The Key Question for Dell Demps, and All of Us, This Summer

Published: May 12, 2011

There are lots of easy ways to deviate for from reality when “playing Hornet’s GM” and concocting “fantasy trades” this summer:


–        ignore the cap or player salaries,


–        trade an existing Hornets player in a deal the other team won’t ever make,


–        only roster 13 or 14 players, or


–        fill out the roster with unnamed players at the  league minimum salary.  



I don’t see any of these things happening for a variety of reasons.  So I challenge you to play “Hornet’s GM” without any of these tricks.  When you do, your opportunities for upgrading the Hornets roster boil down to one crucial question which I have listed in bold at the end.  But first here are the facts and assumptions.


The Hornets have five players returning whose salaries total $42.2M and average $8.45M/player for 2011-12. 


Paul             $16.4M

Okafor         $12.5M

Ariza            $  6.9M

Jack             $  5.2M

Pondexter     $  1.2M



These players’ salaries are all reasonable for their performance.  Okafor’s salary is the most out of line, but assume not enough to get traded.  So the Hornet’s won’t trade any players.


Assuming a 15 player roster and a 2011-12 hardcap/tax line of $70M; that averages to $4.67M/player/team.  So the ten players on the rest of the Hornet’s roster must average $2.78M/player.


Assume DWest’s signs for $7.5M and Landry, who the Hornet’s brass strongly say they want to resign, at say $5.3M in 2011-12, that mean salaries total $55M and average $7.86M/player.


West            $  7.5M

Landry          $  5.3M

Paul             $16.4M

Okafor         $12.5M

Ariza            $  6.9M

Jack             $  5.2M

Pondexter     $  1.2  




That means the remaining eight players’ salaries must average $1.9M/player.  So for everyone playing at around $3M, you need a player playing at slightly below $1M in 2011-12 to “balance” his salary out.


Assume Mbenga, Ewing, Jr, and the 45rd overall pick play for a combined $2.5M in 2011-12.  (You can assume others, but I think these three are most likely.  Either way, the Hornets have to have three players playing for a total of $2.5M)


Mbenga        $  1.0M

Ewing, Jr      $   0.75M

45rd  Pick     $   0.75M

West            $  7.5M

Landry          $  4.3M

Paul             $16.4M

Okafor          $12.5M

Ariza            $  6.9M

Jack             $  5.2M

Pondexter     $  1.2M



Now the remaining five players’ salaries can average $2.7M.  I say Belinelli and Gray are to too valuable not to sign at around $3M each.  To make the math easy, let’s put Belinelli in at his qualifying offer $3.4 and Gray in at $2.6.


Belinelli        $   3.4M

Gray            $   2.6M

Mbenga        $  1.0M

Ewing, Jr      $   0.75M

45rd  Pick     $  0.75M

West            $  7.5M

Landry          $  4.3M

Paul             $16.4M

Okafor         $12.5M

Ariza            $  6.9M

Jack             $  5.2M

Pondexter     $  1.2M




At this point this is what the Hornet’s depth chart looks like this:


PG:  Paul, Jack


SG:  Belinelli, Jack


SF:  Ariza, Pondexter, Ewing Jr.,


PF:  Landry, (West)


C:  Okafor, Gray, Mbenga


??:  45rd  Pick  [Can he really contribute anyway?] 



Smith and Green have the most tenuous roster spots, but the Hornets need players at their positions.  So let’s assume the Hornets can and do sign Smith and Green for an average of $2.0M each.


Smith          $   2.0M

Green          $   2.0M

Belinelli        $   3.4M

Gray            $   2.6M

Mbenga        $  1.0M

Ewing, Jr      $   0.75M

45rd  Pick     $  0.75M

West            $  7.5M

Landry          $  4.3M

Paul             $16.4M

Okafor         $12.5M

Ariza            $  6.9M

Jack             $  5.2M

Pondexter     $  1.2M



So you have about $3.5M left for player number 15.  Or, if you sign someone cheaper instead of Smith or Green, you have closer to $5M.  It’s your one shot to sign a free agent or obtain a player for a trade exemption.  Who is it, what do you pay them, how do you get them, and why do you get them?


  1. jmbell

    May 12, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Finally, a realistic trade scenario. I’d like Chandler, but not sure if we would have enough money to get him even with the $5 mil. Also, I’d like to say marcus thornton/JR smith/JJ reddick, but I doubt they play enough D for monte to be very interested. Maybe Dalembert, FA, around $3-4 mil. I think we could resign gray for $1-2 mil possibly, which would allow a few extra dollars for a shooting guard.

