Hornets Off-Season: Ain’t no Draftin’ in these Parts

Published: June 25, 2008

My prediction was right.  There will be no 1st round pick for the Hornets this year.  No second round pick either, apparently. 

Funny, isn't it?  I spent so much time posting about how unlikely(71% chance of a bust) it is to get a viable player from a pick so late in the draft, but when the pick was sold, I can't help but feel a boatload of disappointment. 

I guess a lot of that is how the pick was shipped out.  I would have been excited to see it used as a sweetener for a trade for a veteran.  I would have been pleased to see it used in the draft, even if the chances of a successful pick were small.   I could have lived with the Hornets trading out of the first round and into the second to pick up multiple picks and cut down on guaranteed salary.

But to outright sell it to Portland for cash?  Really? Have we not seen how poorly that has worked out for Phoenix?

I know this is a business.  I know the Hornets have a long history of making moves solely to put a little more money in the bank:  They reached an agreement with Peja to sign as a free agent, only to turn around and allow him to sign with Indiana and then be traded to us – giving Indiana a huge trade exception to play with – for a reported sum of $250k.  Last year, we took on the contracts of Mile Ilic and Bernard Robinson from the Nets, allowing them to get under the luxury tax line.  What did the Hornets get out of it?  Cash payments.  Reportedly, those cash payments covered the contracts value and then some, giving the Hornets a little money.  I applauded those moves then – the Hornets aren't the most financially solvent ball club around, and every little bit helps.

This is different though.  The Hornets are right there.  I truly believe they are just two consistent bench players away from being a contender for the title.  The 27th pick of the draft, no matter your take it's value, is still an asset, and the Hornets gave it away for cash.  Is cash for the Hornets an asset?  Yes.  Is it an asset to the team on the floor?  Not so much.

I'm sure there will be spin to this decision.  There always is.  Not selecting in the draft does free up around 1 million dollars of salary room over the next couple years, but I want to be honest about that number.  Add that million to our other expiring contracts, and we are still not under the cap.  With Peja, West, Chandler, Mo Pete and Paul's soon to exist extension, we won't be under the cap for another three years at best.  That means the million can't be used to sign Free Agents from outside the team.  The best we can do with it is throw it at a Hornets player who is now a Free Agent.(you can go over the salary cap to sign your own players)  Maybe it's needed to resign Pargo – Or the team has decided to bring back Ryan Bowen, Chris Anderson or Bonzi Wells and need that million to get it done.

Those are all legitimate reasons for the trade, but I've seen those guys.  None of them are the consistent bench player we need, not even Pargo.  So it feels like – at best – we've dumped a player with unknown potential to retain an already flawed part.  Hence, my disappointment.


Oh – one last thing – can you imagine how great it would be to be a Portland fan right now?  A team of young, solid players and an owner who lets his GM be like a kid in a candy store, buying anything he can get his hands on.  It's enough to breed jealousy and a desire to send Henry Abbott of TrueHoop(a Blazers Fan) a congratulatory note with lots of bitter undertones in an attempt to make him feel bad for his good fortune. 

I'm not a petty man.  Really.  I swear.

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