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Fan Fiction – Hornets style
April 26, 2010, Chris Paul enters the conference room at Hornets central to a smiling Dell Demps, Monty Williams, and Hugh Weber looking like someone pissed in his cheerios. As they sit at the table, Paul notices a large pile of cash neatly stacked in front of Dell’s seat.
Demps: [reaching out his hand to shake Chris’] “Chris, let me first say that it is a pleasure to meet you and thank you for taking the time to hear what we have to say. Please, lets all have a seat.
[everyone takes a chair, Hornets staff on one side of the long table, Demps in center. Paul’s staff across the table, Paul center]
First things first, I am not Jeff Bower and this is not the same operation now that I am in charge. I gather there was some tension between you two as time progressed, and some hurt feelings due to his way of running things. I can not be held responsible for mistakes that were made up to this point, but I can do everything in my power to make things better. I chose this team, because unlike the Phoenix job, I have been promised full power with regards to player decisions. So, I have the power necessary to make this team better, and do it my way. My responsibility is to get this team into contention as fast as possible, and I will do it. I promise to always keep you in the loop on all our personnel decisions moving forward, and will have an open door to all of my players, especially you.”
Paul: “Well that all sounds nice, lets get down to business. You guys said you had a plan for making this team a winner ASAP?”
Demps: “I am sure you wonder how I plan on doing that, so allow me to explain. You have said that you want to be put next to a superstar or two. That you feel like that will put you in the best position to win for a long time, but you want it quickly. Is this a fair assessment of your desires right now?”
Paul: “You hit it on the head.”
Demps: “Well I am sure you are wondering why I am sitting in front of this pile of cash. This is exactly $21,932,057. This is what we have coming off our books at the end of the season. You see this sharpie? I am writing Carmelo’s name on $18 million of these. Even under the current CBA, that is the most he can have of this pile next season. We all are pretty sure that the new CBA, when it is worked out, will result in that number being lower, but for argument’s sake current CBA money is his. You just have to help us get him. Wade did it in Miami, and I am sure you can do it as well.”
Paul: “Well I don’t know if I can do that, but that is one piece, I really want a second big player with us.”
Demps: “Well if towards the end of the season, you have a good vibe that Melo is going to come and join our team, I promise you I will begin to shop whoever I need to get Emeka off of our hands. So on July 1st, we will be ready to pull the trigger on that move to clear the cap room for us to go and get whoever the third person is that you want either through sign and trade or just a FA. So even with signing your third guy, resigning David to similar money and Marcus to around $4.5 million, we are around $64 million in salary. Push comes to shove we can ship Posey away for nothing at some point that season and we are below $58 million.” The roster will have youth, talent, and flexibility to improve all by the start of the 2011-2012 season.
Paul: “ok, that sounds good but I don’t really care about penny pinching, that is what ships out our players when we are worried about not paying over the tax.”
Demps: “Well Chris, the problem has been not paying attention to how the money is spent, not the lack of spending. I am committed to spending the money in a responsible way so I continue to have the flexibility to improve this roster even after major moves like the ones I am promising. I want you to be on a consistent winner now and in the future, not just a winner now. So I am committing to these things, we just need you to commit to getting the first puzzle piece: Carmelo. Everything after that will fall into place. You will be on a team with young major talent, youth, flexibility, and a fan base that will see you the way the Heat’s looks at Wade. They both are great guys, but do you want to be Lebron or Dwayne right now?
Paul: I like the things you are promising, but I don’t know about Melo and I have been burned before with empty promises.
Demps: Well, I will earn your trust but you have to give me time to do so. I am asking for 1 season and the opportunity to give this pile of money to the guy you bring in. If we can make this work together, then I am sure the trust will be a given from there on out. If we can’t get Melo, then we will trade you if you ask.
Paul: Ok, lets go from here.
Demps: Great, see you in training camp.
–The biggest thing that set up Miami and the big three was Dwayne Wade recruiting them and a front office willing to go along with the plan. All that the FO did was clear the cap space to pick up two max guys beside Wade. Now that we have Demps, we may have a guy who is willing to do that, and we can do it without significantly damaging the talent level of the team to do so. The only serviceable pieces you would have to lose is, Okafor and Darren, after you have Melo. If you have Melo, Chris isn’t going anywhere so losing Darren is not as risky.