A Piece to Our Puzzle?

Published: February 12, 2011

With the NBA Trade Deadline slowly approaching, and with the recent article from Dell Demps ( http://hoopdat.blogspot.com/2011/01/q-session-with-new-orleans-hornets-gm.html ) in regards to what the Hornets are looking for this season, I decided to take a look at each individual team, and what types of deals we could potential muster this season.

In the article, Demps is reportedly looking for”a ‘dynamic big man.’ In particular, he said that he hopes to acquire a solid rebounder who is very active inside, and someone who has already proven himself in the NBA. It seems as if he isn’t looking to roll the dice on an unproven player with upside, but instead someone who has already shown what he can do at this level on a consistent basis.”

In a separate conversation with J Michael Falgoust of USA Today, Demps told Falgoust that financially, he was looking for a big man that had a salary in the mid level exemption, meaning somewhere between 3 million, to possibly 7-8 million at the most, I would assume. (Falgoust tweeted this information to me after his interview with Demps).

With this information, we can garner what we are looking for, and what we aren’t. The fact that Demps wants a veteran player who is established in the league in some way, it makes me hesitant to think that players such as Brandon Wright or Jason Thompson are on his list. So instead, I analyzed what each and every team has to offer under what Demps is looking for. I placed triple stars in front of the teams with which I feel would be best suited for us to work with, and who have the best assets for us.



I don’t see them giving up Zaza Pachulia in any circumstance, but the Hawks do have a few serviceable big men in Jason Collins, Josh Powell, and Etan Thomas. The only problem with these big men is that I struggle to see how they would be an improvement over MBenga or Smith. Also, due to their low contracts, I find it difficult to understand why Atlanta would trade them unless we would offer Smith in return. And that situation doesn’t make us better, only leaves us with another player that will take a long time to integrate. I truthfully don’t see the Hawks making any moves before the deadline.


We can dream of Kendrick Perkins. Or even Big Baby, Luke Harangody or Semih Erden. Or we can be realistic. Jermaine Oneal would be the most realistic option from this squad. At $5,765,000, and a two year contract, I wouldn’t surprised if Demps offered the expiring conracts of Marcus Banks and David Anderson for Oneal. The problem? Oneal has tons of physical issues that don’t allow him to play even 3 games in a row. Even though he’d be a great addition, his health problems make me wonder if he’d be worth it when other options are also available. Another thing to keep in mind in regards to the Celtics is that they ARE looking for a SG/SF, now that they had the injury to Marquis Daniels. And we do have a few movable pieces in Marco, Marcus, Quincy, and Green.


Can’t you picture CP throwing lobs to Tyrus Thomas? Well, stop. It’s not happening. Charlotte is very happy with Thomas there, and see him as a player they want to build with and around. He is the only untouchable on the roster. I would have LOVED Nazr Mohammad on this team. The guy is a Blue Collar guy, who has been a class act in this league for as long as I can remember. He’d be a great fit, no question about it. But with the season ending injury to Desegana Diop, and with Mohammad announcing he wants to retire in Charlotte, I have a tough time believing we can land him. Especially since he too is in the final season of his contract. So unless we go after a package of Jackson/Mohammad/Carroll, I don’t see Charlotte doing business with us for JUST Mohammad. IF we made a deal with Charlotte, I think this would be Marcus Thorntons IDEAL location to be moved. He’d turn into Michael Jordans love child within a week of being here, and give a lot of excitement to a young core of Wallace, Thomas, and Augustine.


The Bulls are having a great season. I find it hard to see them making a deal unless it’s for a quality starting shooting guard. And although I’m fond of Taj Gibson, I don’t think I’d trade Belinelli/Thornton for him, and I don’t think the Bulls would either. Unless we can mix in a three team trade where Mayo lands in Chicago, I don’t see us lucky enough to land Gibson.


