Looking ahead to the offseason and beyond as Demps

Published: March 31, 2011

This offseason should be very interesting for Dell Demps.  After the Hornets’ season is done, there will be many questions concerning David West, Carl Landry, and other possible free agents. 

There are several ways that I may approach this.  A Balance is needed in trying to keep Chris Paul happy while realizing that the Hornets are unlikely to win a championship next year anyway.  There are very few impact free agents available this summer and the Hornets do not have a first round draft pick.  Greg Oden and Yao Ming are some of the biggest names left, but I doubt either of them would play more than 35 games next season.    

With the David West injury, the need to resign Carl Landry was increased.  However, if Carl Landry keeps playing well, the Hornets could be pressured to give a larger contract to Landry.  I do not believe that Demps can offer both West and Landry large contracts and be able to add more pieces unless he trades one or the other in a couple of years.   That being said, I do believe that West exercising his player option would be best for both parties.  However, I would be open to offering West and/or Landry a similar contract with a 2-3 year length.   

If I were Demps, I would keep an eye on the 2012 free-agent class, particularly Dwight Howard.  He has always wanted to play with Chris Paul so the team should take a look at attracting him here.  Dwyane Wade was able to get Lebron and Bosh to play with him after the Heat had average seasons, at best.  Assuming that Howard would be interested, Okafor’s contract would need to be purged somehow.  I’m thinking a trade or a sign-and-trade with West or Landry.  Cap space this summer would need to be managed carefully in order for this to have a chance and Ariza’s and Okafor’s contracts are the only big multiyear deals on the books.  To make this deal work, Hopefully, Chris Paul’s name will be added to that list.  Most of the other deals are expiring contracts or will be expiring contracts by 2012.  Quincy Pondexter’s rookie contract is very reasonable.  Since he is team’s lone young prospect, his development will be essential to the Hornets’ success next season.  He will need to push Ariza for playing time and hopefully Ariza will improve as a result of the competition.

I do not believe that Demps would consider trading Chris Paul in the offseason and I don’t believe that he should.  With no Paul or West at the beginning of the season, ticket sales would be even lower than they were earlier this season and the Hornets would stand no chance of getting 10,000 season ticket commitments.   Since Demps came onboard, he has been all in on building around Paul and this plan could make or break a championship caliber team. 

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