Thoughts on the Hornets After Chris Paul

Published: December 14, 2011

I love this deal. Love. It. I defended Stern when he reportedly vetoed the last one (as the owner) because he didn’t like the direction it was headed, and I feel completely validated now. This deal makes me roughly 75 times as happy to be a Hornets fan and writer. I was sitting there after the Lakers deal thinking, “Wow. I guess I’m just going to cover a decidedly non-competing team for the next five years or so.”


The Clippers deal means the Hornets have a chance at greatness. Eric Gordon can be a franchise player. Realistically Minnesota could be terrible if someone gets injured, or still downright bad if nobody does. Al- Farouq Aminu is a former lottery pick who could easily start within two years. Chris Kaman is a solid veteran on the last year of a contract that he’s more than worth.

More on Eric Gordon from Grantland

Management right now can do a few things. For one, they could try to be good this year. That’s a wild thought, especially considering that they weren’t very good last year and just lost the longtime franchise cornerstone. I’m not saying the Hornets could be great or anything, but realistically if this team added some veteran free agents (Landry, anyone?), they could make the playoffs and give someone some trouble in a game or two in the first round. That would be great experience for a guy like Gordon to have, especially if he leads the team there, and could pave the way for a bigger name free agent to join the squad in 2012 free agency.

Or there’s the other end of the spectrum–

Demps and company could be decidedly terr…. err… developing youngsters. Yeah, that’s it. If they want to “develop our youngsters”, all they would really need to do is trade Okafor and Ariza elsewhere for young raw players, bad contracts and/or picks, then watch as our “developing youngsters” (at least two of whom have about 48 hours total to learn Monty’s system before preseason games start and won’t have time to practice during the season) struggle to win 15 games out of the 66. We’d be terrible, sure, but that’s kind of how you tank.


I was trying not to say tank.

Well, now that it’s out there, let’s be real. Gordon by himself isn’t going to get you to 20 wins this season, even if he had an entire camp. Next year’s draft is supposed to be one of the best years. If it’s possible to shed your long term contracts for young talent AND ensure that you get to take at least one shot at landing a perennial all-star to put next to Gordon, I say you do it. There’s the chance Minnesota will compete for a playoff spot this year, and that means that the pick might not result in a lottery pick.

Plus, this is the best year to tank ever! Instead of watching likely losses in person for 41 regular season games, fans would only be subjected to watching 34 times, even counting the preseason.

Competing for a playoff spot is a lot of fun. I really do like to watch young guys play hard and outperform general expectations, but not at the expense of the potential for greatness. Not if it means that we give up the best chance that the team has to truly compete for NBA titles. The Hornets have a young star and the potential to pair him with not one, but maybe TWO more guys on rookie scale deals. They will be developing under Monty Williams and his assistants having never personally known the hardships that the Hornets organization has faced over the past decade.

Let Gordon roll with a team of young guys who may one day be good or may one day be bad, but will certainly be bad this year. That’s how you ensure you get at least one top four pick to pair with Gordon.

It’s ok to be bad as long as you’re going somewhere. In this case we would be.

Whether or not you want the team to try to win as many games as possible this year, it’s a great day to be a Hornets fan.


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