Off-Season Targets: Guards

Published: July 1, 2012

Eric Gordon is a restricted free agent, but who else will the Hornets target?

Free agency has been open for less than 24 hours and already rumors and names are flying all over the place. Today we’re going a little more in depth on the available guards. Armed with plenty of cap space, expect the Hornets to pursue a guard (other than Eric Gordon). Here are some of the names you’ll be hearing about.

Free Agents


Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets, SG, Restricted, 20.6 ppg, 3.4 apg, 2.8 rpg, 45.0 FG%, 25.0 3FG%

Since free agency has opened, it seems every team has expressed interest in Gordon. However, noise around the league is pointing to the Hornets matching any offer he receives. This means that Gordon will most likely command a max contract of 5 years for 74.3 million.

The biggest issue seems to be whether or not Gordon, and his injury history, is worth a max level deal. But given all the interest in him throughout the league, it seems as if this is a non-issue. And given all the other options (the Pacers, Rockets, Nets, Suns, Trailblazers), the Hornets seem to be the most attractive team.

2. Goran Dragic, Houston Rockets, PG, Unrestricted, 11.7 ppg, 5.3 apg, 2.5 rpg, 46.2 FG%, 33.7 3FG%

Ryan and I have covered Dragic in greater detail previously. Dragic was one of the players that the Hornets acquired in the vetoed Chris Paul/Lakers trade, so it’s clear Dell Demps likes him. Dragic stepped into the starting spot for Houston when Kyle Lowry went down with an injury and played lights out. As a starter he averaged 18 points and 8.4 assists per game. Dragic is also a slightly above average defender and has held opposing point guards to a PER of 12.7 according to It seems like the Rockets want to keep him, but if that fails there will be plenty of suitors–expect the Hornets to be one of them.

3. Nick Young, Los Angeles Clippers, SG, Unrestricted, 16.6 ppg, 0.9 apg, 2.1 rpg, 40.3 FG%, 36.5 3FG%

At first Young seems kind of redundant with Austin Rivers on the team. But with the news that Demps has inquired about the former Clipper, let us at least consider the possibility.

With the idea of Gordon and Rivers sharing the same backcourt, the Hornets seem to be of the thinking that they do not need a traditional point guard running the offense. If that is the case, and Rivers is to come off the bench, then I could see a starting backcourt of Gordon and Young. It’s not my ideal backcourt, but the Hornets could do worse if they get Young at the right (read: cheap) price. He can also lead the 2nd unit while Rivers adjusts to the NBA.

Young is a scorer and has shown the ability to attack the rim. He is also a career 37.8% shooter from deep which should help space the floor for Gordon and Anthony Davis. ¬†Defensively he needs some work but certainly has the size (6-foot 6) and athleticism to be successful. He is also often inconsistent. Working within Monty Williams’ system should help fix both, but there will still be times where he can hurt the team.

4. OJ Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies, SG, Unresitricted, 12.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, 3.2 rpg, 40.8 FG%, 36.4 3FG%

In the event that Gordon leaves, it’s very possible that the Hornets make a run at Mayo. The former USC guard was one of the top sixth men in the NBA this past season. At times he can be a bit of a head case, but it should be nothing that Monty’s discipline couldn’t fix.

5. Marco Belinelli, New Orleans Hornets, SG, Unresitricted, 11.8 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2.6 rpg, 41.7 FG%, 37.7 3FG%

Belinelli has been a bit of a polarizing figure for Hornets’ fans. There are games when he is on fire from deep and other games where you forget he played. Monty is very high on him so don’t be shocked to see him in a Hornets uniform next season.



Deron Williams New Jersey Nets, Lou Williams Philadelphia 76ers

I know it’s fun, but try not to think about these three. While it would make sense for Deron Williams to come to the bayou to lead the Hornets’ young core, it’s just not happening. For the other Williams, I just see him commanding too much money on the market for the Hornets’ liking–especially since he would be taking away minutes from Rivers.

Trade Targets


As Michael pointed out previously, the Hornets have very few assets they can use to trade for a guard (unless there is a sign and trade with Gordon). Given that they have plenty of options already on the team, I doubt the Hornets make a run at anyone in particular. But, Dell Demps has shocked us before, so expect to hear about both Kyle Lowry and Brandon Jennings as potential targets.

Amnesty Candidates


The Raptors are trying to get someone to take Jose Calderon’s expiring contract off their hands, but, in case they are unable to find a trade, they may be forced to use the amnesty clause on him. If that is the case, the Hornets would be able to put a claim on him for as little as the league minimum. Calderon would not be the long term solution at point guard, but he would be more than serviceable. An excellent distributor, Calderon averaged 8.8 assists per game last season. For the right price, he would be a great compliment to this Hornets’ team.

Previous Off-Season Targets: Centers

Coming up next: Forwards


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