Nice thread forming about this column on TigerDroppings: http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/p/31857291/A-Response-to-Chris-Bernuccas-Hornets-Article-on-SheridanHoopscom.aspx
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A Response to Chris Bernucca’s Hornets Article on SheridanHoops.com
Hornets247’s Mason Ginsberg and At the Hive’s Will Hibert team up to formulate a rebuttal to yesterday’s column on SheridanHoops.com (entitled “Stern & NBA have made a mess of Hornets”) which addresses the current state of the New Orleans Hornets. This letter can also be found on AtTheHive.com.
We appreciate your interest in our issues with Mr. Bernucca’s article on David Stern and the Hornets. Below you will find the specific problems we have with his article and the reasoning behind our concerns. We hope you and Mr. Bernucca will find the information useful in future discussions involving the Hornets. We will quote Mr. Bernucca’s article in italics.
“When it comes to running franchises, David Stern is doing a great impersonation of Ted Stepien. Stepien owned the Cleveland Cavaliers in the early 1980s and spent most of his time firing coaches, overpaying mediocre players and trading away so many draft picks that the NBA instituted the “Ted Stepien Rule,” which now prevents teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years.”
Has David Stern done any of those things? Where is the comparison? Since the NBA took ownership of the Hornets, zero coaches have been fired, zero players have been overpaid for a long-term deal and the only draft pick that was traded was a second round pick for Xavier Henry, a former lottery pick with only half of a season of NBA experience. How are the two situations similar in any way?
“It vetoed a trade of superstar Chris Paul that would have netted four rotation players and a first-round pick while making the Hornets a legitimate playoff contender. Then it approved a second trade of Paul that landed empty assets – highlighted by an unsigned Eric Gordon – that could mire the Hornets in mediocrity for years to come.”
If by legitimate playoff contender, you mean “habitual first round playoff exits”, then sure. The Lakers/Rockets trade was basically just a way to delay the inevitable. The Hornets very well could have fought for a playoff spot for the next 3-5 years with a Martin-Scola-Odom lineup. More importantly, however, they would have also likely been stuck in the 6-11 seed range. With so many pricey veteran contracts and no top-10 draft picks, it would be incredibly difficult to substantially improve the team with core players all on the wrong side of 30 after just one season. That sounds to us to be the definition of a move that would “mire the Hornets in mediocrity,” as opposed to a 23 year old budding star, a 21 year old unproven lottery pick, and a large expiring contract. Those are components of a rebuilding project on the court, not on balance sheets.
Furthermore, to call the return in the Clippers’ trade “empty assets” is absurd. Does the trade look less inspiring now than the day it was completed? Sure; the Minnesota 1st round pick is looking like it will be closer to 15th than 5th, Aminu has struggled, Gordon has been hurt, and Kaman hasn’t been dealt yet. However, judging this deal based on two months of basketball is nonsensical. This move was about the future of this franchise, as all rebuilding moves are. The true results of this trade will not be determined for years to come. Stamping it as a failure based on half a season of injury-plagued basketball misses the point.
“The Hornets are at the bottom of the league in both performance and attendance as they continue to ask a dispassionate fan base to be patient. At the same time, they have been somewhat less than forthcoming about the state of their team and players.”
The Hornets are at the bottom of the league in neither. They’re 27th in attendance per game and 19th in terms of percentage of the arena filled; besides, the team’s attendance historically is better toward the end of the year. Per Joe Gerrity, writer at Hornets247.com and operator of the the Hornets’ most popular forum (HornetsReport.com), fans are impressively optimistic about the team, given the circumstances. What is the evidence that the team’s fan base is dispassionate? Accusing a fan base of lacking passion has nothing to do with the size of the fan base and everything to do with how dedicated those fans are, and we therefore urge you to reconsider that accusation. The Hornets sold more tickets during the lockout than any other team in the league. We question the branding of the fan base as “dispassionate” when a team in one of the smallest markets in the NBA sold more tickets than any other team, at a time when there was significant doubt as to whether or not an NBA season would even take place.
“Had the first deal been approved, the Hornets would have landed four proven players in Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom and Goran Dragic, plus a first-round pick from Houston.”