The Cavs actually have a few pieces that would fit rather nicely in our rotation. Ryan Hollins would offer an athletic shot blocking big man who could really run the floor. Leon Powe would give us a skilled low post scorer who’s a great pick and roll player, and banger. J.J. Hickson would be a very dynamic young player for us that we could foresee as a future replacement to David West. Varajao is done for the year, so anything involving him seems farfetched for us. The only problem with dealing with the Cav’s is that they are looking to package players to acquire a new face to their franchise, or to acquire as many draft picks to go young. We COULD package Willie Green, Aaron Gray, Marcus Banks, and David Anderson for Antawn Jamison, but… Is that really worth the money? Our dream scenario would be for Jamison to be bought out so we can sign him for the rest of the season.


The Pistons as a franchise are in complete disarray. Their financial situation is difficult with multiple players in long term BLOATED contracts. Detroit’s best bet is to clear cap space this season and move out their veterans to build for the future. If they could find a taker for Rip Hamiltons and Jason Maxiells contracts, they could be a player in the free agency market in the next few summers, and would have more money to offer Tayshaun Prince to convice him to remain their Palace Prince. Which brings me to Maxiell… Of all the options available, Jason Maxiell is the closest fit to being EXACTLY what Monty is looking for. He is an established veteran, a blue collar player who has made his name as a rebounder, shot blocker, and finisher around the basket. His contract is mid level at $5 million a year for this year, and again next year. When he played alongside Billups, he was deadly off the pick and roll because he clears so much space with his wide body. And at 27 years of age, he is still relatively young. For us, he’d be the bruiser we need off the bench, like a more mature Dejaun Blair or Big Baby Davis, and actually slides in very nicely next to Jason Smith. A deal of Marcus Banks and Aaron Gray would land Maxiell easily. And the key to this deal is that because Maxiell would be in the final year of his contract at the end of this season, if he doesn’t work out, he quickly becomes a GREAT, movable asset with his mid level contract, for a team looking for a solid big off the bench next season. The only problem with Maxiell is that it just isn’t a sexy move.


I’ve thought about this over and over again. I just don’t see us having anything that the Pacers want at this point. They are looking for their own “Pau Gasol” type of deal with their expiring contracts. Some might say “Solomon Jones!” But why? Why would the PACERS do that? And for what? Aaron Gray? I’m pretty sure they’d rather keep the streaking Jones. But we have done business with them in the past. So maybe if we can somehow use them in another multi team trade to get what we are looking for.


Udonis Haslem is the TYPE of player I think we’re looking for. But Udonis Haslem is out for the season, and I don’t see the Heat trading Udonis Haslem after they gave him a 5 year contract. If we could somehow swing a deal of Green, Anderson, Gray, Banks, and Belinelli for Wade, I think I’d do that though. =)


Who in their right mind would give Drew Gooden a 5 year, $35+ million contract? The Bucks, thats who. Goodens a solid big. He doesn’t play very much defense, but hes a great rebounder and scorer. (I’ve also met him, and the guys one of the coolest, nicest cats you’ll ever meet. Just smooth like Lamar Odom). I would take Gooden if they threw in Larry Sanders. But I don’t see them doing that. And it just makes little sense to pick up a guy with that kind of contract.


If the whole Melo deal completely falls through, which it looks like its going to, I would REALLY like to see the Hornets push to land Troy Murphy. He’d be a great fit on this team, and would be great in the rotation with West and Okafor. He’s a solid low post defender, a good scorer in the post, and can step outside and nail the three. A skill that comes in really handy in the playoffs when it forces bigs like Bynum and Gasol to chase shooters like Murphy and West out to the perimeter, and give CP room to attack the basket. It MIGHT take a 3 team trade to land Murphy. But it also might not. He is in the final year of his contract thats paying him nearly $12 million, so there isn’t a lot of incentive for the Nets to deal him other than he isn’t happy there. I also feel that the Nets would hesitate to trade Murphy to New Orleans because they are one of the many teams praying to land CP. Our best bet with Murphy would be if the Nets decide to buy him out as the deadline passes, and a deal could not be made to ship him out.


