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New Orleans Hornets Free-Agent Big Board

Published: June 30, 2012

The Hornets are prepared for Free-Agency, but is this class more quantity than quality?

With the NBA draft now complete the Hornets organisation will now turn their sole focus onto free-agency. For players this is the time of great excitement, for agents it’s a time to push their clients market value, for organisations it’s a chance to push their team up the standings.

This Free-Agent Big Board will be Hornets focussed, that is it will take into account the following.

  • Cap Space this year and the future
  • Position needs (where the Hornets lack talent)
  • Roster development
  • Fit into culture (whether they fit with organisations’ way of thinking)

To be honest with you all I really don’t like this free-agent class. There might be a few hidden gems somewhere, but there’s a lot of players that have “overpaid” written all over them.

After the NBA finals I really feel like this Hornets team could use some more shooters. I also feel like they need length, but unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of big-men that are Unrestricted or within pay range (remember because there is less talent at Center in the NBA means their market value increases if a player is good.)

So with that let’s jump into it.

1. Eric Gordon (SG) – RFA

All indications for the past month have the Hornets retaining the main piece in the Chris Paul trade, Eric Gordon. Despite injury concerns Hornets management have no issue throwing money at Gordon despite strong interest from teams like the Indiana Pacers.

Whether their intention to match any offer scares off teams from even placing one seems suspect, the Hornets intention remains clear to build around Gordon.

Possible Landing Places: New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets

2. Javale McGee (C) – RFA

For all the flack Javale McGee receives most, if not all, is unwarranted. McGee is a supremely talented player who was stuck on an immature Washington Wizards team before being moved to Denver. There he showed his value, especially against the Lakers in the playoffs.

McGee is likely to return to Denver where he’ll be a staple for years to come. He will get a big contract from the Nuggets in all likelihood. If that does not happen expect a number of teams,  Hornets included, to go after him.

Possible Landing Places: Denver Nuggets, Most of the NBA

3. Omer Asik (C) — RFA

The Hornets front line is now a barren wasteland and they need to get a prototypical center. While there are more talented centers out there, the Hornets could have Asik for a reasonable price. This would help them in the future and keep their flexibility.

Should the asking price go too high, the Hornets might drop out.

Possible Landing Places: Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks.

4. Roy Hibbert (C) – RFA

The Indiana Pacers have found their center for the future. He’s skilled both offensively and defensively. There’s little doubt in my mind that the Pacers match whatever offer is thrown his way. They have the cap room and know he’s talented.

He’s this high because the Hornets really need a center to go next to Anthony Davis and Hibbert would fit so well.

It’s a shame we won’t get him.

Possible Landing Places: Indiana Pacers (Virtual Lock)

5. Ersan Ilyasova (PF) – UFA

Posting his best season as a pro, Ersan Ilyasova has raised his value astronomically to the point that he may receive close to the max. Milwaukee sounds like they’re resigned to losing him, though don’t expect them to give up without a fight.

Rumors have persisted that he’s a fit with the Brooklyn Nets with or without Dwight Howard and Deron Williams. It could be likely that the Nets let Kris Humphries walk and go after Ersan.

The Hornets would only persue Ilyasova if they believed Anthony Davis could play the five, which they don’t think he can do.

Possible Landing Places: Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks

6. Spencer Hawes (C) – UFA

As discussed before the Hornets are in desperate need of a center. I’ve tried to find some good value among this position, but the truth is there’s no future center out there.

Hawes would be a stop-gap either for the next draft or next free-agent. He’s weak down low but can rebound and shoot it.

The problem appears to be that his contract demands are quite out of proportion. He’s demanding $8 million per season which is a bit ridiculous considering he’s done little to convince anyone he’s anything more than a fringe starter.

Hopefully New Orleans doesn’t overpay for him.

Possible Landing Places: New Orleans, Philadelphia 76ers

7. Jeff Green (SF) – RFA

I’ve looked high and low on the free-agent market for a small-forward. I wasn’t even looking for a good one, just somebody to plug the hole. But it appears that there is absolutely nothing (unless you want Donte Greene starting at SF).

Jeff Green has had some medical problems recently, so it might decrease his value, even though his a restricted free-agent. If he could be a had for a cheap price maybe the Hornets go after him.

Again, it’s tough to find cheap and good value players in this years free-agent market, but that’s why Dell is paid the big bucks, to find them.

Possible Landing Places: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers

8. Carl Landry (PF) – UFA

Ah yes, good ole Carl Landry. A lot of Hronet fans have come to the notion that Landry is gone. I think that he might be back. It seems like if he can be had for the right price that he’ll be in a Hornets uniform once more.