Again, for what benefit? A decent team for now that would ultimately regress to poor in 2-3 years, with no positive future in sight thanks to more mediocre draft picks? The best – not to mention second youngest – player in the rumored deal is the 29 year old Kevin Martin. Martin is a great player, but not someone you build a team around as Sacramento and Houston have already discovered. Also, at 29, he is not helpful for a team that is going through a rebuilding phase, taking up valuable minutes and cap space for a team that should be developing young talent. The Lakers trade would have sentenced the Hornets to three years as a perpetual 6-10 seed, the worst kind of NBA purgatory. The Hornets would be too bad to seriously challenge the upper echelon of the Western Conference, and too good to obtain any meaningful talent through the draft. New Orleans is not a go-to destination for free agents, and has had to overpay to lure veterans time and time again. This is not the way to build a successful franchise.
“But what may be attractive on paper forces you to look away when it is on full display. Instead of being in position to seriously contend for a playoff spot, the Hornets are by far the worst team in the Western Conference and headed for 50-plus losses in a 66-game season.”
Why should the Hornets’ main focus be to “seriously contend for a playoff spot?” If contending for a playoff spot was synonymous with contending for a championship, that would be one thing, but in the NBA, that is clearly not the case. Instead, the Hornets chose to acquire an overall younger package which would be worse now, with the chance to be much better later. So, even if the Hornets became “by far the worst team in the western conference” in the short term (which it absolutely would not be if not for the many injuries that the team has suffered), it was a move made with a long-term vision, not a short-sighted one that may have preferred the vetoed deal. The only way to truly rebuild in the NBA, outside of a few fortunate franchises, is to be very bad. Put simply, the Clippers trade allowed the Hornets to be a bad basketball team this year, as well as supplied a legitimate future building block in Eric Gordon. We understand why Dell Demps and Monty Williams may have wanted a more competitive team on the court this year, what with a new owner to impress, but a ground-up rebuild was the right move.
“This was the starting lineup for the Hornets in Monday’s rare win over the Jazz: Trevor Ariza, Gustavo Ayon, Kaman, Marco Belinelli and Greivis Vasquez. Off the bench were Aminu, Xavier Henry, Lance Thomas and Donald Sloan. This could have been their lineup: Ariza, Scola, Ayon, Martin and Dragic, with Odom, Belinelli and Vasquez off the bench. As a fan, GM or prospective buyer, which lineup would you rather see on the court?”
Again, that is a short-term outlook. Neither team is contending for a title, and isn’t that the ultimate goal? Instead, the question should be “Which team can contend for a title first?”, a question that cannot be answered by merely looking at potential starting lineups concocted at a time when the Hornets are missing arguably 4 of their 5 best players.
“Stern has said that a local individual or group would come forward by mid-season. That’s next week, folks. Sperling was at practice Monday and twice referenced a “new owner” to local media but had no specifics. Meanwhile, there is a collective plea to a dispassionate, disenfranchised fan base to remain patient while being disingenuous on several fronts.”
Instead of twisting quotes from Stern and Sperling to support a thesis, might we suggest doing some simple research into the team’s ownership search? There is plenty of news coming out of New Orleans concerning the leading candidates to purchase the team, including New Orleans Saints’ owner Tom Benson, former minority owner Gary Chouest, and former player/coach/GM Mike Dunleavy Sr. Among various Hornets staff members, it almost seems to be a foregone conclusion that the team will be in the hands of a new, locally-oriented owner well before this season’s trade deadline in March, and possibly even by the end of this month. We realize that this information was first reported by Hornets247 and that not everyone frequents team blogs, but just one day before Mr. Bernucca’s article was published, the very same information was reported by the Times-Picayune, the only major newspaper in New Orleans. The article mentions “confidentiality agreements regarding sales discussions” signed by all interested parties and the Hornets, which sounds like a quite plausible explanation for the lack of “specifics” about which Mr. Bernucca was concerned. Commissioner Stern and the Hornets are legally bound to refrain from mentioning any of the involved parties.
“And if you want your fan base to remain patient, it might be a good idea to not mislead them. Kaman was acquired because of his attractive cap slot, but the Hornets gave him a forced vacation for six games while it explored trade possibilities. Finding nothing overwhelming appealing, they returned the big man to active duty. What exactly was the purpose of that? Were the Hornets looking to trade Kaman for players who could provide immediate help, which the first Paul trade would have done? Or were they looking to deal him for another expiring contract, which we like to call ‘trading sideways’?”