The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m sure that there is no way the Knicks will make a move with the Hornets. The only potential deal I could picture them doing is Anthony Randolph for a future unprotected first round pick in 2014. And the reason I say this is because they would be thinking that Chris Paul would be out of New Orleans by then, in a Knick uniform, and the slumping Hornets would offer the Knicks one hell of a pick on what will already be a loaded roster. Either way, Turiaf is more along the lines of what we’re looking for right now, not Randolph… Even with that amazing athletic potential.


The Magic are in the same boat as the Knicks. Why do a deal with us when they’d rather take FROM US. Bass would be great, but realistically, it’s not happening.


Ahh… I struggle every time I go over this team. I desperately would have loved to see Andre Iguodala in a Hornet uniform alongside Paul, West, Okafor, and Ariza. It would have been a DYNAMITE defensive roster. But, I need to move past that now. Marreese Speights would be a great addition if we could get him. But I think we’d have to take back a big contract of theirs to get him so I don’t know if it be worth it. Other than that… I don’t think I want Songaila back.


You know, if we had included Amir Johnson in the Peja deal, I wouldn’t be writing all this right now!


The Wiz did state earlier this season that they were open to trading Andre Blatche and Javale McGee after their little incident outside of a club. But I have a hard time believing they’d really trade McGee. And in all honesty, I see the Wiz doing something really random like trading Blatche and Lewis to the Cav’s to bring Jamison back, and land Anderson Verajao. Yes, Verajao is out for the season due to injury, but the Wiz won’t even be making the playoffs this season, let alone winning a title, so the deal would make sense for them, AND for the Cavs. We could try to get Hilton Armstrong back though? But… Demps said DNYAMIC big man. So maybe not.



There is no way in hell the Mavs would do us a favor and give us Brendan Haywood or Tyson Chandler just to have us kick the crap out of them in the playoffs for it. I feel a sense of SERIOUS rivalry between the Mavs. I just don’t ever see them doing any deals with us.


Denver’s got a few pieces that could work for us. They’re not IDEAL. But they could work. Chris Anderson would fit everything Demps is looking for… Except for the fact that he’s a potential problem due to his past. We have a good group of guys on this team, and Anderson doesn’t seem to fit with what we currently have personality wise. The other potential is Al Harrington. He’s not a great defender, but he’s tough and physical, and a solid rebounder and scorer. But his contract is tough to swallow. It’s the same contract as Drew Gooden, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why a team would sign a guy for 5 years when he’s nothing more than a back up big man and already 30 years old. Either way, the Nuggets are a team to keep a close eye on because of the Melo sitaution. I don’t think they’d hand us Nene, but we could get a solid player from them if we’re patient.


The Warriors have a lot of pieces that I find very intriguing for us. Andres Beindrins would be a GREAT pick up if we could land him. My only worry is that due to our financial situation, I find it hard to believe the League would allow us to acquire his contract that still owes him $35+ million over the next 4 years. After Beindrins, I can’t help but look at Lou Amundson and wonder if the Warriors would deal him since he is falling out of favor in the rotation due to the emergence of Ekpe Udoh. The Hornets were actually players in possibly acquiring Amundson in the off season, so it would make sense to me for them to still have interest in him. The other option would be Radmanovic. I think he’d be tougher to acquire, but I think Vlad Rad would fit nicely on our squad. His versatility would be a great asset for us in that he can play the 3 and the 4, and could spread the floor for CP. He isn’t a great 1 on 1 defender, but has a high basketball IQ, and is a great team defender, especially in a zone (If you don’t believe me, look back to Phil Jacksons compliments of Vlad while he was part of the Lakers. Remember, he started ahead of Ariza the year the Lakers lost in the finals to the Celtics). If we were looking for a young player, Udoh and Wright would be near the top of our list.


