New Orleans Hornets Free-Agent Big Board: Volume Three

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Published: July 4, 2012

Yesterday was an eventful one for New Orleans with Eric Gordon deciding where he wants to spend the next four years. It wasn’t in the Louisiana region.

Good morning everyone, today we start you off with last night’s big news that involved Eric Gordon. For those of you not aware Gordon plans to sign an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns on July the 12th and says that it’s the right place for him.

Check out Joe Gerrity’s piece on the matter.

We also will get into what other free-agents have done, namely Deron Williams, as well as an update on the Hornets targets.

Eric Gordon Wants to Go To Phoenix

In a statement released to the national media yesterday, restricted free-agent Eric Gordon liked what he saw in Phoenix and decided it was the place he wanted to be. He intends to sign the offer sheet for a four year, $58 million contract.

In return, Hornets manager Dell Demps plans to meet with Gordon to try and see whether he wants to play in New Orleans. It seems that no matter the outcome the Hornets will match the Suns offer either in a sign and trade, or to keep him on the roster as a key player moving forward.

Reading the statement released by Gordon’s management it seems that there are two things that I take out of it.

1. Gordon saying his “heart is in Phoenix,” is a way to leverage themselves against the Hornets

2. This leverage is a shot back at New Orleans and management’s refusal to give Gordon a maximum contract in negotiations months ago.

It’s my belief, and this is speculation here, that Gordon and his agent were insulted the New Orleans didn’t give him a maximum deal months ago. The chance to go find work elsewhere was a welcomed opportunity. They only problem was that he was restricted. In order to get around this, his agent released a statement that voices his client’s appeasement in another city thereby forcing the Hornets hand into signing and trading him.

The problem with this from Gordon’s perspective is that the Hornets have been planning on keeping him, so this outburst of affinity outside the city of New Orleans is either a bad PR move or one that helps him leave at all costs.

It makes little sense though to worry about this for too long. Gordon has stated that he loves New Orleans and he’s told both Dell Demps and Monty Williams that he wants to be here. Either he’s a blatant liar or he’s forcing the Hornets hand.

I urge patience with this, but at the end of the day the Hornets hold all the cards.

Deron Williams Signs with Nets, No Chance of Howard Landing There

Via Twitter point-guard Deron Williams announced his decision to remain with the Nets and play alongside Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace.

My esteemed colleague Mason Ginsberg noted that it’s impossible for Dwight Howard to go to Brooklyn with the Nets using the non-taxpayer midlevel on Mirza Teletovic.

Can the Nets compete for a championship? Doubtful, especially with the Heat gaining playoff confidence. Though they should make a run or two in the playoffs.

Watching the Dominos Fall

Outside of Eric Gordon it appears that the Hornets front office is leaning towards patience over haste in free-agency. You can bet General Manager Dell Demps is taking his time.

Filling the Small-Forward and Center positions are a priority. Finding some solid value players after the frenzy will probably be what happens. Here’s hoping they don’t overpay for anyone.

Hornets Free-Agent Big Board

1. Eric Gordon

He’s still here and will be because the Hornets plan to match the Suns offer. Whether they sign and trade him remains to be seen. I think Eric needs to realize that New Orleans is now a bright destination. Sure there are rookies here, but in a couple years’ time this could be one of the better Western Conference teams.

2. Javale McGee (C) – RFA

McGee will stay here just because he’s such a hot commodity. Mark Kiszla wonders whether the Nuggets can even afford McGee which makes me wonder whether the Hornets will put in an offer. If Demps believes in McGee’s potential don’t be surprised if you hear the Hornets trying to secure an interview with the seven footer.

3. Nicolas Batum (SF) – RFA

Despite meeting with the Timberwolves and receiving a lucrative offer Batum stays in the third spot because he’s the most talented small-forward in free-agency. The Hornets will probably remain interested in securing an interview with Batum even if it appears to be back and forth between the Wolves and Blazers.

4. Jason Thompson (PF/C) – RFA (Previous: NA)

Moving up (and out of nowhere because I missed him) is forward Jason Thompson. The Kings are cash strapped and if an offer is just out of reach they may decide to let him go. The problem here is that Thompson appears to have limited room for growth and a heavy investment might be very unwise.

The Hornets need to make sure they don’t make too many long term investments.

5. Spencer Hawes (C) – UFA (Previous: 6)

Hawes moves up a spot because he could be a good value guy as he’s gone relatively unnoticed so far. That should change though once free-agents are swept up.

6. Ian Mahinmi (C) – UFA (Previous: NA)

The Million Dollar Man, Ian Mahinmi could be an excellent pickup for New Orleans if they plan on preserving cap-space for next years free-agent class. Even if they do pick up a center this offseason they could (and should) consider signing Ian as a valuable backup.

7. Carl Landry (PF) – UFA

Here is another player flying under the radar. This should please the Hornets because they could use Landry heading into the future. His toughness and leadership will be needed next season and he could help spell Anthony Davis.

The Celtics are a team that has shown interest.

8. Courtney Lee (SG) – UFA (Previous: Missing Cut)

The Houston Rockets withdrew their qualifying offer to Courtney Lee making him an unrestricted free-agent. This is great news because it’s rare that a 40-percent three point shooter who can also defend comes onto the market.

Maybe he gets to expensive but the Hornets should definitely inquire about his services.

9. Jeff Green (SF) – UFA (Previous: 4)

It appears that a Celtics and Jeff Green deal is imminent according to ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg. It will be a one-year $9 million deal.

10. Nick Young (SG) – UFA (Previous: 8)

Nick Young slips down a little bit, but because teams like the Lakers, Bulls and Clippers are interested it means that his price will be relatively cheap. The Hornets may need another guard (who knows how the next month will play out) and Young is a terrific scorer and shooter.

Missing the Cut

Goran Dragic, Ersan Ilyasova, Brandon Bass, Lance Thomas, Shannon Brown.

Previous Editions

Volume One

Volume Two

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