Tag: New Orleands Hornets

Chris Paul continues to say all the right things about New Orleans

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cpaul_points.jpgEver since Chris Paul sat down with the management from the Hornets, he’s done nothing but say the right things.

Maybe he is giving them a real chance. Maybe he realized he has little leverage now but will in a year (like Carmelo Anthony does now). Maybe he realized that his agent and people pushing for a trade in a semi-public way drove down his trade value. Maybe some combination of the above.

For now CP3 keeps saying the right things, as he did on the satellite radio station The Score when asked if New Orleans is where he wants to be.

“Yeah exactly.  That is where I am going to be.  I love it.  I love it.”

He goes on to rave about the city and it’s people. You’ll get enough of that tonight on Monday Night Football with the Saints, no need to go into it all here.

Paul may be able to push for a trade in a year (or whenever the lockout ends). He may decide not to. Really, until whatever happened with the ownership sale of the Hornets is more sorted out its not likely they would move the team’s one big draw and face of the marketing campaign.

So for now Paul is a Hornet. And still at least saying all the right things.

Lou Amundson still sits unsigned, with Earl Barron waiting behind him

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Thumbnail image for amundson_blog_090117_300.jpgRemember three weeks ago when Lou Amundson was going to sign with a team in just a few days? Yup, that’s moving about as fast as Los Angeles traffic.

The Hornets are the frontrunners, according to Alan Hahn at Newsday, although the Pacers and Warriors may still be in the mix. Other teams also may be in the mix. He clearly wants more money than a nice backup big who can rebound, hustle, and defend can get right now. He has value, but the lucrative part of that market has moved on. A lot of lesser players are accepting lesser deals now.

According to Hahn a favorite of some Knicks fans — Earl Barron — is in a holding pattern because of Amundson.

Barron will not be back with the Knicks. New York signed both Ronny Turiaf and Timofey Mozgov, and of course who could forget Eddie Curry is still on the roster. There is no need for another center. Mozgov is the Knicks Barron for a new generation.

Barron played well enough in seven games to win over Knicks fans — and get himself another shot somewhere. But right now teams that want a backup big are looking at Amundson. Once he is off the market, Barron stands a chance of getting a gig.

Someone should give the guy a chance. If you play well, you should get your chance. Right? But instead, we wait.

Hornets may make more moves to show Chris Paul they really care


Thumbnail image for hornets_logo.gifIt feels a little unfair to cast all New Orleans Hornets rumor in the “what does Chris Paul think?” category. But that is also the reality — keeping Chris Paul has to be a consideration in almost everything the Hornets do. It is Priority No. 1. And it should be Priority No. 2 also.

The Hornets made a move this summer to upgrade the play on the wings, bringing in Trevor Ariza and shooting guard Marco Belinelli.
But they had to ship out backup point guard Darren Collison to do it.

Which may mean they are not done dealing or signing, they still need a backup point guard and a backup center head coach Monty Williams told the Times-Picayune.

 “My gut feeling is that we are not done yet, ” Williams said. “[General manager] Dell [Demps] and I share information on both sides. I talk to him about players and he talks to me about things we can do. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we work so well together.

More players will be helpful, but Williams needs to get more out of the guys he’s got to help get the Hornets back to the playoffs this year. That starts with Emeka Okafor, who seemed to float through last season a little and not find a comfort zone with this team. He needs to provide more of a balance for these Hornets, some inside to go with Paul and the improved outside.

Which is to say — the answers to some of the Hornets concerns may come from inside, not another move.

But some, like a backup for Paul, do indeed come from the outside.

The Hornets other trade today

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Thumbnail image for hornets_logo.gifWhile you were focused on that little deal where Darren Collison goes out and Trevor Ariza comes in, Hornets general manager Dell Demps was making another deal, according to Marc Stein.

ESPN.com sources: Hornets and Raptors have also agreed to a separate trade that will send Julian Wright to Toronto for Marco Belinelli

Okay, not exactly a blockbuster.

Wright tweeted during the season that he wished he had been traded at the deadline, that he thought all he needed was a change of scenery. Well, New Orleans to Toronto is a real change of scenery. Wright is a pretty good wing defender (don’t worry, Toronto will make sure he forgets) and a pretty athletic guy who can get to the rim. Needs to prove he can knock down the outside shot. But he should get a chance to prove what he can do in Toronto.

