The Hornets offseason Idea- Ballin on a budget!

Published: June 24, 2011

Now that the dust has settled from the NBA draft, one can look at the Hornets roster and begin to envision how they are going to mold the roster and what avenues they can plausibly take. The first(and most important) thing to view is the salary situation and players under contract. To begin, the team has $42 million in guaranteed money wrapped up in 5 players as of right now. 2 of them are backups, and 1 theoretically should be a backup in Trevor Ariza. 

Chris Paul/Jarrett Jack
blank/Jarrett jack
Trevor Ariza/Quincy Pondexter

Filling in the blanks on this roster with so many holes and so little wiggle room is gonna be a tough sell. To begin, one has to expect that Jason Smith and Belli will not be extended their qualifying offers. Not because theres no chance for them to return, but essentially (Belli in particular) They can become UFA and get signed for cheaper. I would much rather see 2 years at 1.5 or 2 million for Marco since hes a reserve player, and paying him over 3 million next year is simply too much. Gray and West have player options, both of which I assume are going to be exercises thus making them free agents. I think that D-X at this point in his career would like to try his luck an another team, and the best I could hope is a sign and trade with a team. I know hes from New Jersey and the new owner loves throwing money around, so it wouldn’t kill me to see a s&t involving Brandon Morrow, as the hornets desperately need a knock down shooter, and with the Nets just trading for Marshawn Brooks in the draft he seems expendable.

Now that we have some of the sad news knocked out, lets think positive. Pretend that a s&t occurred that landed Morrow, he is still a backup sg at best. The hornets NEED a myriad of things, but a tough minded defender who is still evolving on the offensive end and coming into his own would be a welcome site. Queue Arran Afflalo. He fits everything needed in that position, only thing is he is a RFA and that means probably having to every spend to acquire his talent. Lets make this an even number and say 4 years, 8 million per. That is 12 millino dollars wrapped up in the sg position (not including Jack) for mediocre to above average play. Thats the problem with a small market, ya gotta overpay. Theoretically there is now 3 positions down, with the most important ones left.

Carl Landry filled David Wests shoes admirably post injury last season, but once again he’s a commodity. He could probably be retained for that 5 million per range if lucky, once again probably would have to be a 4 year contract to entice him. He is a sixth man type of player, but unfortunately with limited options I think that he would have to start. Kris Humphries is a name that comes to mind for a decent backup, as he brings some much needed rebounding to the table. If the Hornets can talk him into a 2 year 2 million per contract I’d be ecstatic. I really wanted Kenneth Faried from this years draft to address this need, but i digress. And plus, you’d have to love seeing Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush sitting courtside next to each other, the tension could be cut with a butter knife.

Center is the final piece, and probably the biggest hole the Hornets have. I really wish that Okafor could learn his ass a jumpshot so that we could shift his undersized ass to PF, but he looks akward enough in the paint after an entire life of playing basketball, it’d take another lifetime to get him hitting a 15 footer consistently. I think that the best case scenario here is to trade for a young center that has fallen short of his teams expectations, and Robin Lopez’s name fits nicely here. Not a game changer, but has some upside and might play well with Chris Paul given his decent athleticism and ability to flash to the rim for easy buckets. 


Chris Paul/J Jack/D-leaguer
Arran Afflalo/Brandon Morrow/Q-Pon
Trevor Ariza/Q-pon
Carl Landry/Kris Humphries/Robin Lopez
Emeka Ofakor/Robin Lopez/Insert random cannon fodder here

When looking at this team, I feel like they improved in some areas, and regressed massively in others. Fact is, losing David West who is a legit knock down shooter and solid 2nd option on offense would really kill this team in the late moments of a tight game where trading buckets is an absolute necessity. I would say they are probably about as good as last season, and depending on the seeding they could be a tough first or second round out. Hmm, gotta admit dedicating all this time to a write up and realizing how flawed this team is burns a little. Still, based on my salary guesses it would put the team just slightly over the $62 million proposed mark in the new CBA (roughly 64 million), and at least the team could still remain competitive at a reasonable price, with some young pieces that may grow into something down the line. 


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