truly represents who we are…can be inspiring to people and could perhaps reignite a fan base that seems lethargic towards the Hornets.        

Below are some renderings I made for possible New Orleans Dominoes uniforms: 

Hornets/Warriors Trade Redux
June 8, 2011

Reports out of San Francisco say the Golden State Warriors are shopping shooting guard Monta Ellis hard.  The list of teams that have had talks with Golden State include: Chicago, Philly, Atlanta and even the Lakers.

New ownership and coaching staff in Golden State finally (why did it take so long???) realizes that the backcourt combo of Ellis and Curry is never going to work….sure they score a lot but they just watch guys blow by them on defense and lose games 115-110.

New Warriors coach Mark Jackson has hired Hornets defensive guru Mike Malone as his top assistant…so getting a defensive presence for Ellis seems likely.  

Here is a deal that works under the current NBA trade guidelines and could be done on draft night before a potential lockout halts all activity.

Monta Ellis & Andris Biedrins for Emeka Okafor & Trevor Ariza 

Why Warriors make the Trade:

Okafor was the Hornets MVP until getting hurt in March.  He re-teams with Malone and his defensive play would be a big plus for David Lee.  Okafor as a protector and defensive stopper would allow Lee to perhaps soar to new heights.

Okafor and Lee would be a formidable frontline allowing them to match-up with any team size-wise.

Ariza is one of the most unsung players in the game.  A glue guy who plays his best at big moments (playoffs vs. Lakers).  These two make the Warriors tougher gives that team a better chance to win immediately.

Curry, Ariza, Wright, Lee & Okafor is a starting 5 I really like.        

Why Hornets make the Trade:

The Hornets need scoring punch badly and Ellis would provide it!

A Jackson, Mississippi native Ellis can also help the team off the court by being marketed as somewhat of a local savior.

I’ve been a fan of Biedrins for a long time.  I truly believe he would no doubt play better offensively once he gets out of Golden State and away from that team’s ballhogs.  Remember, Chris Paul brought out the best in Tyson Chandler…I think he could do the same for Biedrins.   

CP3, Ellis, Pondexter, Landry and Biedrins is a solid starting 5 in my opinion.  

Jack, Marco, Willie Green, Jason Smith, Sheep Dog are a servicable second unit and DWest should return sometime after the first of the year. 

Just my opinion but this deal helps both teams and is worth looking into.