I love Landry, this isn’t a secret. Sure he’s undersized, but he plays with toughness and can is a high impact player. He’s probably come to terms with not being starter material, so maybe that gives us an edge.

He loves the city of New Orleans and I think unless he sees more money elsewhere, he’s back to solidify the Hornets depth on the front-line.

Possible Landing Places: New Orleans Hornets, Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns

9. Courtney Lee (SG) – RFA

A player that is very underrated around the league is Courtney Lee. He’s one of the better defenders out there and combined with his much improved scoring/shooting ability he will be a hot commodity.

The problem is that the Rockets know of Lee’s value and will plan to match whatever is thrown out there. New Orleans doesn’t really need two-guards at the moment, but I like Lee that much that I felt I needed to put his name up on the board.

Possible Landing Places: Houston Rockets (Virtual Lock)

10. Rudy Fernandez (SG) – RFA

Again, another SG, but the crop for other positions is extremely weak. There’s always a need for shooters (especially if you want to make a playoff run) so Fernandez might fit in with his old coach.

Possible Landing Places: Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets

Just Missing the Cut

Goran Dragic, Lance Thomas, Nick Young, Willie Green, Shannon Brown, Patrick Mills, Brandon Bass


  1. Chris

    June 30, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Denver have Afflalo, Chandler & Gallinari locked into long term deals. They will also have to resign Lawson in 2013-14. Its possible they will not be comfortable matching a hefty offer for Javale McGee. In all seriousness it will take a near max deal to get McGee, but he could become a very good player under Monty Williams no nonsense regime. The reason he was a clown before playing well for Denver is because he was playing for a clown franchise.

  2. Jason Calmes

    June 30, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Please, no Rudy. I hate him.

    Also, Dell said to Joe and I that Lance is under contract. I thought he meant for next season, but he could have mean “for the next 36 hours.”

    • 504ever

      June 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

      I agree. Thomas is coming back. He has been working out in the Hornets facility etc. They want him, he wants them, the price is right, etc.

    • NOH Domination

      June 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

      I hate you!!!

      • NOH Domination

        June 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

        Though I thought Rudy was wanting to go back to Europe and definitely doesn’t fit in New Orleans. If he does stay I hope the pups sign him to go with budinger, hummel, love, pek, and love!

      • Jason Calmes

        June 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

        As it should be.

      • Reggie

        June 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        I think he forgot about Brook Lopez when he wrote this article and a guy like kris humphries

  3. George

    June 30, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Outside of McGee it’s not looking good and i’m not high on McGee, (his basketball i.q. is absolutely horrendous, watch this video for evidence Would consider bringing in Marcus Camby or maybe even Ben Wallace for a stop gap till next season when the free agent class is better. It would allow the coaching staff more time to develop the young guys and Wallace or Camby could even mentor Davis.

    • Jay Dogon

      June 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      All of these were when he was playing for the Wizards and they had no discipline. Also I saw nothing wrong with him throwing it off the backboard to himself. He scored and didn’t get a technical so whats the problem?

      • Zombian

        June 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        The problem is the guy did some fancy dunk and celebrated while his team was still losing.
        The guy can’t shoot, he has no IQ, and an ego. Everyone wants him after one good playoff series. While I’ll admit he did better on the Nuggets and played well for one series, I don’t think it’s enough of a reason to give him a big contract and assume the small sample size of 15 good games is enough for us to compensate for the seasons of disappointment. I hope he turns it around and becomes a good player but I wouldn’t bet on it with money that could be used to get us proven talent.

  4. The Octagon

    June 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Chris Kaman? Would be a good fit next to an athletic player like Davis. 3 years $20 million wouldn’t be bad. I doubt he would be as inefficient as last season due to Gordon, Jack, Rivers and Davis commanding the ball

    • kfte

      June 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      R u on drugs

  5. Veezy

    June 30, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I’m coming around to McGee. Only problem that may materialize is that we need to find efficient second unit scoring. I love Landry; but, it may not be smart to resign him w/o trading another post player because we would have a log jam at pf.

  6. Veezy

    June 30, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Should we make a run at either one of the Lopez brothers

  7. hornetshornets

    June 30, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I’m hoping we just put our name out for all the big name RFAs like Mcgee and Asik just to drive their price up and make other teams overpay for players who can’t take over a game. I’d be perfectly content paying for a stop gap like Kaman, Aaron Gray, or Joel Pryzbilla with Thabeet as a side project until next year’s lottery. Like Demps and Coach Williams said, it’s a process and we shouldn’t put too much pressure on this year with all the young rookies.

