Priorities of Work for Hornets Front Office

Published: March 29, 2010

Now that the Hornets front office can shift from prospective playoff mode to guaranteed early-offseason mode, there are some decisions that will need to be made to ensure the team gets better for next year. Here is my short list for the Hornets priorities, feel free to interject your own.

1. Extend Collison’s and Thornton’s contracts: Both of these guys will be in the final year of their rookie contracts next season. If you go ahead and extend them now, you will be less likely to either over-pay for them, or lose them altogether.

2. Figure out what you’re going to do with all your expiring veteran contracts. Peja, Mo Pete, Juju, and Songaila all expire next year. These guys add up to approx $24.5 million in expiring contracts next year, not including any options I don’t know about. For my money, all of these guys are expendable, but should fetch pretty good value.

3a. Frontline upgrade. Lets be completely honest. As a whole unit, the Hornets frontline (PF & C positions) just flat out don’t play well together. West and Okafor have the same exact defensive weaknesses. Neither are good individual defenders, and both are undersized. Gray is young, and is a servicable 3rd center in your rotation. He could be brought back on the cheap. Marks is done with his career. Injury problems and the fact that he’ll be 35 soon don’t bode well for him. Ike is still rehabbing microfracture surgery, and is young enough to still have potential. It may be worth giving him a workout. Darius can score the ball, but to say he is a poor rebounder would be an understatement. He may have less of a vertical leap than Joe from Family Guy.

3b. There are lots of quality bigs coming out of the draft at both the C and PF positions. Here is a short list , in no particular order, of big guys that could make an immediate NBA impact: 

Name Ht. Position School
Patrick Patterson 6-8 PF Kentucky
Soloman Alabi 7-1 C Florida St.
Greg Monroe 6-10 PF Georgetown
Ekpe Udoh 6-10 PF Baylor
Cole Aldrich 6-11 C Kansas
DeMarcus Cousins 6-11 PF/C Kentucky
Gani Lawal 6-9 PF Georgia Tech
Hassan Whiteside 7-0 C Marshall

Thats 8 guys, any of which would be an almost instantaneous upgrade to the Hornets frontline. The best of this group is probably Cousins, followed by Greg Monroe. This is a pretty deep draft for bigs, so drafting a SG or SF may be the direction the Hornets go. The Hornets need frontline help first though.

4. Figure out your wing situation. Reaistically, other than Thornton, who do the Hornets have thats a reliable offensive threat, or can play with any consistancy for that matter? Maybe Chris paul if you play him at the 2. Other than that, what the Hornets have is collection of guys that are either old (Posey, Peja, Peterson) or just not that good (Wright). Personally, I’m so fed up with Julian Wright, I’d welcome bringing Devin Brown back if it meant getting him off the roster.

5. Make Chris Paul happy. This will be a critial time for the Hornets. A decision will have to be made regarding David West in the next couple of seasons too. My personal opinion is that West’s best years are behind him, and we should look to move him before his stock falls. My recommendation to the Hornets is to do whatever makes CP happy in this situation. I think Chris understands enough about the NBA as a business at this point that, if the Hornets were to stand to make a definite upgrade at PF, he would go for it.

There you have it; the Top 5 priorities of work for the Hornets brass in the coming offseason, as seen by some guy sitting in 303. Bower and the front office folks have their work cut out for them, if they are here next season. I didn’t even touch that subject.

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