The Rockets are another team that has a few nice options for the Hornets. With the emergence of Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill could potentially be available. He’d be a solid back up now, and in the future for David West. Jared Jeffries is another possible good fit. My only quarrel is that I don’t know if we have anything that the Rockets want. Meaning, unless it’s part of a multi-team deal, I don’t know if we’ll be doing straight up business with them this season.


Let’s just try and avoid dreaming of CP alley-ooping to Blake Griffin to avoid the heart ache of reality. It ain’t happening. Same goes for DeAndre Jordan. Chris Kaman, on the other hand, is a possibility. I just don’t know if we have what the Clippers want in return for him. I think a more viable trading parter for the Clips would be Detroit, who could ship either Hamilton or Prince out to LA for CK. We could try to land a guy like Craig Smith, or Brian Cook. But even still, I don’t know what we have that would entice to Clips to strike a deal.


Aside from trying to land Sasha Vujacic before he got traded, the Lakers and Hornets are probably two of the most unlikely teams to make a deal. The Hornets are looking to upgrade. The Lakers are looking to win a title and have no need for what the Hornets have to offer… Unless of course there was talk of a Bynum for Chris Paul deal in the works. Which we DON’T want to hear about. I do expect the Lakers to make a deal before the deadline. Keep your ears peeled for a Bynum/Melo deal, or a three team trade that lands Kirk Hinrich in a Laker uniform.


Memphis is a team that is looking to deal NOW. But the fact that they are in the same division as us makes a deal with them highly unlikely. Unless we decided to take back Zach Randolph and give them Okafor, I just don’t see them doing business with us. It’s a shame too. Because they have reportedly been shopping Hasheem Thabeet. Someone who VERY much resembles a young Tyson Chandler. Expect the Grizz to move Mayo before the deadline, with teams like Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, Denver, and New York as possible destinations for him.


This team could potentially be a sleeper team for us to make a move with. I am actually very fond of young Center Nikola Pekovic, whom I think is a very tough and physical presence in the paint, who would serve VERY well behind Okafor, and alongside a passer like Chris Paul. And since the Wolves have a few pieces they would like to move, such Martell Webster, or Corey Brewer, deal could be made. If the Hornets offered the Expiring Contracts of Banks, Jason Smith, and rookie Pondextor or Marcus Thornton, I think the Wolves have a hard time saying no. Only problem is that there will be a few other teams looking hard to make a deal with them as well.


I feel like a rivalry is slowly starting to brew between the Hornets and Thunder. Especially after the last game where you could visibly see the disdain Russell Westbrook has for Chris Paul. Meaning, any future deals involving the Thunder have deteriorated since Peterson deal this past summer.


A lot of you have displayed your interest in Hakim Warrick. I just have a hard time believing that the Suns will deal him just because he’s playing less. With teams like the Mavs and the Lakers in the West, size is CRUCIAL for teams to have, especially skilled size (soemthing we OURSELVES are looking for). So why would Phoenix trade away such a solid rotation of bigs in Lopez, Gortat, Fry, and Warrick unless they were getting something REALLY good in return? The only way I see Phoenix working with us is if we were to take back Josh Childress’ contract with Warrick. But with our financial situation, do any of you find that as being an option? To seal off any other potential deals, the Suns have announced they wont be making anymore moves til the offseason.


We have already done some work with the Blazers, and I think that was in part due to the fact that Demps and Monty have ties to the organization. I’m pretty sure that we would all be beyond thrilled if we could somehow pry away Marcus Camby from the Blazers. But with so many injuries to their front line, I have a tough time seeing them move him. Same goes for Joel Pryzbilla. But if the Hornets were to offer a package that give the Blazers a big man in return, I CAN picture the teams striking a deal. Jason Smith and Marcus Banks might get that deal done. Only problem? Joel is as injury prone as anyone in the league. I can picture us landing him, and the 2nd game in for us, his foot falling off and he has to retire. Probably not the safest route for us to take.