    Then next year we can play the lottery again in a more talent rich draft for centers or go after Dwight, Ibaka, Bynum, or Pekovic in FA, which would result in much better value

  8. NOLA Hustle

    June 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

    wait a second, you missed one BIG name

    it seems fate has destined the return of Aaron Gray, hands of clay!

    • Ron

      June 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      AG actually started to become semi-competent before his ankle injury. What he needs, though, is a floor general PG, which we don’t have.

  9. J

    June 30, 2012 at 8:42 am

    We better get a center(s) this free agency because 2013 free agency class for centers are horriable.

  10. Lucas Ottoni

    June 30, 2012 at 9:21 am

    We’ll have to pay much for a center in free agency because made ​​the mistake of selecting Austin Rivers in the draft, a whimsy that will cost us dear.

    • Lucas Ottoni

      June 30, 2012 at 9:23 am

      I said DEAR??? Wow .. I mean EXPENSIVE!


    • DrHamburg

      June 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

      I too, thought the Hornets should go double big men in the draft. Really thought Leonard shouldve been the choice. But I trust Dell Demps with Rivers cause I never saw it with him at Duke.

      • Jay Dogon

        June 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

        I’m not saying that Leonard will be good in Portland but I believe that if he came here and was paired with Skynet he would have had a higher percentage to reach his potential because then he could mostly rely on his athleticism and we probably would have still signed someone to start over him which I also believe is key to his development.

  11. TheKeymaster

    June 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’d much rather see the team go in a cheaper direction in regards to signing a Center. I don’t see the point in spending 10+ million a season on a Center when the direction the NBA is heading is not one with traditional big man roles. I’d much rather see the Hornets sign Ian Mahinmi to a two or three year deal for for around 8 million or make an offer at Jason Thompson who is a restricted free agent with the Kings. The Kings are unlikely to try and re-sign Thompson b/c of Cousins and their recent pick Robinson. Both Mahinmi and Thompson have good size at 6′ 11″. Thompson is probably better offensively but has never played on a winning team unlike Mahinmi, either way I think they should go the cheaper route and make a run at either one of them, bc I feel that if Thompson or Mahinmi were to get starters minutes they could both average over 10 points and 8 rebs a game which is perfect for what the Hornets need.

    • TheKeymaster

      June 30, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Also both Thompson and Mahinmi are under 25 and athletic. If we signed one of those two I think we should re-sign Landry for a 2 year deal around 6-7 mill per.

      PG Jack/Rivers/Vasquez
      SG Gordon/Rivers/Henry
      SF Aminu/Miller/Henry
      PF Davis/Landry/Ayon
      C Thompson or Mahinmi/Smith

      I think that’s a lineup that could immediately contend for a 7 or 8th seed and grow over a couple years to contend.

    • TrinchMan

      June 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Good idea, use this year to develop one and go after a better center next year.

  12. DrHamburg

    June 30, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I would want the Hornets to go only after big men. This year’s unrestricted free agents are awful outside Deron Williams. Right now the Hornets are at
    Jason Smith/Nothing
    Anthony Davis/Ayon
    Xavier Henry/Aminu/Darius Miller
    Jarrett Jack/Vasquez

    Right now at 10 roster players you are set at the 2 and the 3 with Henry, Gordon, Rivers, Aminu and Miller. If an injury happens you are still set there. So the only backcourt option would be a 3rd pg which the Hornets can pick up late in free agency. So I would like the Hornets to make a strong push for the Centers available. I would like the Hornets to go after Asik, Robin Lopez, maybe a Krstic if he comes back over? Those players would be cheap and serviceable and still allow the Hornets to make a big money offer to say JaVale McGee. Big men win championships (unless you got LeBron) so I would love to see the Hornets make an effort filling those spots. If it isn’t there save your money for the next offseason.

    • Ron

      June 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      The problem is that while JSmith is a decent 2nd string PF, he’s just not good at C.

  13. Vernon

    June 30, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Marcus Camby for a year or two? no scoring, but might be a good mentor too?

  14. Jordan J.

    June 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

    What about some undrafted free agents? Yeah, I’m talking about Scott Machado from Iona and Sims from Georgetown. Apparently Machado has gotten alot of interest to join teams summer league teams, Hornets included.

    • VeezyV

      June 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      I accidentally hit thumbs down, I meant thumbs up

  15. Kevin

    June 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Outside of Asik, I’m not really on the same page here. He should be the most expensive player they take a look at. Otherwise, a few smart, cheap, upside signings for now, play it out, get another likely lottery pick and spend next summer when the market is better and the money is more plentiful.

    Who I would like to see them take a look at, personally:

    Patty Mills* – Not really a need, but he has a chance to be pretty good and I’m not sure everyone knows it yet. Dumb fast, great shooter.

