Since WDSU…Channel 6…is always on your side…here are 6 ways the Hornets can improve greatly:
1. Rebrand IMMEDIATELY!
- Don’t wait! Announce a new nickname and new colors ASAP!
- The Colors should be black & gold. This is not even worth a discussion. If asked what our cities colors are…all fans will respond…black and gold!
- Nickname could be: Pelicans, Krewe, Angels, Soul, Brass. I know the Major League Baseball team in Anaheim has the nickname Angels…but I love Angels. Tom Benson is a devout Catholic…he consulted the Archbishop of New Orleans before buying the Hornets from the NBA…and now can say he owns The Angels & The Saints.
- No matter what the new name is, make the change ASAP so the new draft picks can hold up new jerseys on draft night and so the marketing people can start getting fans excited with new merchandise.
2. Re-Sign Eric Gordon
- Gordon has proven that when healthy he’s one of the best scoring guards in the NBA. Tom Benson may have to match a max-contract offer from Cleveland or Indiana but Gordon needs to be in New Orleans.
3. Draft Wisely
- The Hornets will have two top-10 picks in this June’s draft. I’m still not sold on Dell Demps being a great GM (see 2012 NBA trade deadline and failure to make any deals for Chris Kaman)…but it would be hard even for him to mess this up. As long as Demps stays away from Andre Drummond and Perry Jones III he should be good.
- Getting Anthony Davis (projected #1) with the top selection or Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist second or third puts the Hornets in a great spot. All three of those guys project as franchise cornerstone players who are WINNERS. The second 1st round pick is projected to be #10 but with some luck in the lottery it could be as high as #5 or #6. The 2012 draft is the deepest since 2003…so the Hornets will get two quality players in the top 10.
4. Trade Trevor Ariza To Cleveland Cavaliers on draft night for Luke Walton, Pick #26 (1st round), Pick #35 (2nd round) in 2012 NBA Draft:
- Ariza is still young enough and still good enough to bring back something in return. Ariza has been shutdown for the rest of the season…he’s getting DNP’s so the team can learn more about Al-Farouq Aminu. Byron Scott always wants to win immediately so he would probably love Ariza in his lineup and have no problem convincing management in Cleveland to part with two relatively low draft picks.
- The Hornets have to eat the final year of Luke Walton’s contract…but, to pickup two more picks in the top 35 it’s worth it.
5. Sign Goran Dragic
- Demps scouted Dragic and had a part in drafting the Slovenian when Dell was with the Spurs. Since getting a chance to start Dragic has shined for Houston and he becomes a unrestriced free agent this summer. The Hornets tried to trade for Dragic once (failed Chris Paul deal in December) so he knows they want him. Dragic will be in-demand this summer but the Hornets have money to spend. Dragic will cost between $7-10 annually but he’d give the Hornets a great floor-leader who’s only 25 years old.
6. Sign Monty Williams To A Long-Term Contract
- The youngest head coach in the NBA is also one of the best. Despite being way out of playoff contention Monty’s team plays hard and grinds each and every night. Williams is also one of the finest men you’ll ever meet.
2012-2013 New Orleans NBA Franchise (nickname to be determined)
PG: Goran Dragic, Greivis Vasquez, Tomas Satoransky (pick #26 in ’12 draft)
SG: Eric Gordon, Jarrett Jack, Xavier Henry
SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (pick #3 in ’12 draft), Al-Farouq Aminu, Jae Crowder (pick #35 in ’12 draft)
PF: Jason Smith, Gustavo Ayon
C: Tyler Zeller (pick #10 in ’12 draft), Emeka Okafor
*The team could use the amnesty provision on Okafor but keeping him and using him in a back-up role might work better than just letting him leave for nothing. Okafor is a classy, smart guy who might embrace a reduced role and the chance to build something special. If the team pulled-off the Ariza/Cavs trade then Luke Walton will be the player getting amnesty.
Team Salary: 13 players, 67.4 Million
- The $67.4 million includes:
- Max Contract ($18 million annually) for Eric Gordon
- $9 million annually for Goran Dragic
- Amnesty used on Luke Walton