I look at the Kings as one of the teams that is MOST LIKELY to make a move before the deadline. They have quite a few really nice pieces on their roster that would be of better fit on other teams. I think we’d be interested in any of their big men, whether it be Samuel Dalembert, Jason Thompson, or Carl Landry. In Dalemberts case, I think a move for him would EXTREMELY difficult because of the amount of bodies that need to be given up to make the move work. My reasoning for this is we have a lot of people who are REALLY jelling with this team now (like David Andersen, Willie Green), who would have to be included to make this deal happen. Would you really give up 4 bodies that KNOW the system, and are used to playing with Paul for ONE guy who’s gonna jet at the end of the season? Carl Landry and Jason Thompson seem like much more viable options to me. We’d have to take back Francisco Garcia’s contract to acquire of these 2 big men, but I actually feel that Garcia would fit VERY nicely on our team, and wouldn’t mind having him as a back up 3 man for Ariza. The deal that I see the Kings being MOST interested in making with us would be for Banks, Thornton, and Jason Smith, with Carl Landry and Garcia comes to NOLA. The Kings know that Landry wont stay with the team. Smith gives them a new big man who serves as a better fit only playing 10-15 minutes a game, time Landry isn’t happy with. Banks gives them an expiring contract. Thornton makes the deal happen. Marcus TORCHED the Kings earlier in the season, and I’m sure he left quite an impression. And since Paul Westphal LOVES to play Evans at the point (which is the stupidest coaching decision I’ve yet seen) Marcus slides in seamlessly as a starter for the team ahead of Udrih. Whether it’s with us, or another team, expect to see the Kings VERY active come deadline.


The Spurs are storming through the NBA and playing superb basketball. The parts we’d be interested in are not for sale, and I don’t see this team breaking up something that is such a well oiled machine. Don’t expect them to make ANY moves until after the season.


The Jazz are another “rival” of the Hornets. Even with the recent retirement of Sloan, I find it hard to picture them making any deals with the Hornets. Especially if they are on eggshells with Deron Williams potentially leaving the team for greener pastures. How pissed would he be if the Jazz made a deal with the Hornets that put us over the top, and sent us to the Western Conference finals against the Lakers, while the Jazz get knocked first round? He’s already jealous of CP. That would only make it worse. As much as I’d love to nab Milsap, Jefferson, Kirilenko, or Okur, just to see D Will cry, I don’t see the Jazz working with us.


I apologize for such a long article. This took quite a bit of time to put together, but I hope the information was found useful to any of the readers.

I feel that the Hornets WILL make some kind of move. But I also struggle to see them making a move that will be a HUGE impact such as a deal for Dalembert, Camby, Jamison, or Murphy. The pieces I expect to see moved are:

1. Marcus Banks expiring contract

2. One perimeter player (Green. Thornton. Belinelli. Pondextor)

We have a glut of shooting guards on the team, and I think moving one would be an ideal situation for us so that all roles can be specifically defined, and players can finally find consistent minutes in the rotation. I am starting to feel that we WONT move Gray, Anderson, or Smith. They all are finding their niche on this team, and though we don’t have extremely skilled size, I think the fact that we have multiple decent bodies that fit well under certain circumstance, can make up for our lack of skill, and can give us an advantage come playoffs. Gray offers HUGE size to bang with the bigger teams such as the Lakers. Anderson and Smith offer agile bigs who spread the floor and force shot blocker to play away from the basket and give CP room to attack, and DWest a wide lane to post up. I think when we do acquire a new big, Mbenga will be dropped. So unless we get a deal that we just CANT pass up, and need the contracts to match up, I don’t see us moving one of those 3 bigs, and instead see one of our guards being shipped out alongside Banks expiring contract. It makes perfect sense when considering what Demps is looking for, and how it fits in the price range.

The only question left is… Which one will it be?


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