What about option C, an obvious one that Mr Bernucca almost certainly avoids mentioning in order to support his main point? The Hornets were likely looking to move him for either a young asset or a draft pick, didn’t get an offer that they were happy with, and so they pulled him back. Hornets’ General Manager Dell Demps is no fool; he knows that time is on his side. Michael McNamara, another writer for Hornets247.com, explained this point magnificently in a post earlier this week. By waiting to trade Kaman, the team accomplishes three main goals. First, he can be traded in combination with more Hornets players due to new CBA rules. Second, if the Hornets were to receive a trade exception in exchange, it would be much more valuable as its expiration date wouldn’t likely occur until after next season’s trade deadline. Finally, he makes the obvious point that teams get more desperate as the trade deadline nears, inherently making Kaman more valuable. What’s wrong with testing the market early when they know they can pull him back and try again later? Bringing Kaman back into the fold gives the Hornets a greater degree of leverage in future negotiations, after they were likely low-balled by potential suitors who knew that the Hornets were determined to trade Kaman while he was shelved.
“The handling of Gordon has been even worse. One of the NBA’s best young shooting guards, he was clearly the centerpiece of the return package for Paul and the foundation of the team’s rebuilding plans. He could have been signed to a contract extension that would have shown fans that the plan is under way. Instead, GM Dell Demps – with input from the NBA, of course – refused to give him a maximum four-year, $62 million deal. If you really want the guy, you don’t nickel-and-dime him – unless, of course, you know more about his knee injury than you have told your fans. Gordon has been limited to just two games this season due to what was originally said to be a bone bruise but ultimately required surgery.”
“The Hornets already have refused to max him out once; it is not outside the realm of possibility that they could pass on him again should he receive a huge offer from the Mavericks or his hometown Pacers. Or he could sign a qualifying offer, spend one more season in the NBA’s self-made purgatory and be free as a bird come 2013.”
What businessman of even marginal intelligence would decide to pay $60 million for a given asset today when he or she could wait 6 months and pay anywhere between $50-$60 million for that same asset? Doing so is basically what is being suggested here. Could the Hornets end up giving Gordon max money? Sure, but why not see what the rest of the NBA thinks he’s worth when he becomes a RFA? While we’re on the subject, what would be the point of lying about Gordon’s injury? Knowing that the market will in all likelihood be setting his value after the season, what do the Hornets have to gain by playing down the problem with his knee? If the team knew it was serious, wouldn’t they go public with that info knowing that doing so would likely drive down his asking price as a restricted free agent? Based on precedent alone, the odds of Gordon taking the qualifying offer to become unrestricted in the 2013-14 season are incredibly slim. He knows that he’ll get offered a lucrative long-term deal by someone, and you can be sure that the Hornets will match it. They aren’t going to let the best player on their team walk for nothing. Year after year, prominent NBA scribes rake teams over the coals for not allowing the market to dictate the price of retaining their own players, yet Mr. Bernucca believes the right move was to immediately offer a max contract to a player who has suited up for two games this year.
“So to sum up, here is what the Hornets now have to offer a prospective buyer, thanks to the smartest guys in the room:”
- “A truly awful team in a city that has a history of difficulty in supporting it.”
I believe we have already addressed the benefits of spending a season or two as a cellar-dweller as opposed to first round fodder, as well as the degree to which the city has supported the team up until this point.
- “Aminu, the eighth overall pick who has shown next to nothing compared to other recent No. 8 picks Brandon Knight, Rudy Gay and even Channing Frye. He is better than Joe Alexander, though.”
It is interesting that Mr. Bernucca chose to mention the three most successful 8th overall picks in the last 10 years and failed to cite such perennial All-stars as Rafael Araújo, Jordan Hill, and Brandan Wright. We can cherry-pick as well. In all seriousness, Aminu is still a very raw player who has proven to not be a consistent contributor on the NBA level. He is also 21 years old, freakishly athletic, and possesses a prototypical body for a NBA small forward. We believe the Hornets would not be the only team in the league willing to take a chance on his development.
- “Gordon, whose next game probably will be in late October 2012, possibly will not be with the Hornets, who have some serious damage control to do with their prized possession.”
