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An Appetizing Offseason

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Published: March 21, 2010

As upbeat as I like to be about the Hornets, our chances to make the playoffs and do any damage are just about done, and if not done tonight, will be done in the next week or so. Not because we are going to tank, but because unless all the teams in front of us simply start losing and losing, there is no chance of making it in.

With this in mind, I, like many others, have started looking towards the post-season. Right now our draft position is towards the late lottery, giving us an extremely slim chance to be somewhere in the top three. Realistically, we are looking at pick number 9-15 depending on if other teams tank, we streak, and various deals that can still be made. With that in mind, the Hornets have a lot of work to do when it comes to correcting our various team deficiencies and maladies.

Luckily, we managed to draft two outstanding guards in the last draft, each of which has not only filled in nicely for the team, but has been outstanding in their own rights. Marcus Thorton has proven to be an extremely reliable scorer since Scott was let go, and Collison has far more than a mere back up to the otherworldly Chris Paul.

(Un)Fortunately, while Thorton fills in one of the badly damaged wing positions on the team, Collison has proven to be such a capable back up (something that the Hornets desperately need) to Chris Paul, that the chances he stays as just a back up are looking rarer and rarer as time goes on.

The question is what do the Hornets do? First off, I’m in the same boat as most Hornets fans in saying that while the next year looks somewhat grim, our future is extraordinarily bright. The plethora of expiring contracts and a top ten backcourt are nothing to fret about at this stage. Sure, Okafor’s contract is still rather large, and no, he has not produced quite that much yet, but I still have some faith in him. And yes, CP3 going down was a nightmare come true, and there is some reason for concern for his future health, but I think that I speak for most Hornets fans when I say, “keep him until the Sun sends out a solar flare out so large that even he can’t shoot over it.”

But that still leaves rather large holes to cover in the team, particularly at the three. So what are the options on the dinner table for this offseason?

There is Ryan Schwan’s ideal scenario in which Chris Bosh and Iggy come to the Hornets which would make for a rather scary line up. There are some saying that we should stick with Collison and trade Paul for essentially whatever we want (though I would rather keep him). I however, am a fan of a different scenario with a trading partner in the always voracious LA Lakers.

It would involve trading Julian Wright, Darren Collison, and Emeka Okafor for Andrew Bynum and Sasha Vujacic.

Why you ask?

First, you must ask what are we giving up. At best we are losing some one that has yet and may never live up to their incredible potential in Julian Wright, another player who I think is a decent center that has a little more room to improve and mesh here in Emeka Okafor, and a rookie point guard that may end up as a top ten point guard in the league. A little optimistic on our guys? Maybe, but I am a fan after all.

We must now ask what do we get? In Sasha “the Machine” Vujacic we receive a decent role player that can occasionally knock down jumpers and plays energetic defense. It is in Andrew Bynum however, that we receive a young guy that can instantly provide hard nosed defense and solid scoring with a very high ceiling considering his physical gifts and his rapidly improving post moves.

While this does leave the Hornets with gaps to fill on the wings and bench, we still have Peja and Mo Pete’s expiring contracts. We still have a lottery pick and a decent second round pick. We can still make a trade for Andre Igudola given our remaining trade pieces. Heck, we might win the lottery and get Evan Turner and make another steal in the second round! That means we can simply let $25 million dollars disappear from our payroll and finally have no one say that we need financial relief until our ears bleed if we want.

Whatever the case may be, it promises to be an appetizing offseason.

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