    This free agency should have plenty of guards, but not many quality centers. Marc gasol and samuel dalembert are the best that come to mind.(Marc gasol will probably get $8-10 mil atleast from whoever offers him.) I think joel prizbilla will also be a FA, we could get him for $2-3 mil. Why him or dalembert? Mainly D and rebounding/length for bigger teams.

    As far as guard/forward, maybe someone like keith bogans or maurice evans(I think they’re both FA’s) for league minimum-$1.5 mil, mainly defense and a few 3 pointers.

  2. whodat504

    May 13, 2011 at 9:57 am

    @504 ill take that 3.5 mil and then ill add 3 mil (avg of belli and green salaries cuz im not sure which dell will keep) then ill add 1.5 because I don’t think gray will get close to 2.6. That leaves us with 8 million. Thats enough for a quality 2 like jr AND pryzbilla or bogans. Or with 8 mil we could make a push for gasol or dalembert and in that case we would find a cheaper version of jason Smith for 1 mil saving us another mil giving us 9. Then we could sign a vet min sg.
    @jmbell dalembert will cost at least $8-10 mill cuz he is a starting quality 5 and those don’t come cheap.

    • jmbell

      May 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      Ha yeah, looking back that was a stretch. but gasols bound to cost a few million more because he’s younger with a lot of potential and he’s already a quality center.

  3. popmusic

    May 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Trade Okafor, Smith, Belinelli, and Green freeing up 20 mil. to buy some consistant scoring . Next year we can’t have the big streaks of losing and winning. We need stablity to progress towards a championship. Buy a SUPERSTAR!!!!!

  4. Jamaul Ford

    May 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I say you don’t resign grey and green, choose Landry or west……. thats about 10 million off top right there. You attempt to sign nene or dalembert, then you have collateral to get someone like jamal crawford(10 mil) if you sign dalembert(6 mil) or a wilson chandler(4mil) if you sign nene(12mil) plus you can sign anybody to do green’s job like roger mason(1.4mil) or something you can get anybody like: shanon brown (2.5mil) affallo (2.0mil) delonte west(1.1mil) thadeus young(1.1mil) deandre jordan (1mil). comon people we have options

  5. 504ever

    May 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Maybe you can resign Gray, Smith, and Green (or similar players) for a total of around $3M cheaper. You are still in the around $5.5M range to spend on one or more free agents. Go crazy and make it $6.5M available because you get Belinelli (or similar player) cheaper. So what do you do with it? The Hornet’s most pressing need is to upgrade the starting SG position, which is probably the weakest position in the 2011 free agent class. Below is a list of free agent SGs. (I didn’t pick the order.) Who do you go after and why? If none, who do you trade for and how? Again, my point is isn’t not so easy improving the Hornets, with their cap issues, or any other NBA team for that matter.

    (name, team – 2010-11 salary – status)

    Ray Allen, Boston Celtics – $10.0 million – Player Option ($10.0 million)
    Jason Richardson, Orlando Magic – $14.4 million – Unrestricted
    Jamal Crawford, Atlanta Hawks – $10.1 million – Unrestricted
    Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets – $2.0 million – Restricted ($2.9 million Qualifying Offer)
    Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets – $2.1 million – Restricted ($3.1 million Qualifying Offer)
    Shannon Brown, L.A. Lakers – $2.1 million – Player Option ($2.4 million)
    C.J. Miles, Utah Jazz – $3.7 million – Team Option ($3.7 million)
    J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets – $6.0 million – Unrestricted
    DeShawn Stevenson, Dallas Mavericks – $4.2 million – Unrestricted
    Mike Dunleavy, Indiana Pacers – $10.6 million – Unrestricted
    Chris Douglas-Roberts, Milwaukee Bucks – $0.9 million – Unrestricted*
    Nick Young, Washington Wizards – $2.6 million – Restricted ($3.7 million Qualifying Offer)
    Sonny Weems, Toronto Raptors – $0.9 million – Unrestricted*
    Mo Evans, Washington Wizards – $2.5 million – Unrestricted
    Daequan Cook, Oklahoma City Thunder – $2.2 million – Restricted ($3.1 million Qualifying Offer)
    Anthony Parker, Cleveland Cavaliers – $2.9 million – Unrestricted
    Eddie House, Miami HEAT – $1.4 million – Player Option ($1.4 million)
    Marquis Daniels, Boston Celtics – $2.5 million – Unrestricted
    Marcus Thornton, Sacramento Kings – $0.8 million – Unrestricted*
    Roger Mason, New York Knicks – $1.4 million – Unrestricted
    Marco Belinelli, New Orleans Hornets – $2.4 million – Restricted ($3.4 million Qualifying Offer)
    Gary Forbes, Denver Nuggets – $0.5 million – Unrestricted*
    Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks – $18.3 million – Unrestricted
    Delonte West, Boston Celtics – $1.1 million – Unrestricted
    Stephen Graham, New Jersey Nets – $1.0 million – Team Option ($1.1 million)
    Dominic McGuire, Charlotte Bobcats – $0.9 million – Unrestricted
    Alonzo Gee, Washington Wizards – $0.6 million – Unrestricted*
    Jeremy Lin, Golden State Warriors – $0.5 million – Team Option ($0.8 million)
    Von Wafer, Boston Celtics – $0.9 million – Unrestricted

