2010-2011 Season Review Part Two: Looking Ahead

Published: May 4, 2011

So now that we have looked back on what was an exciting season in part one and on the podcast, it is time to take what we have learned and look forward to how it might impact the future of this franchise. When we look back in four or five years, it is likely that we will point to this particular offseason as the tipping point for this franchise. Only five players on the current roster have guaranteed contracts for next year, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire, CP3 is one year away from possibly being a free agent, and the Hornets still have that pesky little problem of needing to find an owner. Needless to say a lot of dominoes are in place, and it is going to be interesting to see how they fall.

The NBA will likely lockout its players on July 1st, but the Hornets still have the potential of making several moves before that time. Trades can take place between the Hornets and any team eliminated from contention in the next couple of weeks, the Hornets can make qualifying offers to Jason Smith and Marco Bellineli, and the Hornets own the 45th pick in the 2011 NBA draft. Additionally, David West and Aaron Gray have some decisions of their own to make, as they each have a player option that they can either pick up or decline. For West, the option is just a shade over 7.5 million, while Gray has to choose whether or not he wants to pick up a 1.1 million dollar option.

If the Hornets do not put out qualifying offers to either Belinelli or Smith and both Gray and West decline their options, then the Hornets will have approximately $42 million committed to just five players: Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack, and Quincy Pondexter. As a frame of reference, the salary cap was just a little more than $58 million this past year, although many expect that to change under the new CBA. Either way, expect to see some significant change in the roster come opening night next season.

With so much uncertainty facing the team this offseason, we take a look at five big questions heading into this offseason:

1. Of all the possible free agents on the Hornets roster, which one player do you think is most likely to be back?

Joe Gerrity: It’s got to be Green, who Monty Williams just loves. Green won’t break the bank and will give Monty exactly what he wants off the bench.

Michael McNamara: I agree that Willie Green will likely be back next season, but I could see a scenario in which the Hornets land a significant player at shooting guard who will demand 35+ minutes, and in that case Willie wouldn’t be needed, as Jack can handle the back-up minutes at SG. For me, it is David West. I think he opts in for 7.5 million or signs an extension. Too risky for him to test the free agent market coming off of a significant injury.

Ryan Schwan: Although my first inclination is also to say Green, we have to be careful not to conflate Monty’s desires with those of Demps.  So far Demps hasn’t shown a nostalgic bone in his body, and I think he’s well aware of the limitations of Green.  With West’s injury, it seems to me the guy Demps will be most certain to lock up first would be Landry, both as insurance and as a future key piece to a bench he’s made a priority.

2. Aside from obvious answers like David Anderson or Marcus Banks, which Hornets free agent do you think is likely gone next year?

Joe:  It’s easy to get hung up here on someone other than Aaron Gray, but he’s a big man who played big in the postseason and made peanuts this year. While he’s surely a capable backup, someone is going to overpay him to commit moving picks and dumb fouls away from the ball, for multiple years. That team really shouldn’t be the Hornets. While hemade some good progress this year physically, his work ethic and dedication to conditioning remain a question mark going forward. For what it’s worth, I hope he re-signs for a reasonable price and continues working harder to improve himself as he has for the past year.

McNamara: Joe- I agree with you yet again. I think Gray is gone, unless his agent forgets to file the paperwork saying that he is opting out. Don’t laugh, it has happened before. Who knows, maybe Gray loves the food in NOLA and would love to stay, but one guy who I doubt will be invited back is Jason Smith. He fits nicely in the pick and pop game when his jumper is on, but he offers nothing on the defensive end. Too weak to defend the post, too slow to stay with stretch 4’s. He’s outta here.

Schwan: Gray may be the answer, but I think that of the three remaining players the Hornets used at shooting guard last year, Belinelli is the least likely to return.  There is little reason to keep three players who combined to serve up one of the least productive starting slots in the NBA, so I’m more likely to bank on Demps cutting bait than Gray getting his socks knocked off with cash.

3. What is the Hornets biggest offseason need?

Joe: Really there is one thing that the Hornets need to get the ball rolling forward in their quest for contender status, and that is a brand spanking new CBA. It has to beagreed upon in a timely fashion, and reduce the disparity in spending between big and small market teams. Once that’s done with the rest is gravy.

McNamara: A new CBA that helps out smaller market teams is step one, but the biggest need is the step that comes directly after that- finding an OWNER. And not just any owner, but one who is committed to keeping the team in New Orleans and spending the money it will take to build a long term contender. Monty and Dell have this thing on the right track, all that is needed now is some stability.

Schwan: Blah Blah Blah.   This is a basketball team, remember?  The CBA is coming regardless, and even without an owner, the NBA has approved a perfectly reasonable budget for team operations.  No, the Hornets need at least one wing player that can produce – I don’t know – maybe a league average PER of 15.0?  I’m not asking for that much, guys.  Just average.

4. Dell Demps has basically said Chris Paul is untouchable for now, but has stated he is always looking for upgrades in other areas. With that said, who is more likely to be traded: Trevor Ariza or Emeka Okafor?

Joe: I’m betting both are on the team to start the season, but I assume it’s possible that one or the other could be dealt. As a player I like Okafor more than Ariza, but overall I’d say that Ariza is the better fit with Paul going forward.

McNamara: Even though Emeka was pushed around by the Lakers, I just don’t think there will be anybody better available for the Hornets to play the Center position. Dwight Howard and TysonChandler are pipe dreams. Greg Oden and Yao Ming will miss as many games as Emeka will play. Nene is likely staying and Dalembert will be overpaid by someone else.

