How Marcus Thornton Becomes a New Orleans Hornet Again

Update- Apparently what I said about Paul and Thornton not liking each other is flat out wrong. I heard it, and after I ran it through my head a dozen times last night I convinced myself that it made perfect sense. The reality is that it isn’t true, the two actually are actually pretty decent friends, and that the reason Thornton was dealt was because he just didn’t fit into the system well. The Hornets remain extremely unlikely to acquire Marcus Thornton, and any speculation that they will in fact make an effort to acquire him will likely prove to be wrong.

So this article is pretty worthless in regard to the Thornton speculation. I’ll keep it up for the CP3 trade talk, which is still relevant, and to inspire myself to be better in the future.

It’s coming out that the Golden State Warriors are actually not willing to pull the deal on a Curry-Paul deal without a guarantee that Chris Paul will re-sign with them. In order to get that guarantee, they will continue to try and sign Tyson Chandler before dealing with the Hornets. It’s well known that Paul wants to play with Tyson again, and would presumably be open to re-signing if Tyson was on board.  Supposedly they will offer Ellis instead of Curry even if CP3 is just possibly a rental.

Ellis isn’t a building block for a franchise on the rebound, so that leaves the Hornets with the Clippers deal right now. Unfortunately, they now refuse to include Eric Gordon unless Paul agrees to re-sign with them. The deal could still include DeAndre Jordan, a restricted free agent who will likely be overpaid, but he’s not quite as nice a piece as Gordon, and presumably Demps isn’t as interested in him.

So where does that leave the Hornets? Confused. First off, of course Chris Paul will re-sign with the Clippers. I don’t buy that they won’t give up Gordon as part of a deal if the rest of it is right. Even if they actually won’t give him up, who really cares? He’s a still-not-that-great shooting guard who is certain to wind up getting a Luol Deng like contract. Personally I’m not high enough on the guy to pay something like that for him at any point, and I really would only want him in a deal if it meant that I could ship him elsewhere for something better suited for the future.

Even if CP3 says no guarantees to the Clippers (which actually makes it easier for the team that trades for him to remain good), the Clippers would presumably jump on a Kaman, Bledsoe, Aminu, Minn 2012, and one of their future firsts for CP3. A third team can find it’s way into the mix as a destination for Okafor, and if they give back an expiring big man for the Hornets to use for a season up front, it can be assumed the Hornet would get another pick from that also. Plus the Hornets will presumably sign and trade David West to a contender if it were to bring them back some picks/assets with or without an expiring deal.

This is the deal we are going to focus on for the remainder of this post, since it (or a slight variation of it) is presumably on the table for Demps to ponder.

What all that does is leave the Hornets with a roster that consists of two hopefully expiring contracts up top, roughly four picks in the 2012 first round (two of them likely high lottery picks), a few extra future picks, a few veterans to show everyone the way (Ariza and Jack), a few young guys who could be very nice role players one day (Aminu, Bledsoe and Q-Pon), some fan-favorite back of the rotation hustle guys (Patrick Ewing Junior, Brian Butch), and a GIANT GAPING HOLE ON OFFENSE/IN THE LSU DEPARTMENT

Did you think I just forgot what the title was?

Enter Marcus Thornton.

Until two days ago, I was writing off the Thornton rumors as trivial. Of course his name would come up, and of course everyone will say the Hornets are interested, since that’s what agents say in these situations. Sources: Everyone is interested in everyone.

But the more and more I thought about it, the more it makes perfect sense. First off, you have a team (the Hornets) which desperately needs to extend the PR roll they have been on lately to basketball court if they want to escape their longtime place as NBA doormats. Problem is, they have to trade their star, and it doesn’t appear that anyone they get back in return will really excite fans that aren’t already “in”.

Marcus Thornton does that for you, and he does it on a level that nobody else the Hornets can realistically get in free agency will be able to do. There were freaking grandma’s coming up to Monty Williams in the street and giving him crap about not playing Thornton enough last year. OK? Grandmas in the street. No exaggeration.