    • 42

      May 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      It’s also not so easy to say that X can be had for less unless that person is clearly on the way out (Peja; he knows any deal he gets won’t ve for $15m).

      • 504ever

        May 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm

        I agree, and you are making my point for me.

        I am not sure anyone beside JMBELL posted a response using the parameters of my journal piece. I even expanded them in the post above (and you righfully question the expanded terms) and I listed all of the free agent SGs. And still I see no responses that fit the article’s parameters.

        Instead I read responses like trade Okafor for players that no team would actually send us. Or sign quality player X to a contract at half of his actual market value.

        Does anyone out there really realize how hard it is to be an NBA GM? The Hornet’s GM? If you do then try a post that fits this journal article’s parameters.

      • 42

        May 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

        504: I read your article and shut my damned mouth because I can’t answer it and I can’t pick on your requirements/logic in any meaningful way. You should read this as high praise if it’s not clear.

        In the forums, I had 1 idea. 1. And it wasn’t a trade. I said sign Telfair. He’s a free agent. Make Jarrett the starting 2. Wille and Telfair can play backups. Focus on signing a big.

        This, I think, doesn’t fit your criteria. I mention it more as an example of the difficulty of the problem posed, by you and reality.

      • 504ever

        May 16, 2011 at 6:07 am

        Thanks, 42. I really appreciate it coming from you.

        I was just trying to open the fans’ eyes about how hard it is to make an NBA team, even the Hornets, better. (And I think this also shows what a great job managment did in their first year dumping salary and improving the bench.)

        We will see if any other fans gets it.

      • jmbell

        May 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        Ah, my mistake.
        Any thoughts on how Dell might use the exceptions?

      • 42

        May 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm

        I just me we can sign folks while over the cap to an extent. The midlevel is quite a bucket of ducats, if the will is there, and it exists.

        I have no plan. I’m just empowering you guys.

    • jmbell

      May 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      I agree, being a GM isn’t as easy as it seems. You can’t just trade player X for player Y and hope its legal. matching salaries is difficult enough, then you also have to think “would the other team actually take this trade?”. That’s why I think its easier for a GM to work with a horrible team like the 07 sonics(thunder) because its nearly impossible to build a championship team out of a mediocre team with large contracts, despite the borderline playoff team technically being closer to a championship than the lottery team.

      It takes a lot of creativity and knowledge to be a successful GM.

      • jmbell

        May 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

        Also I think it should be noted that just because a team doesn’t resign players X,Y, and Z, that the team can’t use those salaries combined to pay another player. You can only sign a player for as much as those other player would have been payed IF that amount is under the salary cap.

        Just because the Hornets didn’t resign so-and-so for 5 mil., they can’t sign another player for 5 mil. if the hornets are still over the cap.

      • 42

        May 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm

        I think we have the biannual and midlevel exceptions, and the vet min exception.

        Assuming such things exist in the next CBA.

        Who knows what will and won’t be allowed during the transition to a hard cap . . . meaning no disintegrations . . . I mean, no exceptions . . . sometimes the Vader just busts out of me . . .

        Have I said how joyous reading what smart people write is to me?

        Please, everyone, keep it up.

    • jmbell

      May 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Sarcasm 42? Ha.And yes, I’m sure Dell will put the exceptions to good use.

      • 42

        May 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

        In a rare event: no.