Meanwhile, take a look at the small forwards that can be had on the free agent market. Tayshaun Prince, Wilson Chandler, Shane Battier, Caron Butler, Luc Mbah a Moute, Matt Barnes, Josh Howard, James Jones, Tracy McGrady, Jamario Moon, etc. None of those guys are a significant downgrade from Ariza, and many of them can be had for a cheaper price. So if Demps has the chance to move Ariza for a quality shooting guard, he might just take it and then snatch up one of those guys to replace him.

Schwan: Yay.  We can choose from a list of small forward free agents better known as Old, One-dimensional, Older, Slow, Offensively non-existant, Slower, Drug-addled, One-dimensional-er, Ghost in a Shell, and Plain bad.

Unless West walks, I expect both players to remain in a Hornets uniform.  If West walks and Demps can’t coax Nene to New Orleans, Okafor will be the next guy out the door with Paul as the team gets blown up.  If this team is turned over, Ariza is much more likely to stay on because of his youth and smaller contract than Okafor and his rebuild-hampering salary.

5. What is the key to keeping Chris Paul beyond next season?

Joe: There is no one single key. The bullets are:

  • A good and timely CBA (see answer number three)
  • Chouest buying the team and committing to spending as much as needed to win
  • Someone to play shooting guard at an adequate level (be it an improved Marco or someone else)
  • A tall and talented big man to come aboard  
  • David West to committing to another year or more

My bad. I overlooked the real key- Dwight Howard. That’s much simpler, in theory at least.

McNamara: Dwight Howard would be nice, Joe, but I am not counting on that. Everything you said was dead on, and of course the ability to use a franchise tag per the new CBA will be a blessing as well. Bottom line, the Hornets have to make that next step to true contender while getting a commitment from a local buyer who can sell Chris Paul on the future of this franchise, both on and off the court.

Schwan: Last off-season, Demps turned a lot of crap pieces into usable pieces.  Now he’s got to find a way to turn a bit of cap space and usable pieces into a piece Paul considers a suitable Star Sidekick.  Paul wants to play with another top-30 guy, and I think his desire begins and ends there.  Here’s to hoping Demps makes that possible.

(We wanna hear want you think as well. While comments here are welcome, we would love for each of you to write a journal so we can look back after the offseason and see who nailed it on the head. Also, be sure to download our next podcast, which is full of theories, strategies, and speculation!)


  1. CP3nBrees

    May 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Mike you forgot to mention Jack as one of the five guys under contract.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 5, 2011 at 7:06 am

      What would Freud say about that “mistake”?
      Thanks, though, I just noticed that and fixed it. See- I can admit when I am wrong!

  2. cubancaniac

    May 5, 2011 at 12:03 am

    What about JRichardson. Coming as a free agent? Too costly??? Or a trade where we get Carlos Delfino a taller lenghtier Marco with a better stroke from outside; a truer version of 08 Peja!? And finally what will land us Howard? Okafor a couple of draft picks and??? If dwight flat out says he doesn’t want to play in Orl and perfers to play alongside CP!

    • Michael McNamara

      May 5, 2011 at 7:09 am

      Love the Delfino idea, not so sure about J Rich. I think the Hornets need someone at the two who can score AND create. To me, Richardson only does one of those things. To get Delfino, though, we might have to take Maggette or Gooden back in the trade. That would be too pricey for me personally.

      • AgentZiko

        May 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        Delfino would be solid. But I agree with Mike, Maggette or Gooden to get him ain’t worth it.

  3. BHA

    May 5, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Looking at our roster this year compared to the elite teams. We had 3 genuine starters (Paul, West, Okafor) and a bunch of role players. There is no doubt that Dell will try a build a championship around Paul and West, he had some encouraging things to say at the press conference today. The problem I can see trying to acquire a go to guy for Paul is we dont have much talent oustisde of those three to offer in a trade, not to mention a 1st rnd pick. That wont stop dealer demps from trying to make an ambitious trade. Out of the SF free agents mentioned above, Wilson Chandler at 23yrs should be the primary target.

  4. Bee_Fense985

    May 5, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Resign Marco and Landry, go after Chandler or Butler, and still try to land one of those other SFs named above such as Howard, Moon, or Jones.

    Then if Gray decideds to go elsewhere, you gotta find a suitable 5 to back up Mek and play against the taller teams.

    Now if Gasol or Howard can be had… I think you break the bank for either and filling that other hole in the roster will be easier b/c guys will want to play here. If you team up D12 and CP, you can convince West to stay and you can more than get by with having Ariza, and Belli as your starters and go 3 deep on the bench with Landry, Jack, and Q-Pon, along with whoever else.

    • Kenny

      May 6, 2011 at 9:00 am

      I like that. Or, try for Nene’
      2) Do not resign Willie Green
      3) Offer free agent Marcus Thornton 5 year/$30 million

  5. cp3pdx

    May 5, 2011 at 2:31 am

    Im gonna try not to speculate on our moves this year. Demps, I trust you.

  6. BrickCity

    May 5, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I want a 4 that can rebound & block shots like Okafor, like PJ used to do & Serge Ibaka does now for OKC — & alas, West can’t do any more & Landry cannot do at all. Question: Is there any chance Okafor could play 4, if we had a true 7-foot center like Dalembert or Gasol? In such a scenario Ariza would have to go as we get a new high-scoring 2 & 3. I for one am tired of being way undersized @ the 4 & 5, and way under-powered @ the 2 & 3 – which strikes me as backward. I also think Paul would thrive getting assists to a big 4 & 5 (pick-and-dunks), instead of all those low value pick-and-pops to D West and Jason Smith.

  7. paul

    May 5, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Man, guys…where is the Gray love?

