Addressing the Trade Rumors – Obliquely

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Published: June 23, 2010

There’s a ton of worry and chatter out there about nationally reported – no, not reported – speculation on several Hornets trades right now.  Most of them involve the Hornets giving up Paul or Collison for, essentially, a hangman’s noose and a pine box.   In case you can’t tell, this somewhat irritates me.  I’ll try to keep my rant to three points:

  1. There is a difference between a team working to get under the Luxury Tax and a team in “financial difficulty.”  There is a difference between a team shedding marginal, overpaid players for business reasons, and a team “desperate to shed salary.”  There is a difference between a team that is being sold because its owner had cancer and wants to focus on other things, and . . . bah, you get the point.  Much of the stuff written about the Hornets reminds me of watching the fifth season of Star Trek: Voyager on DVD.  At some point, the same old crap ceases to be fun and becomes tiresome.
  2. Jeff Bower has not traded real talent for tax relief his entire tenure as GM.  Every trade that was made purely to aid in getting under the Luxury Tax involved shipping out only a replacement-level talent.  If you are expecting him to send out Collison merely to get rid of a player like James Posey, then you haven’t been paying attention.  If Collison goes somewhere, he brings talent back in return.  Bower will tackle the issue of the Luxury Tax by sending out expiring, replacement level players like Songaila, Julian or Morris Peterson – just like he did last year with Hilton Armstrong, Rasual Butler and Bobby Brown.
  3. Lastly – and this has preyed on my mind for a while – what possible reason is there to trade any of the Hornets core for expirings/cap relief?  Okafor, West, Thornton, Paul, Collison – they are all talented, useful players.  Any cap space gotten in return won’t be enough to allow the Hornets to sign another player, and in the case of all players but David West, they haven’t even hit their primes yet.  If the Hornets trade them for cap space, now they have to find young players to replace them.  That, of course,  means they will have traded an orange – for the opportunity to wait a year or two and acquire an orange.  Yay?  The Hornets need to simply cut the dead weight – and happily, most of that dead weight expires this year anyway.  One year of patience is all it takes, folks.
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