Dunk that Sh!t: First Edition

Published: May 19, 2011

Over the summer, we will solicit questions from those of you in the community to be answered in our new daily piece, Dunk that Sh!t. No power layups here, just straight, hard core answers and facts to all of your questions. To submit your questions, either hit us up via Twitter (@hornets247) or on Facebook. Or you can email Michael McNamara at mcnamarahornets247@yahoo.com. Now, on to the questions. Since this was 42’s brain child, I will honor him with the first question.

42 (from NASA): Mike, I was dreaming of muffulettas last night and woke up wondering: Is Belinelli worth his $3.4m qualifying offer to someone? How about Smith’s $3.1m? Andersen’s $2.7m team option? If so, should we sign them, then trade them away for a player or a pick? Or is that too risky before the new CBA?

Michael McNamara: You’ve got me thinking about the Hornets as a muffuletta now. Who is the olive salad of this team? The provolone? We all know CP3 would be the capicola because “Its ‘da best”, but does that make West the ham or the salami? I digress. Back to your question. Let’s start with the easiest one first, David Anderson. Anderson is obviously not worth 2.7 million dollars in this market, or any other conceivable one that we might see in the new CBA. The only reason the Hornets would pick up his option would be if they had a trade worked out with another team before June 30th and they needed his salary to make the trade work.

As for Smith and Belinelli, their situations are slightly different because the Hornets only have the ability to extend them qualifying offers. Those qualifying offers, in essence, make the player a restricted free agent, but would not allow the Hornets to trade those players until those offers are signed. So, if the Hornets do extend those offers, they must do so with knowledge that it is a very real possibility that neither of those players will get better offers on the market, and as a result, those players will be back on the team next year at those exact salaries.

To judge whether or not those players are worth those salaries, I would first rank those players in the upcoming free agent market and then look to free agent acquisitions in the past to determine what teams might be willing to offer. Belinelli will likely be the 7th or 8th best shooting guard available on the market, depending on whether guys like Shannon Brown and Mickael Pietrus opt-out of their current contracts. Last season, there were a couple of guys who were of similar age to Belinelli and were in that same range with regard to their free agent class: Anthony Morrow and Randy Foye. Randy Foye got a 2 year/8 million dollar deal with the Clippers, while Morrow got a 3 year/12 million dollar deal with the Nets.

So last year, the marketplace for somebody who has shown that they can be either a fringe starter or rotation reserve player at the shooting guard position was 4 million dollars. The new CBA would like to reduce player salaries by 15-20 percent, meaning that the estimated market value of one of these players in the new CBA would be 3.2-3.4 million. So, from that analysis, it looks like the Hornets can justify going either way with Belinelli. It might be to their advantage to start off the year with Belinelli as the starting shooting guard and wait until the trading deadline to make a move for a guy that they can get at a cheaper price than they can get now.

Think back to last year. The Charlotte Bobcats would have asked for a ton in return to move Gerald Wallace before the season started. They had just come off a season in which they made the playoffs for the first time and had high hopes. But by mid-February, they gave the guy away for pennies on the dollar. In my opinion, it is much more likely that the Hornets can get their impact shooting guard at some point during the season than they can prior to the season beginning. In the offseason, almost everybody is a buyer, and that drives prices up. During the season, there are fewer buyers and more sellers, so it is a better time to strike. In the meantime, maybe Belinelli develops and proves to be a long term piece or at the very least, increases his trade value.

As for Jason Smith, the numbers just do not support giving him the qualifying offer. He would likely rank 11th or 12th on the free agent power forward list and his skill set is limited in such a way that certain teams just could not use him. Last year, the Golden State Warriors signed Louis Amundson to a 2 year deal that was worth 2.2 million the first year, with a player option for 2.4 million in the second year. If Amundson and Smith both hit the open market together, Amundson would be more sought after. So, the numbers say that Smith is not worth the qualifying offer.

One last thing to consider is how the decision of David West plays into all of this. If he ops-in at 7.525 million, perhaps the Hornets realize that they will not have the cap space to compete in the free agent market and instead start looking for value through trades and smaller pickups. In that case, I could see them extending the qualifying offer to Belinelli with their sights set on acquiring a big piece down the line- be it at the trade deadline or next offseason.

But if West opts out and the Hornets find themselves in a position where they only have 42 million dollars in salary commitments, perhaps they explore some bigger moves. In that scenario, the Hornets would want to clear as much space as possible and that means not extended qualifying offers to anybody. The problem is that West is likely to wait until the last minute before declaring what he will do with regard to his option. But, if he doesn’t, and he lets management know early, or signs an extension, it might have an impact on what the Hornets do with regard to Belinelli.

I hope I sufficiently answered your question. Now, enjoy your muffuletta.

(To submit your questions, either hit us up via Twitter (@hornets247) or on Facebook (Hornets247). Or you can email Michael McNamara at: mcnamarahornets247@yahoo.com.)