    In fact, with all of you guys and your total/combined NBA knowledge still looking at Gray from a surprisingly limited point of view…I look forwayd to following Gray to a team where he is understood and used properly.
    I look forward ro a team where his offensive abilities are recongnized and actual plays are called for him under the basket.
    Perhaps you are quilty of the group thinking…the perfect examples of a dumb thought catching wind and becoming the hought of the land.
    The lady is a witch whispers that moved from house to house and finally becomes a truth.

    Aaron Gray is a 4th year big man that is just growing into his NBA force and the fact none of you see it is stupifying(?). In fact, when Paul looked for him and used him, Gray was a monster on offense. You get him more of this, instead of the “look what I found” shots off rebounds and messed up plays and you have a really good weapon off the bench.

    It is amazing that all of you cannot see this.

    Look, get him to another team and then join the ranks of teams that brood over trades that see lost players then find them killing them in future games.

    Man, this is sad.

    • Joe P

      May 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      I agree that Gray can be a good fit on a good team. The question is, “how much $$ is he worth?” Maybe he’s worth $5mil, but not $7mil. And the Bucks offer him $7mil. Ok, so it’ll be late Jan. 2012, and we’ll be like, “Man, did you see Gray had 10 and 5, with 5/7 shooting and 4 fouls in 15 mins? We could sure use a backup big man.” But hopefully Dell would have filled Gray’s roster spot- and salary spot- with a more productive player, and wont overpay based on need. I dunno, it’s tough; There are a lot of hornets that I like right now because of his bang for the buck (DWest #1), but Gray will probably get an overpriced offer somewhere else.

  8. paul

    May 5, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I was a little upset reading your description of Gray.
    But then I realized…what the hell for?
    The discussions on this blog, as a blogs, are just irrelevent thoughts that have zero effect on the reality of the discussion.
    I mean, really…who cares what we think?

    I guess I will get my fishing pole out and feed the fish while attemting to understand who I am and why I a here.
    Why I have testicles hanging outside my body, exposed just as a monkey does.
    Am I a monkey?
    Why I was brought into a world where the living only continue to live by the consumption of other living. OH! What a brilliant plan by the meme that began all memes!!!
    No, I gotta let this silly small stuff go and try to deal with my day to day depressing existence.

    Thanks for depressing me more today

    • 420ftjesus

      May 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

      Not mattering is the source of freedom.

      • paul

        May 5, 2011 at 11:25 am


        Are you kidding me?
        We are about as free as a million years of genetic chains around out ankles will allow.
        It an illusion and very much better to saty clear of examening.
        Reality is depressing.

      • 420ftjesus

        May 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

        I tend to disagree. Reality can’t be viewed as a prison. It is a stage.

        Shakespeare agrees.

        Of course, Johnny Cash took the stage in a prison… But he also left after…

    • Michael McNamara

      May 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

      If you actually paid attention to what each of us said, we said he would be gone because he is too GOOD to settle for the 1.1 million dollars that he is owed. We stated that another team will give him a much bigger contract because of his potential.

      We all wish he would stay, we just dont think it is likely.

      • paul

        May 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

        “someone is going to overpay him to commit moving picks and dumb fouls away from the ball, for multiple years. That team really shouldn’t be the Hornets. While hemade some good progress this year physically, his work ethic and dedication to conditioning remain a question mark ”

        Look…if that’s saying he is TOO good to stay, please don’t praise me.
        I have enough of a self image/confidance issue with such additional praise such as this.

    • Joe Gerrity

      May 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      Look, Gray is one of my favorite guys on the team, but that doesn’t change who he is as a player on the court. What isn’t accurate about what I said? Guy had a 9.74 PER in the postseason, and he played well. The reality is that this is the first year he wasn’t noticeably out of shape, and the results were him putting up a PER of 12 ish, and giving up a PER of 18 to his opposition (82games.com).

      He’s still a true 7-footer with a little history of showing up in important games, and against very talented players. His rebounding is damn good for how many he seemingly misses out on, and he won’t hurt you on offense. His shooting percentage was one of the best in the league.

      I think Gray could be one of the better backup centers in the league if he continues to work at it hard, and someone will pay him because of that. If that price winds up being more than 9 million over 3 years, then I don’t think the Hornets should offer the same.

      • paul

        May 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm

        I just quoted the line above in my earlier response to Michael that tells me what ya all feel about him, that’s all.
        Now if that is praise, then as I said, I wouldn’t want it.

        Now point in fact…I am so weary of this Gray “in shape” garbage.
        You go ahead and break your foot going into a season and then report back to all us fans about how easy it was to stay in shape while on one foot.
        This kid showed his true fighting spirit with his badly sprained foot and still played his heart out.
        All this fickle fan banter depresses me. It’s like Romans giving thumbs up or down in the Coliseum.

        How soon we forget the real details and battle the kid was facing…and it’s so easy to grab a hold of popular urban legends such as Gray’s eating disorder, or his bad picks, or his soft hands…whatever.

      • Joe P

        May 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm

        I’d advocate 3 years $9mil. That’s still a good deal. I get worried about 5 years $25mil, because he’ll be a fan favorite in most arenas and has potential, and especially because of his size.