    Jeremy Evans* – Same as Mills. He’s a 200-pound power forward, but he works hard and is stupid athletic. Like him a lot.

    Omer Asik* – Not sure he is a starter, but still worth taking a look at. Not much offense to speak of, but he’s a monster in every sense of the word and he and Anthony Davis defending together at times would be unbelievable.

    Aaron Gray – Yes, again.

    Daniel Orton – Absolutely worth taking a flier on. An injury, Dwight Howard and a bad attitude limited his playing time, but he is huge and 21. More of a defender right now, but again… 21.

    Greg Stiemsma* – He came out of nowhere last season, blocked a lot of shots and can hit open 16-footers.

    * – restricted

    The small forward market is really barren, even for the kind of players I’m looking for.

  16. Kevin

    June 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Oh, and I actually quite like McGee (always have), but besides having to overpay him, I just think you have to pair Davis with a more offensive-capable center for the next five years. Monroe would be ideal, but there’s just no way that happens.

  17. edbballin504

    June 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I think most of the SGs you list the Hornets have no intention of even glancing at. I think we are content with our PG and SG spots until next summer. Only way we make a change there is from claiming amnesty casualties who will come nice and cheap (ex. Jose Calderon), and even thats a long shot unless the contract is multiple years. Look for a veteran to be signed cheap to help mentor the young guys but not necessarily play much in games (i.e. Willie Green).

    I think Gordon is clearly 1, and McGee is 2. Look for us to throw a hefty contract out there at McGee that declines from the first year to the last. I wouldn’t be shocked if year 1 is in the neighborhood of $13-14 mill. If we can’t get McGee I think we settle with Kaman on a 2-3 year value deal. I also think we should bring back Landry at a long term reasonable deal, then look to trade Jack and Ayon at the deadline for something (draft pick or better player).

    Another name to not sleep on is Greg Oden. I could see the Bees taking a chance there, esp if Monty believes in him after coaching him up in POR. Stay tuned…

    • TrinchMan

      June 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      greg odens knees are fkd

  18. usufruct

    June 30, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Is Chris Kaman chopped liver? I see him as the most viable option at center because I think we can sign him to a reasonable contract. Is he the best center available? No. But I think he’s the most accessible.

  19. Josh

    June 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I don’t think we should go after anybody unless they are willing to take a 1-year deal. Willie Green would be a good option as a backup, and Darryl Watkins played well at center. Maybe we can get Jeremy Evans as a SF. I do think Daniel Orton would be a good pickup. The only guys that I would want to sign bigger contracts are Jeff Green and Carl Landry but not both. I really think we should keep Landry. Monty has mentioned that Davis is going to be a target on other teams to hurt. We need a guy that can stick up for him. Landry is tough and fits well with AD, so that would be a good signing.

  20. Jayy_man

    June 30, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Javale McGee would be a steal if we can get him !

  21. 504STRETCH

    June 30, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I still like J. Dyson as a backup point. I recall him comin in and showing the ability to score and get to the free throw line, plus, he brings a lot of speed in the backcourt. Trade Vasquez…NO HANDLES!!!

  22. Chuck

    June 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I take issue with the idea that we need a “traditional” center to go with Davis, like an Asik, Kaman, or Hawes. Another longer, fluid guy like McGee would be better. The teams that have been winning lately: OKC plays best with Collison at center, Miami with Bosh, Boston with KG, San Antonio with Duncan, Dallas with Dirk, Lakers with Pau (debatable I guess), etc. The only really good traditional centers are Bynum, Howard, Marc Gasol, and Pekovic and none of those teams made it past the second round. Having the big guy clogging the middle kind of takes away from the flexibility of your offense and causes matchup issues if the other team goes small. I’d prefer spending money on a shooter or a versatile quasi-center

    • Kevin

      June 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Why even bring up Bosh, Garnett, Duncan, Nowitzki and Gasol, in regards to McGee? He is not and never will be comparable to them in style.

      Also, Hawes sure isn’t a “traditional” center (probably not Asik, either), and there are more “really good traditional centers” than that. Monroe, Marcin Gortat, Al Jefferson…

    • jmbell

      June 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      How can you make an argument for a team with long guys like Pau and Dirk when they aren’t even centers? And you put the Lakers in the category of teams that have been winning lately but then you day guys like Bynum and Howard haven’t made it past the second round? Bynum plays for the Lakers and they are clearly better with him than Pau at center. The only guy that can stop him is Howard and Perkins.

