My Kingdom for a Four?

Published: October 8, 2010


Now is the Winter of Our Discontent Made Glorious?

Looking back over the recent NOLA stint, which is about to become the second longest stable period in terms of location in franchise history at a whopping 3 seasons and 1 game, we’ve seen quite a few incarnations of this team. There have been come constants (CP, D) and some changes (Bobby Jackson, Tyson, Emeka).

One constant had been that our bench was closer to 3rd-best-group-of-5 than a 2nd-best-group-of-5 when looking at the best in the NBA. We’ve had bright spots, but as a whole we’ve yet to have a decent big man on the bench. If you are stocked up on anti-depressants, try figuring out who the best backup big we’ve had is. Ely? Bowen? Hilton did have that one game in Denver. Marks was likable. Step back in from the ledge . . .

Pick on Pargo and Mo all you want, and their shortcomings are well-documented, but we’ve been able to get something from the guards and the 3. Posey had his day. Rasual. Even Devin. Yes. Devin Brown. Daniels handed Chris and a not-larger-deficit or larger-lead compared to when Chris handed him the Paul on a few occasions. The ceiling on our backup bigs has been below the typical Devin Brown night as far as I can tell.


Since Every Jack Became a Gentleman, There’s Many a Gentle Person Made a Jack?

Now, however, we finally have a brand new crop of bigs, and with upon them hinges our real hope for hope. One of these dudes needs to work out, in my mind, for us to really be viewed as a team complete enough to really compete in the playoffs.

The odd are that one of these jokers has to work out, right? Gray, Alexander, Smith, Pops, Watkins. Figuring Watkins draws the short straw, we have a group of veritable last-chances. Gray, last-chance or not, is in the league for 2 years unless the CBA says otherwise, so work out or not, he’s probably staying (who’d take him if he didn’t unless it was in the Peja deal), so we really need to get value from him. At least he’s cheap, especially by the foot. Same for Smith, but he’s on a 1 year deal for $2, double Gray’s salary, and could be moved more easily.

That leaves Alexander and Pops as our wild cards, both at the 4. Poor D West. It’s been noted that the Songaila-Brackins trade may have traded uncertainty at the 1 for uncertainly at the 4, and, relative merits aside, this is qualitatively true. Hopefully Willie-at-the-1 is better than Songaila-at-the-4 and that Smith develops now and not later or never, which is the fear. But poor D West. Without a trade, our playoff hopes, real hopes of advancing, lie in these two unknowns. Yeah?


Off with His Head?

That being said, I’m looking for that Peja trade to target a 4 or 4/5 Duncan-light-to-skim type, provided it’s not used on Carmelo, maybe with a player or two, and cap relief (I’d rather a 4 and some guys to try in place of our camp guys who don’t pan out come January). Emeka is here for the next couple of years, so going after a 4 makes more sense with D potentially walking.

It’s also possible to see D West shipped out for a longer term 4, yeah? Depending on if they get a sense if he’s resign or not and how he plays under the new regime. He has a player option next year, but couldn’t they have offered him an extension already? Like Denver and Carmelo? But they didn’t.

A Peja and D package is looking more realistic to me. Get back a 3 and a 4 with a couple years on the contracts?

This post was submitted by 420ftJesus.


  1. DownUnder

    October 8, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Should we be preparing for D-West to walk? I mean his been here for a while now and he just seems right at home where he is. But anywayz I like the post and it does outline our need for frontcourt help. I’m hoping that this is the main target Dell is aiming at with Peja’s contract.

    Out of the current battle I am probably leaning more towards Pops just because he is a rebounding machine which makes him a very handy player.

    • 42

      October 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

      I don’t what’s up with Pops, but his head isn’t right. I don’t care what people say about `hops’ and the like: there’s a basketball IQ floor for being a role player, starter, all-star, super-star whatever, just as there’s a `can-you-get-your-hand-this-high’ influence. This guy just doesn’t seem to be there today.

      I don’t get the feeling from D that he’s looking to walk, but I had the same feeling from DC. The Magic game may say something about D West vs. Memphis compared to Alexander vs. Orlando, but what can be divined from that . . . I’m not smart enough to tell. Apples and oranges doesn’t capture the gulf-of-difference. Apples and Star Trek?

      I think, as Ryan pointed out, West is sort of on the short leash. In fact, it may be the D West is the key to keeping Chris. Without D, could anyone we bring in for Peja and Thornton (a perhaps desirable package, not advocating here) round out a team that CP3 would be happy to have his `brand’?

      If D can’t get right, we may have to get him out to get 2 someone’s in. Yeah? I’m assuming the game we are playing is called `Keep Chris.’

