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Finishing Moves

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Published: August 12, 2010

Now that the DC and Juju trades have gone down, we find ourselves in an interesting position. We have a very solid core of youth and veteran players, but now we are at the point where we need only a few more pieces in order to contend for a title. Demps and company have done a good job at gauging value of players and trading diminishing value for an area of need. Posey and Collison’s values were certain to drop after this season, especially if Paul stays healthy. Therefore, we would have gotten less in a trade for the young point guard who wouldn’t have nearly as many opportunities to improve first hand on the court for us. As fans who follow closely and often times over-analyze statistics the players on our own team, it’s true that we over-valued Darren Collison in our eyes, and we should certainly not judge the front office for getting “lesser value” and not getting “more out of the deal”. Also, letting Collison go sends a positive message to Chris Paul that the team is dedicated first and foremost to him. They’re not going to live by the fear that he could leave and are playing a ballsy game. So let’s take a look at how we stand on the lineup.

PG: CP3, (TBD)

SG: MT5, Bellinelli

SF: Ariza, Peja, Pondexter

PF: West, Songaila, Brackins

C: Okafor, Gray

The obvious need is for a backup point guard and another capable big man, both of which are feasible. There are tons of options out there for a backup point guard who could be acquired via trade or free agency, so I won’t really dwell deeply into that. Instead I’ll just throw out a couple of names that could help fill the void: Earl Watson, Sebastian Telfair, and Eric Maynor. As for addressing the need for help in the front court, I would suggest a trade is in the works. I say this because there are few resources in free agency that could help us, seeing as the drop off in talent and efficiency drops off significantly after West and Okafor. I will put a couple of free agent names out there though: Lou Amundson, Etan Thomas, and Josh Boone (not exciting at all, I know).

So, in order for us to be able to fill the front court, I have come up with a trade that will take a player from our front court. David West to Sacramento for Carl Landry and Jason Thompson. It sounds like a pipe-dream, and might be, but it’s not entirely out of question. West gives them experience on a very young team. It allows them to have an All-Star player at that position who can assist Hassan Whiteside and Demarcus Cousins in their development. We know what Landry and Thompson would do for us as young, talented players who can rebound and bang with the rest of them. That move would put us in contention for sure.

Another trade I’ve worked up would send Peja to Sacramento for Sam Dalembert. Peja, who would play in a role off the bench, would give much needed range to the Kings while also having a larger value coming off the books the next season than with Dalembert. It also opens up more playing time and a starting position to Demarcus Cousins. Adding a good rebounder and defender like Dalembert, who can play either front-court position, gives us four talented big men. Dalembert could split minutes with Okafor and West, acting almost as another starter in the front court.

The last trade I’ve conjured up for tonight is one that would have to come at the deadline. Peja and West for Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins. It would have to be a deadline move because Biedrins has been injury prone and it will be necessary for him to recapture pre-injury form and continue to improve as a player. Ellis would step in at SG and potentially give us a boost offensively, as he can work with the ball in his hand and create, like Paul. Then we have a defensive front court with an extremely explosive back court.

All of these are pipe-dreams of course and probably won’t happen. Either way, the Hornets should be aiming for their finishing moves, as it appears they have started in the right direction. Thoughts?

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