Counter-Point: The Logic of Losing Landry

Published: May 22, 2012

Part 2 of Mason Ginsberg’s and Ryan Schwan’s point-counterpoint argument on whether Carl Landry should be retained this coming off-season.

Where will Carl Landry be making plays like this for next season and beyond?

The Hornets have a few players from this past season headed for free agency. Among them is power forward Carl Landry, a player who was often the first Hornets player off the bench, typically receiving starter-type minutes. He brings highly coveted interior scoring, largely due to his impressive ability to draw fouls and get to the free throw line. While defensive rebounding has never been a strength for Carl, he finally seemed to be making positive strides in that area this season. On top of his contributions on the court, he appears to be a habitually upbeat guy and a great teammate.

For all of the above reasons, I am a big fan of Carl Landry; however, I don’t think he should remain a Hornet for next season and beyond. This belief has little to do with what he brings to the table from a talent perspective. For me, it’s all about how he fits within the framework of the team in both the short-term and long-term. The following four points are the issues that prevent Landry and the Hornets from being an ideal fit.

1) Congestion at the power forward position. Between Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon, the Hornets have a good bit of somewhat newly-found talent at power forward. Smith and Ayon were two of the team’s most efficient players last season, as both ranked in the team’s top 5 in PER. Assuming Ayon puts in the necessary conditioning work this offseason to adjust to the more intense NBA schedule, the two appear to be capable of sufficiently handling 48 minutes of action collectively.

2) The NBA Draft. This is largely related to the first point, but the upcoming NBA draft is loaded with talent at the power forward position; in fact, as of today, 5 of the top 10 players on Chad Ford’s Top 100 list on are listed as power forwards. As a result, it would make sense if the Hornets were to use one of their two lottery picks on one of those players. Should that scenario occur, bringing back Landry would make even less sense, as it would then give the Hornets four guys deserving of legitimate playing time who play the same position.

3) Salary Cap ramifications. Not even discussed yet is the money that it would take to keep Landry in New Orleans. It would be reasonable to assume that he’ll command a contract valued around $7 million per season with a length of 3 or 4 years on the open market. For comparison’s sake, Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon will make a combined total of $4 million per year over each of the next two seasons, and Ayon has a qualifying offer of just under $2 million for the season after that. Bringing back Landry for that kind of money (even if he would agree to a shorter deal in order to stay here) would completely negate the advantage gained by locking down Smith and Ayon to such favorable contracts. While a power forward rotation featuring mainly those two players may not be considered a position of strength, it would free up the team to devote more cap space towards shoring up other positions of need.

4) Age. By the start of next season, Carl Landry will be 29 years old. While that’s not “old” in a professional basketball sense, it’s not young either, and the Hornets are clearly in the middle of a youth movement in order to build for the future. With Smith having just turned 26 and Ayon just making 27, Landry would be the oldest of the bunch, and a new deal would take him into his early 30s. It would probably be in the Hornets’ best interest if they opted to bring in younger players with more room to grow.

I wish Carl Landry the best and have the utmost respect for his offensive game, but I think that it would be in both he and the Hornets’ best interests if he moved on to another NBA franchise to continue his basketball career.


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