  6. Brandon Nevil

    May 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I’d say to trade Okafor, Ariza, (and try sign and trade bellinelli and gray) for monta ellis and andirs beidrins. Also, sign wilson chandler and at least try to sign greg oden. We wpuld not have enoguh money to keep carl landry. Sign a power foward to play while West is in recovery. Thhat leaves
    Monta Ellis/Willie green/45 pick
    Wilson Chandler/quincy pondexter/45 pick/Patrick Ewing
    David West/Troy Murphyor Yi Jinlian/Patrick Ewing
    Greg Oden/ Andris Biendrins/Murphy or Jinlian.

  7. NO-CHI

    May 16, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Look, don’t take Belinelli’s tender offer, and don’t resign Green or Smith

    What does that leave us?

    3.5 + 3.4 + 2+2 = 10.9 million roughly.

    That means we have 10.9 million for roughly two players.

    We spend about 7/8 million on Marcus Thornton with a Kirk Hinrich Contract. (A contract where the primary money is made AT THE BEGINNING of the contract, not the end.) Then the remaining money we spent on a 6’11-7 footer, such as Hilton Armstrong to deliver good, hard fouls and catch alley-oops.

    (I’ve always felt that the only guy that the Hornets drafted that Byron Scott EVER used properly was Chris Paul. (and possibly Collision) As in Scott messed up with Armstrong and Wright. (I can’t really count Marcus.) )

    When the Hornets traded away Chandler, I thought that the Hornets were going to try and replace Chandler with Armstrong. (Because the assistant coaches that worked with Chandler and his offensive game were still there.)

    The Hornets needed to adopt a Utah-like system. For example: the Hornets need to bring Pondexter along to be the same type of player as Ariza. (If possible).

    They’ve already brought in Portland’s toughness, San Antonio’s morality. (Without Robert Horry or Bruce Bowen), Los Angeles’ heart (when they were the champs.) Implement Utah’s system of bringing players up now.

    • 42

      May 16, 2011 at 8:38 am

      What do you think about Gray? Will he opt out? Will we have to replace him and get another few bucks to spend.

      • NO-CHI

        May 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm

        I don’t think Gray will opt out, because most teams still classify him in the same boat as DJ Mbenga and Sean Marks. (Even though he’s not.) 6’10 and Taller Centers that will be a semi-decent backup and give your team some effort and maybe 4-6 bench points. (Instead that what the Hornets need in 08-09, and it came in the form of Sean Marks? )

        Oh yeah, instead of Hilton maybe bring back Marks instead?

    • 504ever

      May 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      $7/8M a year on Marcus???!!! (Same as DWest???!!!) WHAT!!!

      Hilton Armstrong gets the rest, $3/4M a year???!!! WHAT!!! You can sign him for (much) less than $1M a year.

      And you still need one more SG, since you cut two, and you have no backup PF as long as DWest is out injured.

      • NO-CHI

        May 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

        1. I’m already going by the fact that Carl Landry is being resigned like in the post.
        2. Hilton Armstrong doesn’t get 3/4 million he gets like 1/2. (You know because it might take more to resign one of the guys already mentioned)
        3. Didn’t you read the fact that I would structure Marcus Thornton’s contract a la Kirk Hinrich. (Most of the money Marcus would make would come AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CONTRACT!)

        In addressing your PF and SG concerns, my response is this.

        Shooting Guards:
        Marcus Thornton
        Quincy Pondexter (When West gets back, or certain combinations come about)
        Off-guard in Paul-Jack Combination

        Small Forward:

        Power Forward:
        Armstrong (?)


        1. Pondexter is the other SG. (move effective: when West gets back) And what about that Paul-Jack backcourt? I’m pretty sure Jack and Paul both played off-guard. That takes sure of shooting guard.

        2. The Small Forward behind Ariza, we could employ Landry and EVEN West. (Luol Deng, Paul Pierce anybody?)

        3. The Power-Forward slot – covered

        4. THE 45th PICK IN THIS YEAR’s DRAFT, use it on a SG, Swingman, SF, Cornerman, PF, or F/C.

        5. Ewing Jr.

        6. Don’t you think that David West is only taking this extension because he’s injured?
        (For people who don’t know who Kirk Hinrich is, he *WAS* half of the Chicago Bulls (other half: Ben Gordon) (before D-Rose , and while Luol Deng was injured) His contract was structured in a way where most of the money he made CAME AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS CONTRACT!)

        7. Structure Armstrong’s the same way. So that if he plays exactly the same way he did under Byron Scott, our payroll is less affected.

      • NO-CHI

        June 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

        Marcus deserves 7/8 million a year during his highest paying year. His offense is as good as West, maybe even better because he can shoot the 3.

