Rampant Speculation and Trades

Published: June 8, 2009

The Hornets will need to cut about 10million in salary space.  With a Salary Cap around 55 Million next year, the following teams will be significantly below the cap and able to take on salary freely next season:

  • Atlanta – 40 Mil, Qualifying offer to Marvin Williams for 7Mil outstanding
  • Detroit – 34 Mil
  • Memphis – 34 Mil
  • OKC – 42 Mil
  • Raptors – 45 Mil

There will probably be about half a dozen teams or so vying for their cap space, so whatever deals the Hornets offer are going to have to trump the offers made by any other team.  That means, of course, that we shouldn’t be expecting any deals that make us fans particularly happy.  That’s reality, let’s suck it up, folks. 

So, this post is Rampant Speculation and some simple examples of the sort of trades we’ll probably be facing in the off-season.  They range from cringe-worthy to interesting, but there are some trade options amongst those five teams.

First, some things about those five teams for you to remember when you go off to make your own trades up:

  • OKC already rejected Chandler once – and there aren’t any assets the Hornets will be offering that would excite them much. 
  • Memphis has some bad financial issues, so they aren’t going to take on salary unless they get a very good offer.
  • Detroit has no pieces that are particularly attractive.  Hamilton is past his prime and with a long contract – Prince is very well paid for what he does, and the rest of his team aren’t even necessarily starters.  Plus, they are eyeing Free Agents like Boozer and Millsap with their cap space.
  • Atlanta hasn’t been too keen to make trades due to their confused ownership situation.  Their biggest need is also at point guard – which means the Hornets ain’t playing.
  • Toronto – They could be intriguing.  I’ll get to that.

Some Simple Cost Cutters

So here are some very simple trades to save the Hornets big gobs of money.  These can be a bit painful, so brace yourself.

  1. Tyson Chandler to Atlanta or Detroit or Toronto for their first round pick.  Memphis and OKC’s picks are 2nd and 3rd respectively, and most likely won’t be available for Chandler alone.(especially OKC)  Saves about 9.5-10 Million.
  2. Tyson Chandler and Rasual Butler to Detroit for Amir Johnson and Will Bynum.  Amir has a lot of hype – and Bynum was decent in limited minutes last season.  I wouldn’t expect much, though. Saves 10.5 Mil.
  3. David West and Rasual Butler to Memphis for Rudy Gay.  Memphis’s biggest lack is a power forward, and Butler will serve as a small forward in Gay’s stead.  The Hornets get Cap space – and a scorer on the wings.  And make their big man problem worse.  Ugly, because Gay is very overrated as a scorer(1.18 points per shot), and West is the opposite. Saves about 9 Mil.

Those are really the best possible scenarios I could come up with simple trades.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tyson Chandler traded to OKC for a second round draft pick or something.

One Interesting Possibility

In my opinion Toronto is probably the Hornet’s best trading partner.  Why?  Because they have a premier star they are willing to move, as well as cap space.  If the Hornets want to put together a deadly one-two scoring punch, they may have an opportunity here to do so. 

Toronto also has a few things on their wishlist that the Hornets may be able to provide:  A real center, wings to replace free agents Marion and Anthony Parker, and a backup point guard.  Toronto also wants to shed Kapono’s contract – or Marcus Banks contract with whatever trade they do make.

I like two different offers for Bosh, and I think each offer has its attractive and negative qualities for Toronto.

Chris Bosh 15.8 Mil and Jason Kapono, 6.2 Mil, total 22 Mil for:

  • Option 1:  Tyson Chandler, 11.8 Mil, James Posey 6.0 Mil, Hilton Armstrong, 2.8Mil expiring, Rasual Butler, 3.9 Mil expiring, Antonio Daniels, 6.6 Mil expiring, 31.1 Mil total
  • Evaluation: Toronto can push Bargnani, whom they feel is a Power Forward, into the starting lineup next to Chandler.  Rasual Butler and Posey, joined by a re-signed Marion or free agent, would provide a solid wing rotation and give Calderon shooters.  Daniels would give them a back up point until/if Roko Ukic figures things out.  Hilton provides them with a back up center – which they don’t have now.  To sweeten it all – Chandler’s deal runs as long as Bosh’s and is much smaller.  Posey’s is longer, but they’ll need a tough wing player next to Bargnani, and Butler, Daniels and Armstrong are all expiring after the season.
  • The Hornets Get: a Class A scorer who isn’t the best big man match with their current power forward, a gaping hole at the wing, two crappy(probably) seasons of Kapono, and 90% of the cap space relief they needed in return.
  • The Final Question for Toronto:  Is Ditching Kapono’s contract and acquiring Chandler and Posey worth losing Bosh and pushing their cap flexibility to next summer?  I’m inclined to think not.


  • Option 2: Tyson Chandler, 11.8 Mil, David West 9 Mil, Rasual Butler, 3.9 Mil and Antonio Daniels, 6.6 Mil expiring, 31.3 Mil total
  • Evaluation:  Toronto picks up an All-Star in exchange for Bosh, a good center, a backup point to fill in until Roko Ukic steps up, and Rasual Butler to shoot from the wing position.  This doesn’t solve their Bargnani situation, but West can easily be moved again for a wing scorer and allow Bargnani to enter the starting lineup.
  • The Hornets Get: a Class A scorer, a gaping hole at the center position,  two crappy seasons of Kapono(probably), and 90% of the cap space relief they needed in return.
  • The Final Question for Toronto:  Is ditching Kapono’s contract and acquiring West and Chandler worth losing Bosh and reducing cap flexibility greatly over the next two summers?  I’d say so.  I’d almost ask them to swap draft picks too if I were the Hornets.

If the first trade happened, I’d sit on Peja(after trying my damnedest to pry a long-contract swingman out of GS) – running out a lineup of Bosh/West/Peja/Kapono/Paul.  The bench would again be weak, since they’d be reduced to Wright/Brown/Peterson, a rookie, and whatever minimum salaries they can sign, but that’s a scary scoring lineup – if not much on the boards.

If the second trade happened, I’d burn up the lines to the Sixers, trying to get them to take Peja for Dalembert in the hopes of rolling out Dalembert/Bosh/Posey/Kapono/Paul, with Armstrong/Wright/Peterson/Brown, a rookie and some minimum contracts off the bench.

Bad benches in both situations, but the team would then be committed to a Paul-Bosh core.  Both players are young, 25 and 24 years old respectively.  In a season or two, bad contracts will leach off around them, and with judicious selection of a rebounder,a slasher, and some shooters, the team could be downright scary.

Oh – and just cause I like to share, my fantasy series of trades – none of which are beyond the realm of believability:

  • Chandler/Posey/Armstrong/Daniels/1st round pick to Toronto for Bosh/Kapono.  Sheds 5.2 Mil in salary.
  • West/Butler to Memphis for Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick.  Sheds 6.7 Mil in Salary.
  • Peja to Philly for Samuel Dalembert.  Sheds 2 Mil in Salary.
  • Total savings of 13.9 Million in Salary

Depth Chart
C: Dalembert/Marks(resigned minimum)
PF: Bosh/Warrick
SF: Gay/Kapono
SG: Wright/Peterson
PG: Paul/Pargo(If he re-signs at 3 mil per year, dropping savings to 10.9 Mil)

That would be sweet.  So – what would be your own makeovers?  To see salary numbers, use Hoopshype(an essential) to figure it out.

Best makeover wins a mural made out of Niall Doherty’s toenail clippings.

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