  9. 504ever

    May 5, 2011 at 10:04 am

    We have five players returning at an average salary of $8.4M/player for 2011-12. Assuming a 15 player roster and a 2011-12 hardcap/tax line of $70M, that averages to $4.67M/player. That means the ten players on the rest of the roster must average $2.8M/player. With DWest’s salary at $7.5 and Landry, who the Hornets brass strongly say they want to resign, at say $5.5M in 2011-12, that means the next eight players’ salaries must average a shade below $2M/player. So for every Gray, Belinelli, Green, or Smith playing at around $3M, you need a player playing at slightly below $1M in 2011-12 to “balance” his salary out. So one is Mbenga and one is the 45rd overall pick. Maybe you get Smith to return for $2M so his salary doesn’t need to be balanced out. [I’d pay at least Gray and Belinelli around $3M/player in 2011-12. I love to get Green a little cheaper than $3M.] That’s 13 players with at least one more ‘cheapie’ to go.

    That leads to three questions.

    First, who are cheapies who can contribute? (Ewing, Jr.? Juju anyone?)

    Second, what available player(s) can contribute more at the same salary level than Belinelli, Gray, Green, and Smith? (Thornton?)

    Third, what existing player is being overpaid, relative to his production/value, and can you move him to create cap space to add better/more pieces? It’s not Paul or under contract “cheapie” Q-Pond. 2011-12 Salaries: Okafor $13.5M, Ariza $6.8M, and Jack $5M. The answer appears to be Jack, but he and Paul are good friends so maybe not. Plus Jack can play two positions and even start at the point in a pinch. Okafor’s salary appears out of line but what other center would/could you trade him for? [Howard? If so you do it and gladly go over the tax line to resign him.] If it’s Ariza, his price/value ratio seems reasonable and he played so much better in the playoffs than the regular season. That seems like a big risk unless you are offered an amazing deal for Ariza, which is unlikely.

    To me, it looks like it’s just not as easy to play GM as it looks!!

    P.S. I’d love to be able to talk to Demps about all of this. Wouldn’t you?

    • Michael McNamara

      May 5, 2011 at 10:51 am

      You are dead on- look at every good team in the league, especially the small market ones still alive, and you will see that they each have rotation guys playing for relative peanuts. I think that the Hornets will have Q-Pon, Ewing Jr, and Green all playing significant minutes next year for a total of 4-4.5 million dollars of committed salary.

      Add that to the Big 5 (including D West) and you are looking at 54 million dollars of salary committed to 8 of the 10 rotation guys. A starting SG, a backup big (Landry?) plus 4 minimum salary guys for 15 million? It is possible.

  10. JaeAmazin

    May 5, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Pick up T-Mac!!!..He Would be that 2 Guard we’ve been Looking for

    • AgentZiko

      May 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Dude, he’s washed up. Let it go.

    • CP3nBrees

      May 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      A guy can’t even stay in New Olreans for a weekend, are you really expecting him to come here play for a year?

  11. edbballin504

    May 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I thought 504ever broke things down well. To me, I feel Okafor is the guy we have to move. That contract is way too big and for another 3 seasons, thats gonna hurt us. He’s a solid center, but we can get someone as productive for much cheaper. Even if we got a less productive center, the benefit of using that salary in another position would outweigh having Okafor around. I think Okafor is great in the regular season for the 82 game season, but in the playoffs he is too small to impact the game for us. The question is who would want him, and what could we get from that team willing to take him. I wish we could get a young tall and long athletic center like D. Jordan (LAC) or J. Maghee (WAS). Have young and upside at the 5, with veteran leadership at the 4 (West and Landry), a tweener (veteran experience yet young) at the 3 (Ariza), and another younger stud at SG (to be addressed) then our star at the 1 (CP3). To be honest, I’d even roll the dice and try to get Oden if it was possible. Thoughts MM? anyone else?

    • edbballin504

      May 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Another key is to look at what other teams ahead of us have. All the teams left in the West have one thing in common, SIZE. OKC has Ibaka and Perk, MEM has Gasol and Randolph, LAL has Gasol and Bynum, DAL has Dirk and Chandler. We will never get far in the playoffs with a 6’10” center along side a 6’9″ PF…we have to get bigger at the center spot.

      Here’s my list of teams that may be interested in a Mek package:
      1. DET
      2. NYK
      3. PHI
      4. TOR
      5. CLE
      6. ATL
      7. CHA
      8. MIA
      9. HOU
      10. SAS
      11. MIN
      12. UTA
      13. GSW
      14. SAC

    • edbballin504

      May 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Is it possible something like this could be done:


      Okafor to ATL- ATL has been dying for a true center so they can put Hortford at the PF spot. If they make any move to shake up the team, you’d have to imagine that Josh Smith will be the guy who gets dealt.

      Josh Smith to CHA- CHA needs a building block to start the rebuilding process. Smith with Augustine is a decent start.

      Stephen Jackson, Najera to NOH- We get an All star caliber SG at a decent price, that can shoot, create his own shots, and defend. He also has size. Najera can be used as a energy guy off the bench.

      We then address starting Center in free agency (Oden, Jordan, Gasol, Dalembert, etc.).

      Just a thought…might not be ideal, but interested in your feedback.

      • 42

        May 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm


        I personally would like to surround Chris with a buttload of role players and a couple stars.

        I’d not trading Emeka for a ‘worse’ center and a backup 3. I want Chris to have a ton of toys. Let the matchups determine who plays, and let Chris make them better. Don’t concentrate our talent.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 5, 2011 at 12:47 pm

        I dont think Emeka would have been as exposed against OKC or Memphis, as he played well against both of those squads, and Perkins or Ibaka arent exactly offensive threats. This team played elite basketball before Emeka went down, and just because there is one team that poses a mismatch for him, you dont just throw him away IMO. If we got Dallas or SA in the first round, he would have been our 2nd or 3rd best player.

        As for the trade- neither Atlanta or New Orleans do it for multiple reasons and the Hornets would need to know they are getting a quality center back before they make that move. Oden will be in Portland, the Clips will match anything thrown at Jordan (same with Memphis and Gasol) and is a Dalembert/S Jax combo an upgrade over Okafor and whomever the Hornets get as a starting 2?