A review of what exactly restricted free agency is could be in order here. It made almost no sense for either party to sign an extension for Eric Gordon by the deadline. Gordon and his handlers are well aware that at least one team this offseason will offer him a max or near-max deal, hence there is no reason for him to sign with the Hornets for a discount. The Hornets, on the other hand, should not rush to give Gordon everything he desires, when they can simply wait a few months and let the market decide what he is worth. The risk of such a move is practically nil. A player with Gordon’s injury history and also set to sign his first big NBA deal is not going to turn down a guaranteed contract on the restricted free agent market. His alternative would be to take the qualifying offer and play for just north of five million dollars on a one year deal because of some perceived slight due to the Hornets making a smart business move. Also, no matter who comes along and no matter what their offer to Gordon is, the Hornets have the right to match it. As we said before, there is almost no risk, and the Hornets are avoiding doing what many teams painfully do: bid against themselves to retain their own players.
- “Kaman, whose cap slot of $14 million almost certainly will have to be spread among multiple players or used to overpay a middling player. No established star in his right mind would want to be part of a team whose purse strings are in the firm grip of the folks at Olympic Tower with a massive rebuilding plan on tap.”
As the new owner is expected to be announced before the season ends, we doubt NBA ownership will have much impact on potential free agent decisions. Also, it still remains extremely likely that Chris Kaman will be traded before the trade deadline for an additional pick, young talent, or both. Though Mr. Bernucca was puzzled with the decision to bring Kaman back to the team, his recent play has surely boosted his trade value among playoff teams, and the thought of receiving a late first round pick for him is not a whimsical one.
- “Minnesota’s unprotected first-round pick, which isn’t going to be anywhere near the top of the draft and could actually end up being worse than Houston’s pick. Even if the Timberwolves were as bad as the Hornets, a duo from the collection of teenagers Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes would still beg a tremendous amount of patience.”
First of all, the pick in the rumored NOH-HOU-LAL trade was the New York Knicks’ first round pick, not Houston’s. Despite the improvement of the Timberwolves this year, we sincerely doubt that their pick will end up being worse than that of the Knicks, who play in the extremely top-heavy Eastern Conference. Secondly, the fact that the Hornets immediately went into rebuilding mode the minute this trade was executed seems to escape Mr. Bernucca. There is not a player on the Rockets, Lakers, or Hornets that we would not trade straight up for some combination of Anthony Davis and any of the names mentioned above. This team does not need or want a 30 something All-Star; it needs young talent, even if that talent will not have an immediate impact.
We understand the difficulties of writing about a team that is yet to be featured on a national broadcast and is rarely mentioned by the mainstream media. That being said, we hope that Mr. Bernucca or anyone who writes for your site in the future will ask any of the writers of At The Hive or Hornets247 for any details they are having trouble with, or for any insight we may be able to provide about the Hornets. We would be happy to help, as we enjoy seeing the Hornets featured on outlets that cover the entire league, as long as the information featured is accurate and complete. We relish the opportunity to talk about the Hornets with anyone, and we do so daily. Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding anything having to do with the Hornets and the great city in which they play. Thank you for taking the time to read our reply.
Great response. Now if we take Linsanity et al down tonight will they take it all back and say we're the best fans in the world!!!
Great response guys, keep up the good work. Definitely not a fan of Stern's right now because of the poor quality of our play this year, but ultimately the trade he made was probably in the best interest of the franchise, both competitively and staying in the city.
Did my comment really get taken down because it was a good argument that disagreed with this article?
Eh, I don't think Gordon wants to be a Hornet. Rumors, pretty strong rumors, is that he wants to be part of a big team, not where he is a lone star. What I mean is he wants to be on a team that's capable of competing right away, not one where he's going to be one of the lone stars for the next 2-3 years. Pacers are a perfect fit for him, and if they don't sign anybody else this season they'll definitely have the cap space to pick up Gordon/a solid young team with depth, and a lot of potential, plus their in the East Conference. In my humble opinion, Gordon will not be a Hornet by the start of next season.
All I know is our season is over for this year & we need to focus on the future. We will possibly have the 2nd overall pick. So Harrison Barnes or Anthony Davis is coming to the Hornet, so we gonna be on the right track. I also think the free agency for next year will benefit us a lot. For trade wise we can trade away J.J. & OAK TREE & minn for a scoring /distributed PG like Rajon Rondo or Brandon Jennings for w/o the draft pick. Trade for an athletic defensive F and Center we'll be OK then!