  8. 504ever

    May 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I have an idea. Denver’s roster stands at 14 with four centers. They have $8.5M in salary in 2011-12 in back-up centers and their starting center Nene’ is a 2011 free agent. Denver also has all three of their SG as 2011 free agents. They need to lose a body and a salary at back up center, and probably need to add talent at the SF position by signing only one of Chandler and Afflalo to put that money toward a SF.

    What if Denver will give the Hornet’s their choice of Chandler or Afflalo if the Hornets take Chris Andersen’s contract: $4.2-$4.8/year for 3 years? (Andersen could probably swing to PF in some Hornet line-ups.)

    That would add a gross of $7M/year to the Hornet’s salary cap, assuming a qualifying offer priced sign and trade for either SG you choose. You don’t resign Mbenga ($1M) because you have Gray and Andersen as back-ups, and you ‘cut’ Green ($2M) to make room for the Denver SG. This is a net addition of $4M/year in 2011-12 on a 14 player Hornet roster, so you have an NBA minimum, or close to it, player to pay and add. This is very close (maybe off $1M) to being in the budget of the article.

    If a net gain of $4M/year is too great, do you ‘cut’ Smith now with DWest injured? Suck up the $4M/year knowing you can make a small trade to fix it in 2011-12 after DWest starts playing again?

    What if Denver will throw in $1M in cash which I believe will solve the Hornets’ cap issues in 2011-12?

    Do you have to have 1st round draft pick from Denver to allow you to ‘cut’ Green and draft a cheaper replacement? Could you do it with a 2nd round pick near the Hornet’s current second round pick, and solve your 15th player problem?

    What if you could guarantee Denver adding its 1st round pick (# 20 overall) to the deal if you let Denver chose from Chandler and Afflalo?

  9. NO-CHI

    May 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

    One more important Thing: IF THE HORNETS SIGN SOMEBODY MAKE SURE THAT MOST OF THE MONEY GIVEN IS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CONTRACT AND NOT THE END! (That’s what most teams make a mistake on. It negates the James Posey, Morris Peterson, Antonio Daniels, Peja Stojakovic contracts. (Think about it. Posey was good his 1st year here. AND THAT SEASON SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE 1 WHERE HE MADE MOST OF HIS MONEY!)

  10. NO-CHI

    May 17, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Oh yeah. Marcus gets the remaining money. Hands down. If choosing just ONE guy.

    -There really needs to be contracts where the amount of money doesn’t just go start at x during Year 1 and then JUST GO UP! (that doesn’t work most of the time.)

  11. 504ever

    May 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    The benefit to the Hornets would be they don’t have to compete for Chandler/Afflalo on the open market with ‘don’t care about the tax line’ teams and they get a quality back up center who is a different type of player than Okafor or Gray. For Denver they aren’t stuck with amnestying Andersen’s contract and eating the $13.5M over three years, and they get cap space to use on other players at positions other than C and SG.

  12. Hordan

    May 19, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I believe there is a 0% chance of Marcus comking back. He will never fit in with a system like the Hornets/Bulls/Celtics, but will fit in with something like the Knicks/Kings/Clippers/Warriors and maybe even the Thunder. I think he will be stuck on a below average team getting his stats inflated because they run and gun and play little to no defense. That’s just my personal stance on the Thorton situation.

    • NO-CHI

      May 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      You never know, the Hornets were in need of offense against the Lakers, and look at it this way, just like West and Paul: this is the closest team to the place where they grew up. (West and Paul grew up in NC while the Hornets were in NC @ roughly the same time.)

      Before he was traded for Landry, I thought that if the Hornets met the Lakers in the playoffs (which they did), Monty would use Marcus to guard Kobe Bryant, with the idea of how Detroit used to do against Jordan, PLUS using the fact that Marcus can match Kobe Bryant’s offensive production. So that’s how Marcus would fit. It’s the same way Ben Gordon was used in Chicago.

  13. tyler

    May 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    The people that i would love to have on the team is wilson Chandler, Afflalo, nene, d12, crawford, and thorton

  14. Brazilian Hornet

    May 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

    The Okafor’s wage is a rape to the Hornets’ coffers. That’s a lot of money for someone who can not attack a basket and that was our weak link in the playoffs. A bad business, Mr. Jeff Bower… Especially if we see what Tyson Chandler is doing today. The Hornets need to get rid of Okafor’s contract. I think this should be the priority.