        I just think we should think long and hard before we think about moving Mek. Are we overreacting to one bad series that was a horrible matchup for him? Weren’t people calling him a top 2 Western Conference Center in late January/early Feb.?

        I would move Mek if I could guarantee myself either an upgrade at center or a major upgrade at SG, but not for anything less. As much as Bynum exposed him, I would still go to war with him against the Kendrick Perkins, Tyson Chandler’s, and Marc Gasol’s of the world. That won’t be as big of a mismatch as CP3 will create against the opposing teams PG. Meaning, that if we can negate the advantage of other teams at the swing positions, we can beat them.

      • edbballin504

        May 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        MM, I love Okafor. He works hard and while he’s limited on offense, he makes it up on smarts, hustle, defense, and rebounding. However, my issue is that contract. Is Okafor that good to warrant that type of cash for the next 3 years. Does that salary limit us in other positions, and if so, is Mek worth it? Thats the issue I have. Especially considering Mek is undersized. I feel we are doing the best with what we have, but he’s not the ideal center on the type of team we are building with the new management. While the disadvantage we have vs. LAL wont be as obvious against DAL, OKC, or MEM, I think its safe to say we are still at a DISadvantage in them all.

        I just feel CP3 running with 2 6’8″ wing players at SG and SF, both excellent defenders, and both on contracts under 9 mill per season is a better value than an overpayed undersized center and nothing on the wings worth talking about. It also gives us a better chance to win IMO. Just like we made it work with Mek at center, I think we can make it work with another center for way less money, and in the end still come out ahead because we can use the cap space to have more value across the board.

      • NOH Domination

        May 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

        If josh smith is being moved might as well bring him to New Orleans.. CP would have fun with him.

  12. Chuck

    May 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Biggest need: scorer at the wing to take the creating pressure off CP3 and West. I think West will come back next year. I say go for broke this year, instead of getting a few role players, try to get a name guy who can really contribute. I think West will be back next year, so that leaves us with Paul, Okafor, West, Jack, Pondexter, and Ariza. We need a decent 2 guard (I’m a big fan of Arron Afflalo, or maybe J-Rich) who can make 3s. Then re-sign Landry, then try to get a backup center. I like Gray in that role, but maybe if he’s priced out we can get someone comparable. That leaves a 9-man rotation of Paul, Afflalo (or someone similar), Ariza, West, Okafor, Jack, Pondexter, Landry, and Gray, with hopefully a better 2 guard signed to come off the bench. That shouldn’t bring us over the salary cap, and we could fill out the roster with minimum guys. We need to focus on doing as well as possible this year, because if we don’t Paul and West will probably leave and we’ll be stuck in a long, painful rebuilding process no matter who else is on the roster. Playoff rosters don’t go deeper than 8 or 9 anyway, I don’t know why we need to have a 12 deep team of mediocre players when we can have 7 good ones and decent-to-meh filling out the bench

  13. AgentZiko

    May 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    If the Lakers lose this series to the Mavs… I honestly think it bodes very badly for us.

    My assumption has been that TC will bolt Dallas because the team is soft and can’t win. But if the win…?

    If the Mavs go to the finals, which I think they would if they beat the Lakers, then you can bet your life TC will stay in Dallas, and you can bet that his buddy Tayshaun Prince will find a way to put on a Mavs uniform as well. Leaving the Hornets with 2 GREAT dreams dying miserably.

    So rather then get upset about it, I think we need to go about this in a different manner.

    Chris Paul wants to play with one more “Top 30” player. Realistically, trading for one is EXTREMELY difficult. And I don’t see Jason Richardson signing here. I mean… Why would he? We’re not giving him a $8-10 million contract, and you know what? Someone else will.

    What we need to do is find someone who can develop into the role. Someone with star potential who is in a current situation that limits them from being a star. Look at Wesley Mathews. The guy was a nobody 2 years ago, and now he’s the starting shooting guard, ahead of Brandon Roy for the Portland Trail Blazers. We need someone like that. Someone HUNGRY to GET THEIRS. And it HAS to be someone who is committed to playing BOTH sides of the ball, otherwise, we’ll have another Thornton effect.

    I’ve got three specific guys in mind right now that I believe would fill that role.

    1. James Harden. I don’t know how we could get him. But I feel like the guy is just dying to get away from Durant and Westbrook. I see those two constantly screaming at him to give up the ball as soon as he gets it. I think he has great defensive tenacity, and loves guarding guys like Kobe, and Wade, and can be a 17-20 ppg scorer in this league. Very much in the mold of Stephen Jackson. We get this guy, and he instantly turns our starting unit into one of the best in the league if West stays and is healthy.

    2. OJ Mayo. I’m not crazy about the guys personality. But I won’t deny that he can play. I think he’d be a really nice addition to our team because like Harden, he loves the challenge of facing big time opponents, and is dying for a starting role again. We all know he can score. But the big thing about him is that he is great at creating for teammates. He played a lot of point in college, and has at times done so for the Griz too. Again, I dont like the dudes attitude, but I wont deny that he has the potential to be one of the better SG’s in the league in the mold of Brandon Roy. Especially on a team like ours where his talents are so desperately needed.

    3. Martell Webster. I know you guys are like… WTF? But this dude reminds me of a young Michael Redd. His shot is absolutely money when he gets going, and he is a ball hawk on defense. When he played for Portland, Kobe complimented him multiple times on his hard nosed defense, and great shooting ability. This guy would space the hell out of the floor for CP. And he’s much more consistent the Marco is. His only problem? Staying healthy.

