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Would it Hurt to Try?
I understand where the Hornets are right now.
They are trying to return to fiscal sanity. They feel they have a bunch of pieces they need to sort out, and the only real way to do that is to get them on the court together. Despite the teams leaking their “efforts” to pry Paul from the Hornets, Jeff Bower is aware he still holds all the cards. He can spend either Paul(if necessary) or Collison as trade chips over the next year, and he’s bound to get quality pieces back. The Peterson trade makes it so he doesn’t have to destroy the trade value of players like David West and Collison by insisting they go out with a bad contracts – because he’s already below the Luxury Tax line.
The team is playing it conservative, hoping to pick off bargains. It’s not unlike what San Antonio has done for years. It’s what OKC is doing right now.
I get it. But . . . I don’t like it.
I understand New Orleans may not be a prime destination for the big name free agents. I understand that even if the Hornets did get one of those players to agree to join the Hornets, they’d still face a difficult sign and trade process that has no guarantee of success.
In the end, though, why not at least try?
There are players on the market right now that would provide significant upgrades for the Hornets, and there are at least a few teams that are willing to sign and trade them. These are players of a caliber that will simply not be available via trade. Why aren’t the Hornets at least trying to sell Bosh on the Bayou? Would it have been that embarassing to try and make a move for Amar’e before it became impossible to work out a sign and trade with the Suns? Do you think Miami wouldn’t think strongly about a Dwyane Wade sign and trade for Peja, Thornton, and Collison if their star decided Chris Paul would make his life infinitely easier?
To me, even if the Hornets are rejected in their attempts, there is nothing there but gain. Chris Paul would at least feel the team is trying to improve. Players around the league see that the Hornets are committed to try and win. The organization would look pro-active and aggressive, all the traits basketball players are supposed to admire.
And what is the downside? That the Hornets may look like jilted lovers? That the city may be confirmed as a location big name players don’t want to go to? I’m sorry, those ideas are already out there. It’s more important to try and break those perceptions in my book than to flinch away from potentially confirming them in the mind of a few people who probably already think that way.
Now, I’m not counting out Bower making moves later in the summer. Last year everyone was damning him for his early off-season inertia, but when he moved, he did so decisively and intelligently. The Hornets could very well end up with a significantly upgraded roster.
Still, for me, even if the Hornets pull off a few nice moves, this off-season will still carry a tinge of early disappointment.