    • Chuck

      June 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      Didn’t phrase my argument well. My point is that it seems like the league is moving towards lineups that emphasize spacing and versatility over traditional positions. Big centers who camp down low just aren’t as necessary anymore. My point with those guys I named is they aren’t traditional centers as in they don’t play down low and bang bodies all day, they can step out, they can defend other positions, etc.

      The Lakers tried to overpower people with Bynum and Gasol and they just couldn’t keep up with teams like the Thunder, who have big guys (Ibaka, Collison, even Durant) who play sort of mid range and can defend guys on the perimeter if necessary. Their best lineup when they won their titles was Odom at PF, Gasol at C. Same thing happened in the finals with the Thunder, against the Heat Perkins just couldn’t keep up on defense because he couldn’t stay with anyone on the perimeter, whereas all the Heat’s players were versatile.

  23. Gustopher

    June 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    As long as we’re bringing up players who seem like virtual locks to re-sign with their original teams… what about Nic Batum out of Portland? Or is he going to be too over-priced for what you think the Hornets are trying to do. He has the familiarity with Monty and gives us a near 40-percent 3-point shooter as well as someone who averarged 1 steal and 1 block per game last season.

  24. J

    June 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    When you so called fans say the Hornets should sign a cheaper option at center it’s code for tank next season for Cody Zeller.I need to stop coming on this site it’s filled with pessimistic fans.

    • Kevin

      June 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Because JaVale McGee is making that big of a difference, in terms of season success?

      Let’s be realistic here: this isn’t a playoff team as is, and it most likely still isn’t with him or any other center on the market right now. This is about long-term success. Relax and enjoy the ride.

    • 504ever

      June 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm


      This is a huge reach on your part and I believe your clairvoyance is limited. Wanting to have free cap space is about free cap space for future free agents our improving team can attract. It has nothing to do with tanking or drafting. Take people at their word. There is no code here.

      Oh, and just as shocking is your suggestion that Cody Zeller is the kind of player you tank for! WHAT?

  25. jmbell

    June 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I would be glad to resign the Kaveman.

  26. edbballin504

    June 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Free agency starts tonight at 11:01pm. When can we get agreements? verbal or on paper? In a week? Or same time it starts?

    • Kevin

      June 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      July 11.

  27. NO-CHI

    June 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Perhaps the Hornets could sign a few Centers cheap. We need a Jim Petersen player. We have our Microwave. Guys I’d suggest moving Ayon to Center if we cn’t resign Kaman. I note that there’s one center who I know is a free agent bit nobody has brought up yet: Brad Miller @ about 3.8 a year (or slightly higher)

    At 7″0, he can hit the 3-Pointer fulfilling our needs at both shooter and center. He’s also a veteran presence who can teach AD. (just like he did with Joakim Noah in Chicago) He’s able to stretch the floor allowing AD room in the paint. He may be slow, but unlike other slow centers he runs up the floor to make an effective trailer (and bailout option should Rivers drive in an out if control manner.)

    • Taquito

      June 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Miller is retired

  28. Pingback: Off-Season Targets: Centers | New Orleans Hornets |

  29. nikkoewan

    June 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Sign either Kaman to a contract similar to Dalemberts – maybe a 15/2 year with the 2nd year unguaranteed.. I think Kaman placed in the right system (much fewer postups for him) can succeed. Ultimately, I want to maintain flexibility moving forward, in case we need it.

  30. J

    June 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    what an idiot fan base

    • Josh

      June 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm


  31. NOS 3-RD GEN

    June 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    The bottom line for sure about the Hornets will possibly do in free agency is target everyone they missed their chance to acquire like Antawn Jamison, and Javale McGee, and target new defensive player w/length on them. the time for the to strike big is now!!!!

  32. Beau

    July 1, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Get McGee why is everyone saying we need a scoring center??? We have rivers and most likely Gordon the person we get won’t touch the ball. We shud also purse green for a low price to have play with miller.

  33. Byrd20

    July 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I say go after Greg Oden. Offer him a nice one year deal around 8 million. (Prob more than anyone else will offer him). If he can keep from getting injured and contribute then great. If he gets hurt or just can’t come back from his injuries then we have all that cap space next year to get a good free agent. Pretty unrealistic but I say why not? At best the Hornets would be a 7th seed and unlikey to make it out the first round so its not like it matters too much anyway. Not the best option I know but we could also try and sign another young center to a a one or two year deal and just see which pans out better and then sign to a long term deal. Hornets have plenty of cap and really not much to lose so I say go for it!

  34. Pingback: New Orleans Hornets Free-Agent Big Board: Volume Two | New Orleans Hornets |

  35. Pingback: New Orleans Hornets Free-Agent Big Board: Volume Three | New Orleans Hornets |

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