    • NO-CHI

      May 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      Okafor’s contract may be bad, but remember he was the franchise player in Charlotte. He was the number two pick. And also, Okafor couldn’t attack the basket in the playoffs because he had Carl Landry as the other big. Okafor attacked the basket just fine when paired with Jason Smith or Aaron Gray in the playoffs. David West is consistent from the mid-range jumper, (unlike Landry.) Another reason we acquired Okafor is because his health is substantially better than Tyson’s.

      Maybe Okafor should work on his jumpers from the free-throw line, and become a Brad Miller type player, with skilled passing and outside shooting.

      That or David West and Trevor Ariza need to work on their 3-Pointers, and adopt an Orlando Magic-like offense, with Okafor and shooters.

      If Okafor could shoot from 3, he could be a 20 point threat just like EVERY OTHER REGULAR STARTER on the Hornets.

  15. 504ever

    June 21, 2011 at 12:59 am

    It’s looking like West will not be back for $7.5M in 2011-12. Assume he is back and he costs between $1.5M and $2.5M more a year. So Dell D’s money to sign player #15, under my assumptions, goes down from $3.5M-$5.0M to $1.0M-$3.5M. That’s not much money to shop around with at the free agent store!

    If West isn’t back, where do you get a near All-Star at the PF position and, most importantly, for how much money?

    • NO-CHI

      June 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      If West isn’t back, it means more money to offer Tyson Chandler. Chandler’s a free-agent and one of the guys Chris Paul wants to play with. (He’s also friends with Pargo. [We know Pargo would have been signed by New Orleans if Pargo was healthy, {but we wouldn’t have had Jarrett Jack either, so} ] ) It also means more money to keep Carl Landry.

      Chandler is the starting PF, and should have been on the All-Star team this year. He has championship experience. If we can’t get Chandler, offer some money to the 6’10 Peja and have HIM be our starting PF (a la Rashard Lewis) Peja is another guy who has been in All-Star nominations, and he’s played with Chris Paul before.

      If we can’t get either of those guys, we can always try for Sean Marks as our backup Center. (with DJ Mbenga as 3rd string [I liked his performance as a 3rd string during the Lakers Series (against Gasol) as well as HIS KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE LAKERS]). Then we move Okafor to PF and Gray becomes our starting center. Marks can play both PF and C.

      For proof that that would work, see that overtime in Utah last season with a front-court of Ariza-Okafor-Gray combo. Some of the rest of our money is then spent on Marcus Thornton and Carl Landry.

      Thus the offense of David West is replaced by Marcus Thornton/Tyson Chandler/Marco Bellinelli (because Peja opened up Marco in the early going of last season)

      Marcus Thornton is going to be an All-Star.

      Worse case scenario. We just get Sean Marks and Jannero Pargo in exchange for Marcus Banks and David Andersen. And then re-sign everybody else for the same amount of money with Landry getting MOST OF the money that would have gone to West. We keep two friends of Paul on the team (Pargo replacing West) and we actually deepen our depth everywhere.

      (Though by no means would I ever trade David West for Sean Marks, this would be worse-case scenario [barring injuries to players] with our savvy GM. [I would trade Marcus Banks for Jannero Pargo in a heartbeat.]

      So what we want to do if West opts out and leaves is:

      Let go of Marcus Banks, David Andersen, Jason Smith.

      Tyson Chandler (most of the money is made at the BEGINNING OF THE CONTRACT)
      Jannero Pargo – (veteran’s minimum)
      Sean Marks – (Veteran’s minimum)
      Marcus Thornton (value of contract goes up as years go by)

      If Landry leaves as well:

      Sign Peja (veteran’s minimum)

      So no West or Landry best case scenario depth chart

      Paul Pargo
      Thornton Marco/Jack/Green
      Ariza Pondexter/Peja
      Chandler Peja/Marks
      Okafor Gray Marks Mbenga

    • 504ever

      June 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      So West and Gray have opted out, as West is comfortable where he is in his rehab.

      I have Gray signing for $3M in the 2011-12 year of his contract. I still feel good about that.

      West will now get more than $7.5M assuming the Hornets resign him. But the Hornets have about $1.25M-$1.5M more to work with having sold the 45th pick for $750K and not having to pay the 45th pick $500K-$750K. That alone won’t be enough cover the gap between $7.5M and what the Hornets will eventually be assumed to sign West for to play in 2011-12, but it will be close.

      My point is the selling of the 45th pick comes close enough to covering the additional amount West will cost the team, because this is only a rough guess about cap implications, that the basic premise of the article is still good: the Hornets have less than $5M to spend on a “new” free agent. So there will be no crazy Hornet free agent signing, beyond players on the 2010-11 Hornets roster.

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