The reason for some of theses jerks don't like the fact that the Hornets is going to have a bright future in New Orleans is because of the civic,political and fan support thats has gain so much grong one the NBA owned the team.These are the same guys who like superstars on big market teams because they're very capitalist.What gets me is that Kevin Love is play on a small market team and sign a huge contract recently.Love is an all star on a small market team now if CP3 was to re-sign with the Hornets the sports would say he's a fool just like Love. Is it just me or do they want a 8 leauge team in only in those major U.S cities because of ratings and spotlight.Or you think it's the agents manipulating their clients.
Great response to the SheridanHoops.com article. I know things look bad now but people are only thinking short term. Now can you explain these same principles to John Reid and John DeShazier of the Times-Picayune. Both gentlemen are feed into the same bull shit thinking. I'm convinced that the Hornets are headed in the right direction. Dell Demps will have valuable cap space, a new owner and two 1st round picks to help rebuild this team with next season. Also Coach Williams has been a steady teaching influence on the young guys. The only mistake I think they made was trading for Trevor Ariza. That was done to appease CP3 and they should have known he wasn't going to commit to the Hornets long term. That deal sparked other unfavorable deals like the trade for Jared Bayless, then to only trade him for Jarrett Jack. I much rather have Darren Collision right now moving forward. But hindsight is always 20/20.
2 days after mardi gras they going announce who the owner is it between benson and the west coast investor with local partnership
Great article guys. Thats the trouble when you are dealing with people who dont bother to do some research an get the facts right, they just shot articles out their a*****e like a gum ball machine. Its come to he stage that I dont even bother to open articles about the Hornets on ESPN, SI.com etc... These guys think the league revolves around the big city teams and anybody else is a big doormat for them to take a S**T on. Now that there are plans to build a new arena in Seattle, the Hornets will be subject to uneducated rumors until a new owner is announced and all that garbage can be put to bed.
I especially agree with your observation regarding Dell and Monty's motivation for wanting to make the Laker-Rocket deal. They are well aware that a new owner in all likelihood will want to bring in his own people, especially after a losing season. Their best chance to retain their jobs was to have a winning, playoff season this year. Dell and Monty were dealt a bad hand the last two years but they are not likely to be around next year and they probably realize that.
Is it me or does it feel like everyone wants us to fail? Let me say one thing; I will be there (in the Hive) until they carry me out or the team just disappears. But if this team disappears based on sabotage or misinformation, then we only have ourselves to blame.
good stuff yall. this guy is on full chump mode. hes one of the ones who thought that we shouldnt rebuild and still holds a grudge. suck and egg, man. i like our team. if that blog has a pair then theyll post your response. ill sign the petition.
"Sperling is juggling both the sale negotiations as well as discussions with the state of Louisiana for a renegotiated lease agreement that will stretch an additional 10 years, as well as be void of escape clauses, assuring the Hornets’ presence in New Orleans for the long term." "Those simultaneous dialogs tend to slow the pace of the expected ownership transfer, and the new lease, which could be accomplished in a matter of weeks." http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2012/02/new_orleans_hornets_chairman_s.html Good enough for me.
This is great. I don't know why those guys think they can just pull things out of their ***** and no one will be able to counteract with real facts.
Those were excellent responses. It was disappointing to see Gordon not resign at the deadline but people tend to forget (like you mentioned) there's really no risk in waiting. I think most fans have a misconception of what restricted free agency really means. I was very angered to see him refer to us as a dispassionate fanbase. This is a small market, maybe the smallest in the league, but that does not reflect the commitment our fans have to this team.
First time users or users with account changes need an initial approval. That's all. Spam thing. We love well-reasoned dissent.
"Is it me or does it feel like everyone wants us to fail?" I've been asking myself this for quite some time now. When did New Orleans or the Hornets p*ss in these peoples breakfast Wheaties?