    A lot of people get on me for wanting to keep guys like Marco Belinelli, Willie Green, and Jason Smith. But it honestly doesn’t have to do as much with their play as it does with the fact that they are cheap to keep, and they already have a comfort zone with this team. Bringing in all new players starts us off where we left off… Starting all over again, waiting til the end of the year for everything to finally click. That’s why I think bringing Marco, Willie, and Jason back is important. It keeps fluidity into next season. But I don’t expect them to have the roles they did this season. I want to find players to fill out the roster that would allow those 3 to play more as 8-12 players, rather than 5-7 in the rotation.

    What I hope to see is:


    C. Okafor
    PF. West
    SF. Ariza
    SG. Harden/Mayo/Webster
    PG. Paul


    C. Gray
    PF. Landry/Baby Davis
    SF. Belinelli
    SG. Green
    PG. Jack

    C/F. Smith
    G/F. Pondextor

    As you can see, I didn’t demolish the roster. I just don’t see us being able to do that UNLESS we somehow coaxed Tyson Chandler into coming back. And again, unless the Lakers wake the hell up, it looks like TC will be a Mav for life now. Unless we want to gamble, we’re going to have to think on a smaller scale, and that smaller scale means improving from within, and keeping some fluidity into next season and banking on Landry staying, and getting a wing who’s going to fit the bill.

    • AgentZiko

      May 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      P.S. I’m SHOCKED Big Baby hasn’t gotten more love from all the LSU fans. He’s a free agent this summer. UNRESTRICTED. And I can’t think of anyone setting better screens for Chris Paul then him. LoL.

      He’d actually have a REASON to want to play in NOLA since it’s his hometown. Something a lot of other FA’s wont have.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm

        I think Big Baby will be on the short list of PF’s the Hornets will pursue if West or Landry does not return. I am more interested to see how the league views Big Baby and what kinds of offers he gets.

        Is he more sought after than guys like Landry or Chuck Hayes? How about AK47?

        Personally I would take Hayes or Landry over him if they all were the same price.

      • AgentZiko

        May 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm

        Oh no. I say West is first option, Landry second, then I’d say baby falls in line.

    • Chuck

      May 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      I’d love OJ Mayo because I think CP and Monty would keep him in check, and contrary to what a lot of people want to think, the guy does play defense so it wouldn’t be another Thornton situation.

      I’d rather have Landry than Baby if they’re the same price, but I think it’s moot because I’m sure Boston will keep him.

      I also don’t think J-Rich will command anything close to 8-10 mil/year, especially after submarining in Orlando. He’s 30 years old and lot of his game was based on athleticism and he just disappeared in the playoffs. I know that sounds bad, but I don’t think he’s as bad as he was the last few months so I’d say if we could get him for 4-5 mil/year we should go for it.

      Harden sounds like a gold mine, but the only way we could get him is by trading CP3 for him and Westbrook (blasphemy, I know). If the Perkins trade never happened maybe they’d be interested in Okafor, but now I think it’s just a pipe dream

      • edbballin504

        May 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm

        How about this question. Say Landry wants $7 mill per season, Baby wants $4 mill per and the both have us as #1. Who would you select and why? I honestly cant believe I am saying this but I think Baby is the way to go. Both are undersized, but Baby plays better D (hes a beast at drawing charges) and hes money with his jump shot off of pick and pops (like D West). The only downside is you can post him like you can with Landry. But with our offense and defensive system, I think Baby would be a nice pick. However with D West out until Dec possibly, it would mean Baby is our starter for some time and that’s what scares me. I have more faith in Landry as a part time starter. Thoughts?

      • edbballin504

        May 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

        *Downside is you CAN’T post Baby like you can Landry.

      • Mark

        May 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm

        OJ’s in that weird position where they’ll pay him but not play him. I’m not sure what’s going on with him.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      May 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      Ziko, Bravo! I had the same thought about Tyson. A reunion was possible but if the Mavs go to the Finals it’s over. He’s playing for a winner that will PAY him.

      • AgentZiko

        May 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

        Totally agree man. What we need is for the Lakers to wake up, and just destroy the Mavs defense. Tyson is HUGE on D. And if he sees the Mavs D falter and be soft, then I know he’s gonna wanna bolt. But if they go to the finals? Even if they lose, he’ll have more then enough reason to stay.

    • NOH Domination

      May 6, 2011 at 11:27 am

      OKC likes Harden too much, but obviously Mayo can be had. I mean he got traded for Josh McRoberts.. We can get him. Mayo is extremely talented and he’d flourish here. Also of note, Michael Redd is actually a free agent and the Bucks aren’t touching him. I know he’s broke, but he can’t want too much and you don’t need acl’s to stroke 3’s.. I wouldn’t mind that off the bench.

      • AgentZiko

        May 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        Yea. Feels like Mayo is the way to go. But a healthy Redd would be our dream I think.

  14. Mark

    May 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I know bottom barrel players aren’t exactly solutions, but if we’re talking about developing role players, maybe we can get Danny Green for cheap. He was pretty good in college, and maybe he needs some minutes (which, his position, we have minutes)

  15. paul

    May 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Keep this basic team.
    Just get a nother, well really our only, constant and dependable 3 shooter.
    WE simply have no chance inside if we do not have this threat outside. No damn way.
    You can win with Okafor IF we have the outside threat. But without this AND a big inside like Bynum, Okafor is a dead center walking.
    Nor knowing any thing about the shooting guards AgentZilko had, I can’t say I agree…ONLY that this is the #1 goal this summer.