Dunk That Sh!t is series exclusive to Hornets247.com. Click here to browse through the series.


  1. Hornet Seantonio

    May 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    You know who makes a killer muffuletta, Boscos on the northshore……

    • Hornet Seantonio

      May 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm

      I like this dunk that shit thing though, cuz they are questions mac and them dont essentially know the answers to but they do all the research for you. 🙂 I hope we dont sign belli with the hopes of shit going down mid season, hopefully we can just get what we need in the offseason and the sky opens up and rainbows and all that. Also if we lose smitty im gonna be a little upset, love that kids heart.

      Man i want a muff Ive said it many times and will continue to in the future: God has shown his eternal love for mankind in the form of Muffuletta.

      • QueenBee

        May 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

        I’ve been wanting a muffaletta for quite some time now. I usually get mine from Central Grocery. Oh goodness. I’m hungry now. 😕

  2. 42

    May 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    A dunk from half-court, the ball a detaching toes from a foot of a defender on its way to being buried 24 inches into the concrete under the floor . . . wriggling toes and all.

    Seantonio: We clearly need to grab some grub when you’re in town.

    Jake: We need to do Doors.

    Everyone else: Shout if you are game. Doors, Conference Final / NBA Final game, and idle chatter sounds good to me.

    • Hornet Seantonio

      May 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      I’ll hit you up in June we can grab some lunch while im learninz to be a lawyer

    • Holy Cow

      May 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      I’m up for a game at Doors, although, I would prefer to keep all of my toes.

      • 42

        May 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm

        Ha. The toe thing was more of a component of a metaphor describing how well That Sh!t was Dunked.

        There’s a game Saturday at 8. Pregame at doors beforehand with pizza, etc.

      • Holy Cow

        May 20, 2011 at 7:08 am

        This Saturday is not good. Perhaps a finals game?

      • 42

        May 20, 2011 at 7:33 am

        This Saturday is short notice… then there’s the holiday weekend.

        Firat conveniemt Finals game sounds like it’ll work.

  3. 504ever

    May 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    This article is great: factual, detailed, well researched, etc. Thanks!

  4. t_alexander

    May 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve searched through the free agent candidates, and the guys I’m most enamored with and want to see on this team are listed below by position:

    Center: Greg Oden or DeAndre Jordan
    Power Forward: Kenyon Martin (if we can’t resign D West and/or Carl Landry)
    Small Forward: Sam Young, Thaddeus Young, Tayshaun Prince, Al Thornton, Caron Butler
    Shooting Guard: Jamal Crawford, Wilson Chandler, JR Smith, Shannon Brown, Marcus Thornton, Michael Redd

    Out of those, my top 3 potential, feasible acquisitions would be 1) DeAndre Jordan 2) Wilson Chandler; 3)Either JR Smith or Shannon Brown

    What do you guys think are the odds that we could pull off a signing of at least 2 or 3 of those 4 guys?

    • Michael McNamara

      May 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      Some of it depends on whether or not D West opts-in, is brought back, extended, etc.

      I think the Hornets take care of their in house first, or at least try to. Although I personally disagree, if all things are equal and the Hornets can get Kenyon and Landry for the same price, I think they go with Landry. If Landry and/or West leave, though, then I think they seek out cheaper alternatives (think Reggie Evans).

      As for SG, I think JR and Shannon are two very possible gets for the Hornets given their current salary cap situation. Wilson Chandler will be tough. I think Denver matches any reasonable offer on him and Afflalo, if for nothing else, to trade them down the line.

      In my opinion, DeAndre Jordan is a pipe dream, as the Clippers would overspend to keep him. And even if they won’t, other teams will throw more money at him than we can.

      As I say in this piece, almost everybody is a buyer in the offseason. You usually get better value at the trade deadline or after all the dust settles in the free agent market. Once teams spend big on their shiny new cars, they are happy to give away their old ones at bargain basement prices.

  5. paul

    May 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm


    I am not so sure about your remarks concerning Andersen.
    Is he not worth anything because of his ability, or just because the Hornets can’t use him, didn’t use him or both?
    I see in Andersen a possibility.
    Because i saw him do well quiet a few times this year with the Hornets. I saw him do better a whole lot more than I saw him do poorly…
    I saw him yanked many, many times right after hitting a hot streak and making shots. This was a bad bad bad habit of Monty this year and not so sure it should end up being the player’s cross to bear.

    Pehaps, a BIG perhaps, Andersen has quality as an outside threat, at least in my opinion the data is not conclusive.

    • 42

      May 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      He seems to have a different, if not better, range than Smith, though he lacks Jason’s energy.

      This energy perception could be an artifact of his unfamiliarity with the offense and automatic slotting of him behind Smith.

      We can look at them in abstract isolation, compare them one another, bounce them against needs . . . but hopefully what we can do is say “We have Carl and Carl is better”, then look at situation at Center if Gray opts out (we’ll know by the stroke of midnight, June, 30th if he has in fact turned into the Great Pumpkin).