It's easy for him to say, but it's hard to find the FACTS to back that up. Plus, I guarantee if he said that someone who would never go to a game, but is down here and loves this city, he'd get an ear full of smack talk for even sniffing the hint of kind of implying that the people here aren't passionate after rebuilding this motherf#@$r. I boated to my friends house who had lost her mother who stayed behind in Chalmette, busted my tail slipping in the mud in her kitchen after bashing in three doors, finally being able to move one since there was only a frige on it, just to find something to salavage. I got a ceramic hanging that happened to stay on the wall and not get sucked into the canal. It was about 5 inches square. The serenity prayer. Smelled to hell like mold and was filthy. My house was fine. I just went down there for her. Yeah, there's no passion here. We don't hang together. Right or wrong, put a fleur-de-lis on it, and you rally a deep, deep sense of purpose and history that some people just don't get. I would feel sorry for him saying that down here.
sheridanhoops.com is a freaking joke anyway, their readers do nothing but put shit on sheridan, the articles are fluff and their predictions are uneducated...
It's mainly just because the league owned team turned down that 1st trade. I really don't care what way you put it, that first trade was downright better. Rumors are Gordon wants nothing more than to be on another team, so why would they do this trade when the big name player in it has an expiring contract, and doesn't even want to be on the team he's going to. With Ariza, Odom, Scola, and Martin they couldn't care less about coming to the Hornets because they're leaving a team where they had less important roles because of Kobe and Gasol. Gordon was a vital piece w/ Griffin on a young Clippers team w/ potential and he just got thrown into a team he had no interest in going to. Ariza, Odom, Scola, and Martin would've been a lot better than what they got from the Clippers, those players from the Lakers would be a lot happier playing together on the Hornets with bigger roles instead of Gordon, Kaman, etc, coming to a crappy team where he has almost no chance getting them to the playoffs.
Well written piece guys, I just finished reading their column and your response and it was hard to do so without punching a hole through my computer screen. Hearing NBA analysts talk about the pro's of that LAL-HOU trade for CP3 makes my stomach turn. When I first saw the headlines of us accepting THAT deal for CP3 I was in shock, I couldn't believe we would take on all those contracts, with no room for future improvement. I understand Monty & Dell's will to win, and I will begin to appreciate it again in a couple of years, but for now, winning isn't the exciting opportunity we were presented with when CP3 wanted out. The veto was the greatest thing Stern could have done for the Hornets, it gave us a chance to be horrible. I'm pretty sure it was only three years ago that the Thunder moved to OKC, and they were absolutely horrendous, around the same time that the Bulls were a laughing stock in the East. This trade puts us in a better position than either of those teams were in when they landed their superstars of the future. When the bees landed CP3 we desperately needed one more season of being a horrible ball club to give us our second banana to compliment CP and Dwest, but we never had that chance, and we finally do. We have the chance to build a great team around Eric Gordon, a top 5 pick in a strong draft class, plus two/three lottery-mid first round picks in that same draft. The SheridanHoops article was well articulated, and professionally written, the content however was misinformed, uneducated and the ideas presented made me wonder how much those guys at sheridanhoops.com really pay attention to what's going on in our great game. Bernucca stated later that the team he supports was indeed the 76ers, who have been stuck in the purgatory of mediocrity for decades, and show no signs of escaping in the near or distant future. He of all people should know that stinking it up for a year or two isn't a bad option when all you're ever competing for is a first round playoff exit. Sorry about the long response, but Bernucca's article had far too much I could disagree with in just one paragraph. So Lets stink it up, all the way to a number 1 pick in 2012, maybe another top 10 in 2013, and before you know it, we could be one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA. GEAUX HORNETS!
Copy of my reply: As one of the many dispassionate fans of the Hornets, I beg to disagree. While not unanimous, most of us feel the clippers trade was better for the organization than the lakers trade. Rebuilding is not a crime. You discredit the New Orleans fans for the _th time (i lost count about halfway through the article) when you suggest that we're not patient enough to wait out the rebuilding process, or not smart enough to see that rebuilding from scratch now gives us the best future (oh wait that's you, oops). A roster consisting of egordon, ariza, ayon, okafor, jack & greivis (or hopefully an upgraded pg), jsmith, landry/kaman/or young player(s) their traded for, 2 of the aforementioned rookis, plus 10-20 mil of cap space does sound like an exciting future. Regarding gordon, while many of us would have liked to see the deal consummated, why would the hornets throw the max at him when he is restricted and nursing a knee injury. We were negotiating from a position of strength and outside of goodwill had no rational reason to offer the max at that point. Now if Stern and co. have been lying to us and sell the team to out-of-towners, disregard my comments. I agree with you wholeheartedly.