Thornton is a very popular fellow due to his time at LSU and especially the moments of brilliance he put up in his year plus with the Hornets. He’s a guy who can drop 50 on any given night, posterize half the other team, and be humble and easily approachable after. There’s a reason why Hornets fans love him, and it’s no surprise that they overwhelmingly seem to want him back.

But Joe, you say, clearly you heard that Thornton was a problem in the locker room and on the court to some extent last year. That was one of the biggest reasons he was dealt. He didn’t fit into Monty’s system… or something.

I started digging a while ago about what really happened in that locker room to make the Hornets trade such a promising local talent that the fans loved like their own child. I mean, it seemed crazy at the time, especially since the team had for so long been without a quality shooting guard.

Let me tell you what I have concluded from talking with people who are lose to Marcus.

  1. The problems that existed in that locker room as they related to Marcus Thornton were largely in part because of an ongoing conflict between Chris Paul and Thornton. They don’t seem to like each other on or off the court.
  2. Any rumors that Monty was unhappy with Thornton likely stemmed from the obvious need and desire for Dell Demps and Monty Williams to please Chris Paul. If you’re trying to hold onto a superstar as a first time head coach/GM, you have to have his back in the locker room.

Doesn’t that just make sense? Anyone who has met Thornton can tell you right away that he’s not going to be a problem causer in the NBA locker room or anywhere else for that matter.

The benefits to bringing Thornton back are truly immense from an off-court perspective. They acquire a bona fide star (to locals at least) to replace Paul’s effect on attendance numbers. The guy actually wants to be here more than anywhere else, so immediately you have someone for the fans to associate as the face of the franchise. Additionally, all those fans that they pissed off when trading Thornton the first time probably won’t hold it against the team anymore.

Oh, and he’s an extremely talented scorer on a team that appears on paper like it will struggle to score. But you already knew that. Don’t worry about overpaying him, either, since the Hornets will have tons of cap space that they literally will have to use to get to the minimum. You can front load the contract so that in a few years it’s more friendly to our Salary Cap number.

Will it happen? That’s unlikely, but it makes a lot more sense than it did yesterday.

37 responses to “How Marcus Thornton Becomes a New Orleans Hornet Again”

  1. Yeah, same thoughts here except on the ceiling of Bledsoe and Aminu.
    They may never be all-star but if you let them play enough and learn from their mistakes, Aminu could be a Josh Smith-type of player and Bledsoe could be some point guard a la Billups.

  2. okay….loved Thornton but let’s stop praising him like he was more of a game changer than Cp3 or as good as a SG as Kobe. He was good but…gotta let that go PLEASE

    • The guy put up numbers coming off the bench and once he got to Sac town and inserted as the starter those numbers increased greatly. This guy and the injury to David West was the difference between us getting out of the first round of the playoffs and possibly making a strong run to the conf. finals.

      • What I’m saying is, people get too hung up on numbers. People were saying how Collison put up the same numbers that CP3 did but where were the wins?

      • Would you have liked starting Jason Smith against LA rather than having Landry? I sure hope your answer is no

  3. @Joe- Dont even get me started on why the hornets need marcus thorton. It was an awful idea to trade him last year. make up for it and go get this guy that can average 20 point a game for the season.

    would be happy to trade cp3 for thorton straight up…. ok ok maybe not that drastic but getting my boy marcus back would be an incredible move.

    Also, why are the hornets not trying to pull off signing tyson chandler?

      • Hmmm I havent thought about that much but I do not think the kings are in good enough standing financially. they are more worried about keeping the team in sacramento when the owners really want to move to Anaheim. I cant see paul wanting to sign an extension due to the lack of talent around him minus demarus cousins. I’d rather take demarcus and tyreke and give paul and oakafor, and then sign MT5 in free agency since its unlikely sacramento will keep him after they just drafted the exact same type of player in jimmer fredette. Imagine the starting 5


        Looks pretty good to me. then wed have cap space for glen davis or humphries to add depth in the big man spot, jack back up pg, belly, and whoever else but this would be decent for now and even better for the future

        but likely not happening

    • First of all yeah UR right WE definitely needed MT5 last year, and we probably need him this year,but in Reality check mode MT5 nor T.C. would want to come back here after everything them and Hornets put each other thru I don’t think so!!! but I am a man who can admit when he’s wrong and If the Hornets get MT5 and T.C. I will admit to everybody my fact is fiction!!