    That and I would go out and get a BIG MAN coach.
    The Lakers have Kareem.
    Orlando has one.
    Gray needs to get this help.
    He needs to develop the hook and the short outside shot.
    The kid will be a killer bench center with these added tools.
    Tell the truth, I am not sure he doesn’t have a decent outside shot now. I only saw him take a few.

    But you can win with Okafor with a dead eye outside.

    • AgentZiko

      May 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      I agree. We need another SCORER on the wing.

      But on the “teacher” front. I would prefer for a guy like Alonzo Mourning to train Mek. He really reminds me a lot of Zo. Only that Zo was a lot tougher. They are the exact same build as well, so having Mourning work with him on moves that help smaller Centers I think would be a better fit.

  16. Eric

    May 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm


    You have stated many times in your podcast, that you think the elite teams don’t become elite overnight, and it takes time to build that chemistry and at some point, you have to continue to grow with the guys you already got. With that said, it looks like there will be a lot of change to the roster this offseason and that excuse of not having enough time to build that chemistry will be used once again.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      Well, if West picks up the option and Willie and Landry re-sign (all very likely), then all you are doing is adding a SG and a backup Center who might not even be a part of the regular rotation if West, Landy, and Mek split those 96 minutes.

      It is very likely that 7 of the 8 rotation guys return, with only Marco and the 9-13 guys getting replaced. That bodes well for continuity.

      But you are right, if they blow it up, then expect ups and downs again next year. That’s why I am telling people to really think about advocating for the trade of Emeka. Unlike NBA2K11, chemistry really matters a lot in real life.

      • paul

        May 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm

        Michael…why are so many advocating an Okafor trade without knowing what we’d be stuck with in the trade?
        This really stumps me.
        I can name a whole lot of sports franchises in many sports, mostly baseball ’cause that was my love, that lost all their heart when the front offices traded away players that were so much more than their stats.
        They turned out to be silent leaders on the bench and in locker rooms.
        These people cannot be spoken of enough, in my opinion.
        I think they are wotrth thier salaries JUST because of this strength they bring to a team.
        Hell, they are like player/coaches, in a way.

        And Okafor seems to be that way.


        I haven’t felt this emotionally attached to a team sine my Grace/Sandberg/Dawson/Dunston/Moreland/Maddux/Sutcliff/Dernier?mathews teams.
        Maybe not champions…but fans friendly and a pure joy to be a part of.
        I hope it doesn’t get really messed with.

      • NOH Domination

        May 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

        Are you joking? Chemistry can kill you in 2k11..

  17. mbdtf

    May 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Realistic percentage of the Hornets keeping CP3 while somehow landing D12?

    • 42

      May 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      My guess: 1%.

      Basis: Let’s assume he’s set on leaving Orlando. There are 29 team competing for him, giving a 3.5% random chance. We’ll work from here. Few teams will be able to sign him outright as a free agent to a max deal. My guess is we won’t be able to. That’ll knock us down, with many other teams, leaving a few teams to pick up all those 1%-3.5%’s that are shed. So now you have say a 2% shot.

      Then, assuming there is a soft cap, we’d have to do a sign-and-trade, shipping Emeka and parts out. LA, for instance, could trump us if they wished. Emeka’s deal won’t be as burdensome then as now, but other teams will have contracts that are more favorable for a team blowing up. It’s possible he could fit there, so I won’t take away both of our percents. So 1%.

      Back of the envelope, but that’s how I see it. Also, the CBA that ‘traps’ Chris (nobody traps Chris Paul!) here, may be the very thing that keeps anyone like him from joining him here.

      Teams with no one, but with somebodies, will be aiming at him. They will have assets and cap room. They will be 10-20 times more likely to land him. He will have to want to come here. Any argument based on want may equally apply to Mr. Howard as to Mr. Paul. The potential power vacuum in the West in the coming seasons may be something to make New Orleans more attractive than Orlando from a competition standpoint. Both are now tough divisions.

    • AgentZiko

      May 5, 2011 at 6:54 pm


      If CP were to come out THIS SUMMER and sign an extension while Howard DOESN’T… There is a serious chance Howard would want to come here or go to New Jersey. It literally be one or the other.

  18. Monty'sDoghouse

    May 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I think you guys need to change the site’s name to monty247.com

    If you disagree with the doctrine of Monty, you will be flamed.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      May 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Well anyways, why worry about resigning a guy like Gray if he won’t play ever?

    • 42

      May 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      Doghouse: Who’s flaming whom about what? In this thread or another?

  19. bigboy87

    May 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Trade David West, Okafor, first and second round pick for Dwight Howard

    • Kenny

      May 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      We don’t have a #1 pick. But, definitely trade Noakafor. The only 6’10” player that cannot finish under the basket. Addition of Howard and resigning of Thornton makes Hornets championship contenders.
      Though, it’s just a dream.

  20. blackmagic

    May 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    @Ziko I agree wit u Ziko those three players cud work great for us (Webster, Mayo, Harden). Personally i wud put OJ on top of the list. To me he is a kobe lite. A trade of Jack & David Anderson 1st rounder for OJ & Ismael Smith. Im not so high on bringing Landry back. Hes a good scorer but like said in the podcast he isnt a great rebounder and isnt a desirable defender. Also he hasnt shown much while playing with D west. I wud go after kmart. He wud bring wat TC brought wit the energy, hustle and toughness. A great defender and rebounder who wud mask Dwest weaknesses at the other end. I wud love to get D Jordan but i jus dont see LA letting him walk. Sam Dalembert wud be great as well but i see him going to an instant contender. At pg i wud go and sign a guy like TJ ford or Telfair

    PG: CP3 / TJ Ford / Ismael
    SG: OJ / Marco / Willie (maybe)
    SF: Ariza / Q / Ewing
    PF: DWest / Kmart / Ewing
    C: Oak / Gray / Mbenga

    • NOH Domination

      May 6, 2011 at 11:32 am

      You’re trading too much for Mayo.. Not that he isn’t worth that, but….. The grizz did trade him for josh mcroberts.