Belinelli is a guard and from Italy who is kind of thought of as a catch-and-shoot guy, which he is pretty good at if he is taking those from three (37.7 percent last year on catch-and-shoot threes). Ask him to do much else, and it’s not terribly efficient. He also gets a fresh start and a chance to prove himself.

Chris Paul is simply the latest consumer of the NBA arms race that started in Boston


cpaul_sits.jpgIn 2007, the Spurs won their fourth title inside of a decade. They defeated a LeBron James-led Cavs team that featured Sasha Pavlovic as the fifth-leading scorer on the team. The arguable second-best team was the Phoenix Suns who would immediately begin a spiral based off of the hyper-reactive initial moves of Steve Kerr. The Mavericks were in there, with Josh Howard as a pivotal component, a player who now has yet to secure a team for next season.

The Spurs were masters of overcoming odds but were not considered dominant, despite their jewelry. There was parity, there was dilution, there was no true superpower.

And then the arms race began. In reality, we can trace all of this back to Joe Barry Carroll.  Carroll was such an attractive first round pick that the Warriors traded the rights to the third-overall pick to Boston. While Carroll would wind up flittering in and out of the league and Italy, the Celtics would use that third-overall on Kevin McHale in 1980. 27 years later, McHale would trade Kevin Garnett to the Celtics for a platter of players, the crown jewel of which was just traded for a series of late first-round picks.

Boston acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to go along with Paul Pierce. And a new superpower was born. The Celtics’ power was pretty evident from the start. Torching the league up and down. Until the new year. The Lakers, having barely survived a near-Kobe-trade-demand meltdown realized that they had to improve. That good wasn’t good enough. And then somehow, the Grizzlies helped create Voltron 2. With Pau Gasol in place, the Lakers immediately became #1a in the league. This was in addition to Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, and Lamar Odom, mind you. Later, the Celtics would add Nate Robinson and Rasheed Wallace. The Lakers would add Ron Artest for the MLE.

Good? Good was now average. Great was now “pretty good.” And elite was the standard.

And that’s how it went for three years. The Cavs would try and add value players without ever going for the home run. The Nuggets and Mavs would each make moves they thought would bring them to the elite level. More and more you’d hear the phrases “what they need to beat the Lakers/Celtics.” It was no longer about building a complete roster, it was imperative to get as much size and as much talent. That’s always the goal of building a team, right? Previously the idea was one superstar, one supporting star, and then role players. Now you needed multiple superstars just to compete.

Which brings us to this summer. After three years of watching teams with that kind of starpower win titles while they wallowed with one-star teams, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James elected to no longer stand by and watch other teams go to battle with that kind of firepower. They combined their forces and now have a team that should challenge those other elite teams. (Boston has to get old at some point, right? Right? Right?!)

And sure, the world hates them. Chicago. New York. New Jersey. Especially Cleveland, with the fire of a million suns. But past the terrible PR moves and the horrendous decision making and the woeful soundbites is a sense that these three aren’t trendsetters. They’re not doing anything unheard of. They’re simply taking the game they’ve been handed and upping the stakes.

Which brings us to Chris Paul. Paul has been a model citizen for years. In 2008, with the Hornets pushing the Spurs to seven games, the future couldn’t be brighter. But since then, he’s watched two things. He’s seen his own team spiral into the frustrating position Cleveland and Miami have been, and he’s seen three of his best friends team up to combat the team of older veterans he’s seen dominate the league. And Paul wants a piece. Paul understands the new world that Boston and LA have created, and wants a piece of it. Paul’s not asking for a trade to anywhere with solid collections of talent. He wants to slide into a contender. He’s seen the present, and the present means starpower.

Amar’e already made multiple pitches for another Big 3. The Magic are trying to formulate as such. And the Lakers and Celtics are still the favorites, along with the Heat. This arms race is in full swing. Driving up contract prices, making franchises desperate, and forcing small market superstars to position themselves on superteams.

Most blame selfishness, laziness, desperation for the behavior of this group of friends and their multi-star machinations. But in reality, they’re simply products of their environment. Chris Pauls’ potential trade was put in motion decades ago. You can even start with Joe Barry Carroll.