No Shame in Being a Vulture; Time for Trade Speculation

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Published: July 9, 2010

So LeBron James chose likely championships and comraderie over Cleveland.  I feel for Cavs fans, I really do.  I also identify with them, since that same situation could very well play out here in New Orleans over the next couple seasons.  Still, while I feel a vague sort of horrified comraderie with our bereaved friends in Cleveland, it won’t stop me from picking at their once proud team’s corpse.

I mean, let’s face it.  Jamison and Mo Williams aren’t going to take you to the promised land.  Minus Shaq and Ilgauskas, I doubt they’ll even take you to the playoffs as your best two players.  That team was built around a single superstar talent, and without that engine, it’s a fairly weak shell.

However, where else in the NBA can you find a team that has a single superstar looking for a talented cast to compiment him except in New Orleans?  Isn’t it almost fitting that the Hornets try to pick up some of those pieces from Cleveland, while aiding that team in blowing up and starting over as soon as possible?

Now, of course, Cleveland may decide it doesn’t want to start over, and try to futz something together.  However, I would love for the Hornets to make a move now.

Which, of course, leads me to one of the more entertaining things to do: Trade Speculation!

I have two trades in mind with the Cavaliers – largely the Hornets offering expiring contracts and a future pick in return for some of their longer term contracts.  If they do trades like this, the Cavs will suffer through one terrible year, yet have a mass of cap room next summer and hopefully, some high draft picks to jump start their rebuilding.  The two trades:

  • Peja Stojakovic and Julian Wright plus next years 1st round pick to Cleveland for Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams.
  • Peja Stojakovic and Darius Songaila plus next year’s 1st round pick to Cleveland for Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison.

Now, I can see you all wincing a little at that.  Neither Mo Williams or Antawn Jamison are particularly palatable at this point.  However – their deals aren’t too out of line with their production, and the key point is that the Hornets obtain a real, actual center(Varejao) who is a superb defensive player.  There is also no question that Jamison or Williams would also help shore up positions of need – the lack of a backup power forward, and the rather shallow three-guard rotation the Hornets currently sport.  In a single stroke, the Hornets have fixed most of their problems – other than the gaping hole at small forward.

Of course, that’s where this turns into a bit of my dream scenario.  The Hornets then call up Indiana and offer David West and Darren Collison to the Pacers.  If they had obtained Jamison from Cleveland, they add in Julian Wright and try to get back Granger and either Brandon Rush or Dahntay Jones.  If they had obtained Mo Williams from Cleveland, they ask for Granger and a pick – though I wouldn’t make the pick required.  The Pacers fill two major holes with a borderline  all-star Power Forward and their Point guard of the future.  Rookie Paul George  then steps into the small forward gap left by Granger’s departure.

The Hornets then move Okafor to a more natural starting spot at the power forward and the Hornets have one of the two following depth charts:

  • C: Varejao/Okafor/Gray
  • PF: Okafor/Songaila(or)Brackins
  • SF: Granger/Pondexter
  • SG: Thornton/Mo Williams
  • PG: Paul/Mo Williams

OR

  • C: Varejao/Okafor/Gray
  • PF: Okafor/Jamison/Brackins
  • SF: Granger/Jamison/Pondexter
  • SG: Dahntay Jones/Thornton
  • PG: Paul/Thornton

Is it pie in the sky?  Sure.  Does it help the Hornets with most of their problems?  Absolutely.  The acquisition of Varejao to play next to Okafor makes that frontline go from undersized and poor defensively to a major defensive powerhouse.  Granger will replace the scoring West produced, and the Hornets keep a three-guard rotation that is either a nasty offensive punch or a much stronger defensive force.

That second line-up?  I could really dig that.

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