  21. nikkoewan

    May 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    i think Memphis wants nothing more than cap space or bigs. We can give them the 2nd round this year + TPE + Cash. Then they’d just resign battier and they’d roll out with Allen+Gay+Young+Battier… We’d roll out with Mayo+Ariza+Green+Pondexter.

  22. Eric

    May 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    So we want a shooting guard who can shoot and create and is not past his prime. To be honest, the best available guy in free agency that is available is jr smith. He had some maturity issues in the past and while he still has them, I believe he may have matured from the age of 18 to 25 to a tolerable level, similar to ron artest. It doesn’t get much more athletic than JR and Ariza. JR can be the shooting threat, and can get to the rim and create for others. His defense is actually pretty good when he is engaged. And his defense certainly isn’t worse than Belli’s. He is friends with Chris Paul which is a plus. And with leaders Paul and West on the team, they can make sure JR stays under control.

    • AgentZiko

      May 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      I like JR. But I think Denver’s gonna resign him. If they don’t, he’d be GREAT.

  23. Rocco

    May 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    You state Belinelli is most likely not to return next year. That may eventually be the case, however, he relatively cheap. And, he did shoot 41 percent from three’s and hit 130 of them (top 20 in the league in both stats). His defense was passable and contrary to common preception did not need to be a volume shooter to help the team. Hell, to the the contrary, he was probably on the shortest leash of any of the Hornets roster at season’s end. Yes, you could get a 2 guard who could probably exceed his production. But you’ll have to pay a hell of a lot more than 3 mil per to acquire somone like that. Still, I at first would probably agree with your assessment that he will not return, until I read quotes from Demps saying the team was very happy with Marco’s season, his willingness to take tough shots, and the belief that he’ll be a better player next year. It doesn’t sound like he’s being shown the door out of NOLA.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 6, 2011 at 6:09 am

      I heard him say that as well, but I also heard the guy praise Thornton several times right before the trade.

      Look, Marco could come back, but I actually think he can be had for less that the 3.3 million dollar tender. If the Hornets dont tender him and he becomes unrestricted, there will not be many other teams pursuing him, as I think he would be ranked as the 8th-12th best FA SG on most teams list. Therefore, I doubt anybody else goes after him as a starter. If and when Marco hits the free agent market, I do not expect him to get more than 1.5-2 million.

      Remember, the new CBA will likely reduce the contracts given out by 20-33%. Therefore paying Marco 3.3 million in the new market would be the equivalent of giving him 4-5 million in this market. Not worth it IMO>

      • AgentZiko

        May 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm

        Mike. I agree. 3.3, no way. Let him go unrestricted, and sign him for 1.5. He WILL take it. There are certain American player’s the European players love and respect more then others due to fundamentals. Two of those people are Kobe, and Chris Paul. I guarantee you, Marco will take 1.5 without hesitating to play with CP again.

  24. NO-CHI

    May 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Hey -dun dun de dun! We don’t need to sign a shooting guard because we already have him on the roster. Whether it’s Ariza or Pondexter simply depends on the matchups. Start Pondexter with Ariza. Thus we defintely cut Green or Marco from next year’s roster.

  25. Olmstead Iowa

    May 6, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Question; What happens to the hornets fan base in Chris Paul leaves in the future?

    • NO-CHI

      May 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      He isn’t leaving. Paul and the Hornets are both from North Carolina and were born in the 1980s. Think about it. That means the Hornets are team Paul grew up watching.

      • Olmstead Iowa

        May 9, 2011 at 9:43 am

        You must not have seen the same frustrated face on Chris Paul as i did in the LA series. The franchise needs to commit themselves to winning a championship if they want to keep him. And that means anoyther big name player.

      • 42

        May 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

        Olmstead, don’t mistake being upset because the season is over for, in this case, having made a huge financial and career decision. If Chris doesn’t sign an extension, he’ll lose several million dollars. For a guy that’s coming off an injury and just saw his long-time teammate go down with injury in the same contract position he’ll be in next year, that’s a big deal. Next year could be the last year for him if injury occurs. If guaranteed contracts go away, he can’t even bank on the contract he signs (see the NFL). And make no mistake about it: He’s as competitive as they come and wants to win a title, but little Chris is his concern. Little Chris care more about beans and franks than a trophy.

        I’m not saying Chris is going to stay here or leave. I’m saying the brass has bought some time, delivering, I’m sure, on the promises made. New Orleans, make no mistake about it, is in the trade space, and you can thank Larry Bird and the looming CBA for that.

  26. Chung

    May 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    If the Lakers are going to blow up their team after they lose, the Hornets might want to consider trading for one of their bigs.

    Landry sign and trade.
    Okafor and players/picks for gasol or bynum

    • NO-CHI

      May 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Look – if LA is going to blow up their team, Kobe Bryant will demand a trade this offseason 1st. (Remember when he kept pushing to go to Chicago several years ago.) But his salary won’t let him. He make 30 million in 2013/2014 unless he retires.

      No, no. The two guys that the Lakers would trade would be Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum.

      They make 24 million together next season.
      So if the Hornets can snag even one of them (preferably Odom)

      Assuming the Hornets pick up David Andersen’s 2.7 million team option, Marco Bellinelli and Jason Smith’s tenders that would be enough for Lamar Odom salary wise.

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