  4. If Chris Paul had a problem with Thornton, then I’m assuming there IS/WAS a problem with Thornton. Like not working on defense.

    • Of course there was never a problem with Thornton. He was perfect in every way. 😉 I, for one, enjoyed watching him and would like to have him as a Hornet. I don’t play that ‘he does no wrong because he’s a native product’ stuff though.

      I just remembered when the Hornets played the Kings and CP3 was telling another Hornet about Thornton something like “you know he’s not passing it!”

  5. I remember that game in Portland when I think Thornton got his first start with CP3 and they played so well together. I thought we’d be seeing that for quite sometime. Sigh. Oh well. Heck, when we drafted CP3 I thought he and J.R. Smith would be a great 1,2 punch as well. Sigh.

  6. Question for those in the know. Does the new CBA have any restrictions regarding when college players can go pro? This seems relevant, because if the Hornets do acquire some lottery picks for 2012, then we need it to be possible for guys like UK frosh Anthony Davis to turn pro.

    • The ‘one and done’ is a b list issue and will have been talked about. Any answer I get will be in the news tomorrow.

      The ‘two and through’ was being studied but may be implemented after this draft since teams have already been scouting.

  7. uhm, ok…
    I’m just gonna ignore all these speculative articles from now on, they’re a waste of time. Once there’s a press release out let me know.

  8. Does anyone know if Demps has tried trading for Dwight? I’m pretty sure that would make CP stick around. I’ve been running it through my head all day, why doesn’t CP call and tell Howard to demand a trade to NoLa? In return we would trade Orlando; Okafor, Pondexter and some future picks while taking back Turkoglus contract (amnesty him obviously). This seems unreasonable? yes it does that’s why there will be a third team involved. We then sign and trade Dwest to the Pacers along with Bellinelli and the Pacers ship Granger to the Magic. We then re-sign Landry, sign Crawford and some other FAs and we have a monster team. Yes this will never happen but I could actually see this working if it ever got brought up.

    • our team would have a better chance at maken the Playoff w/ CP3 and Big Oak, then w/ an underated PG, an Overated SG, and an Injury prone past his time PLayer. If you really want to trade CP3 and Big Oak. I would trade them for Steph Curry, and ME8 or D.W., Steph Curry and their current 1st Round DP.CP3 and Big Oak are the Highest Paid Players on our team, so we can then sign for the rest of our player and have loads of cash. We can sign starters like MT5(SG), possibility David West (if he wants to come back after we deal CP3 away) if not we get Carl Landry. After that we decide rather or not if we want to trade or sign for our Center. if trade then go after Roy Hibbert or Javale McGee offer up M.Belinelli w/ our not GSW future or current 1st round draft Pick. if thru sign then D.Jordan so now we have a team w/ (opt). they are so many paths to take but I only want to go this route if the Hornets decide to trade CP3 and I’m hoping Big Oak and his BIG contract goes w/ him if CP3 wants to get traded of course!! ether way it goes we have “OPTIONS”

      starters Situation
      PG: Steph Curry Definitely get (DEF)
      SG: MT5 (OPT) or Monti Ellis
      SF: Dorell Wright (Opt) or Trevor ariza
      PF: Carl Landry (opt) or David West
      C: DeAndre Jordan (Opt) or Javale McGee or Roy Hibbert

  9. Thanks Joe for a great article. Now let’s wait and see how long it take before there’s a moratorium on using Marcus Thorntons name again. Great writing Joe.

  10. ONe More Day! One More Day! One More Day! One More Day! One More Day! c’mon people chant w/me one more day til Free Agency market opens!!!!

  11. Totally agree with premise of this article, Marcus is a steal @ 4 yrs for 20 mil compared to what’s on market, plus he just makes us happy and isn’t that what it’s all about in the first place?

    Totally love the idea of bombing his twitter to let him know how much he’s loved and wanted here!

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