      Besides, who’s to say he’s not worth the min or a little more just as a 5th big that’s familiar with they system? I’d think Monty would go with Smith just based on energy (see Willie), but we’ll see.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

        He is not a bad player, it is just that if the Hornets want him back, they can get him for less than 2.7 million. Aaron Gray (in 09-10) arguably showed more than Anderson did this past season and there was no market for him. He came back here for just a little over 1 million. Heck, Erick Dampier only got the minimum this year. Not that he is great, but you get the point.

        If the Hornets played chicken with these guys and let them all go, I think they can get them all back for a total of 5 million or so. I just don’t see a market for any of these guys when there are going to be so many other options available.

    • paul

      May 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Not sure what happened with Gray last summer.
      I am not sure why he resigned as quickly as he did…but was happy he did.
      The question that bugged me afterwards was how much I kept seeing on the NBA sights is how much need many, many teams had at the center position.
      Miami, Seattle…the list was large (and still is now).
      So was there an interest in Gray?
      I thought he had kind of a Hornets tie and they could have released him but did not.
      IF they had, he might have been gone last spring.
      I guess what I am saying is I am not so sure of Grays being in demand last season and if he could have gone elsewhereif allowed.

      • 42

        May 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm

        paul: let me paraphrase to make sure I am following you. Gray resign here last year, and not much has changed… So why should he opt out? You are saying the market is relatively unchanged, so he shouldn’t be in higher demand.

        He had a good playoff game then got hurt. Last year he had a great Orlando game.

        I’d say he’s re-improved with the weight loss etc., and maybe that will increase his value.

        Having a house and parents on the North side of Houston, maybe we are on a short list of ‘local team’ he prioritizes.

      • paul

        May 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm

        Didn’t indend this to be about Gray…not at all.
        Was just referring to Michael’s comment about Gray not finding a market other than NOH last year.
        I am not really sure this is accurate.
        He did sign, but not sure the reasoning or actual reasonings behind the deal.
        I am certainly glad he did, or I would not have found many of the new friends I have.
        But as to his NOT having a market…who says so?
        I thought the Hornets had the first take on him…
        So they took it.y commenting how he expected Gray to be a part of the team when he agreed to be the coach, along with others.

        But to say he wasn’t courted by other teams seems like quess work. I think it was actually other teams did express interest, but Gray opted for the team that showed faith in him and gave him the chance to play.

        Now, 42…as a final note, I also think Gray was pissed the way Monty used him throughout the first half of the season.
        This will now play a big role in how Gray feels about his NOH offer and returning.
        His options are certainly higher this off season…but last off season, although his options were not as pretty as they are now, he “might” have had a better situation Michael knows about.

        Wow…a long way to say just a simple thought!
        I need another drink!
        I remember Mont

  6. HornetsJunkie

    May 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I think Hornets should just resign Landry and move David West. We need to use that money to bring Tyson Chan back and up grade the 2 guard position. I like D West but that was a major injury that had late in the season. He is already 30. We need length and scoring.

  7. Blattman

    May 20, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I think that Alexis Ajinca deserves strong consideration for a spot in this team. The guy still has a huge upside : he’s 23, 7-2 with a 7-9 wingspan(!!!!) and he could play well the pick-and-pop.
    He’s still pretty raw but Monty Williams likes euro-guy and has history of developing French prospect, so why not ?

    And what about Sean Williams who made a pretty season in D-league ? He is another low-expectation-high-reward prospect because I think that both of them would sign for the veteran minimum.

    • Parisien

      May 20, 2011 at 5:27 am

      Well i’m french and i know ajinca’s game pretty well. And he just sucks. He never should have leave france until 2013 at least. He’s way too raw and he really doesn’t seem to be interested into hard practice… Really not a big fan of Ajinça.

  8. Stingers

    May 20, 2011 at 2:43 am

    lets try to trade David West + hornets player/s to Kevin Love and Beasley .. what you think

    • Hornet Seantonio

      May 20, 2011 at 10:06 am

      Commandment number 11 “thou shallt never turn thy back on the diddles”

      Dwest till the grave

    • 42

      May 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      I love David West and I had the same thought.

      I also had the same thought as Seantonio.


      Injuries suck.

  9. MichaelCRL

    May 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Question: Would we risk becoming Cleveland next year and let CP3 hit free agency without signing an extension? Or does everyone see Demps going the Denver route to simply trade for what we can get to avoid another “Decision.” (provided CP3 won’t give a clear indication)?

    • Hordan

      May 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      For me, it depends. I think if the season turns sour and there is no way we make it deep in the playoffs, we have no choice but to trade CP at the deadline. I wouldn’t trade for the same peices as Denver asked for, though. I pursue a team with stockpiled draft picks and young talent (like the Bobcats).

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