A New Dawn

Published: July 22, 2010

It’s time to move on. 

And no, this isn’t about Chris Paul.  Well, it’s about Chris Paul some, but not entirely. 

You see, the Hornets have entered a brand new phase and as a result, I think we all need to start over.  There is no longer any reason to carry the baggage of the botched Tyson trade, and the crippling signings of Peja, Posey and Peterson.  We can let go of the sold first rounder, the selection of Armstrong and Simmons, and the disposal of the Phoenix for nothing.  Pick your poison and let it go, Because these Hornets aren’t the same, regardless of the currently unchanged roster.  They are moving on, and so should we.

What the Hornets did was desperately needed.  They are cleaning house, and doing it the right way.  They avoided the good ol’ boy network that keeps shuffling the same faces in and out of various jobs around the league.  Instead, they went for young, new executives and leaders who have paid their dues in front offices that have had success.

To me, that’s right way to do it.  If I can’t have Popovich and Buford, give me Demps and Williams.  Give me guys who are eager for that first taste of the apple, guys eager to build a reputation.  The Nets can have Avery Johnson and Billy King. (I mean, come on.  Billy King?)

Cleaning house really does set things in motion.  There is no longer anyone left who feels responsible for past personnel decisions, and that means there will be little compunction in making necessary moves.  No one will feel invested in David West being part of the team.  No one will feel, even peripherally, that Julian Wright or James Posey need minutes to validate their own decision making abilities.  And . . . there is no baggage when dealing with Chris Paul’s desire to leave.

As a result, the team is more free to rebuild now.  They can take full advantage of their expiring contracts.  This is why Paul’s desire to leave only impacts the degree of what Demps and Williams have to do.  If Paul stays, the team rebuilds on the fly, with an excellent foundational 25-year old superstar and some rookies and first year players.  If he goes, the team will rebuild with their rookies and 1st-year players and whatever they can get for him. The fact is the rebuilding will occur regardless of his presence – he just has to decide if he wants to be in New Orleans for it.  Hopefully he’ll just make a decision with grace, and the whole process won’t drag out interminably.  It is a bit depressing.

Still, rebuilding can be fun.  It’s certainly more fun than watching a middling team struggle to recapture past glory.  It’s certainly more fun than having static off-seasons that you know don’t actually improve the team.  My favorite Hornets season – and Niall’s as well – was the year the Hornets made the leap, blowing away expectations and surprising everyone.  Paul was part of that – I’d like him to be part of it again – but if he isn’t, that’s okay.

I’ll just move on.

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