      Okafor, at least, is not indicating that he has regressed from his typical play. I’m happy assuming he’s the same Okafor he always was and last year was his not-anomalous-but-still-his-worst season; everyone has a worst season (by well-ordering of the natural numbers). This is a help, or a least a harm-avoidance.

  2. Michael McNamara

    October 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    How would you feel about Carl Landry as our long term 4? I know he is undersized like West but couldn’t you just see him on those old Knicks teams that Monty seems to have an affinity for? Like West, he will be a free agent after this year, but perhaps the Hornets can work out some kind of sign and extend. A legit big with size will still be needed (Gortat?) but I think Landry is the kind of 4 that Monty and Demps would LOVE to have. Thoughts?

    • TopherPrice

      October 11, 2010 at 8:38 am

      What do you think about Brandon Bass in the place of Carl Landry? I know SVG has been starting him this preseason, but if he goes back in the dog house we could probably have him for just the trade exception. They would love some tax relief I am sure and that would take his $4 million for the next 3 years off their hands. We could definitely use him off the bench.

      • 42

        October 11, 2010 at 3:26 pm

        I was thinking about him last night. Getting him would require some sacrifice on our part, and in theory, extend the current team’s time-to-cohesion.

        The real question is, “What in the Creole Blue hell are we doing?” Are we trying to make the playoffs? Are we trying to lay a foundation? Are we trying to make the G’s (Georgie and Garyie(?)) $10M a year? Are we trying to provide enjoyment to people? Are just trying to be good soldiers in the game of “Get Title for the Lakers and Celtics?”

        Until we answer the question, we can’t do anything but lay out contingencies and wait for the data (wins, losses, and more) to come in.

    • 42

      October 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      Maybe I’m just stuck on stupid, to quote a smart man, but for it boils down to: will it help keep Chris?

      If Chris is good with Landry, great.

      As long we bust up Peja’s monolithic contract into bite-sized pieces, we can get players with greater ease. Stated another way: I contend that we could have moved 2/3 or 3/3 of Peja’s deal if he were 3 players with $5M expiring deals. It’s just easier to find a way to fit that in and package small-goodnesses with those smaller-than-$15M/year badnesses and spread it around the league. You can even just trade `trash’ periodically in hopes that a player `clicks’. You just can’t do that with a monolithic contract.

      I see Peja’s contract perhaps returning value, if traded, after 2 or 3 moves. Frankly, that’s a good thing, because if 1 team had all the answers, they’d probably be unwilling to part with said answers. Right?

  3. Michael McNamara

    October 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Yeah- I ask myself that all the time. Does this trade really have any impact on the only thing that matters- Chris Paul resigning. Landry does not make us that much more attractive, admittedly. But then I think you can get stuck waiting for that perfect deal and get stuck with nothing. The question is whether they think they can sign Landry next offseason, and then they don’t have to take on Garcia’s terrible deal.

    Let everyone walk, resign West and Thornton, sign Landry, and draft a big to develop and sign a defensive minded two that will compliment Thornton. If Pondexter develops, that has the makings of a nice, deep team. But do we have the patience and the belief we can develop guys like Pondexter, Thornton, Gray, and next years picks? If so, I would go to war with that team in the West with the Lakers, Suns, Mavs, and Spurs all on the decline by 2011-12.

    • 42

      October 12, 2010 at 10:58 pm

      What about the sign-and-trade deals that can be made? I don’t think they are restricted to big deals; LeBron “I have a hurt leg too, Dwyane” James and Chris “42 wishes I was Hornet even though he loves David West” Bosh didn’t have max deals.

      With the cap going down, a guy making 10% ($5M) and locking that in for 3 seasons may eek out a $1-2M extra under a 3x$5M deal than he would under signing a mezzo mezzo deal under the new-altogether-spooky CBA.

      I don’t mind getting Landry or whoever and then shipping him to Alaska, the Moon, or New Jersey (zing!) if they don’t work out.

      I’m actually reminded of Genesis here, where in the Jahwist style, the animals are paraded before Adam in an effort to identify a `helper’ (in the random translation of the about 8 I have) before thoracoplasty is resorted to. I say get whoever in front of this guy that’s going to make him happy; do it early, do it often. And go get the piece of his meniscus, plant it with some miracle grow and `tussin, and see if we can grow a backup PG from it. Do whatever.

      Really, though, once someone isn’t definitely `not helping us keep Chris’ ship them out and try to get someone else in who might be. It may affect team chemistry, but is Chris going to go off wins that did and did not or what he thinks our potential is? The Heat did have the best record of the teams that James interview with; they had the most cap room. They had the most potential from a certain point of view, just like the Hornets did in Chris’ mind in 2008 without cap room. It’s a sell job when you strip the distractions away, nothing more.

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