Tag: New Orleans Hornets


Hornets lose another big man, Gray to become free agent


First it was the expected news that David West is going opt out of his deal with the Hornets to test the market.

Now comes news that backup center Aaron Gray will follow suit, via Yahoo’s Marc Spears on twitter. Gray was set to make $1.1 million in the last year of his deal but will now look for a bigger payday.

Combine Gray and West with Carl Landry being a free agent and your big men currently on the Hornets roster are Emeka Okafor and… well, there is no and. Okafor is it. No other big men are under contract for next season.

Clearly they need to get some size via free agency. They drafted Kentucky center Josh Harrelison but sold the pick to the Knicks. And he is not exactly the answer anyways.

The question is, with the team owned by the league and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming, how much will GM Dell Demps be able to spend?

David West opts out of contract, hits free agent market

Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Hornets

If this were any year in the last five, what David West is doing would be a no brainer.

But this year, heading into a lockout followed by a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, he is taking a risk.

David West has told the New Orleans Hornets he is opting out of the final year of his $7.5 million contract and will test the free agent market, Marc Stein reports at ESPN. While he is saying all the right things about winning, this is about the money. It’s always about the money.

The question is, how much money will be out there in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement? He will get a multi-year deal now, at how much money is the gamble. While teams are interested, how much cap room teams have — especially good teams — remains to be seen. Teams mentioned as potentially making a run at him are New Jersey, Indiana, maybe Milwaukee. You can bet the Hornets will try to re-sign him as part of the “we have to keep Chris Paul happy” campaign. Others will jump in as well, but it really depends on what they can offer.

West missed the last half of last season due to a torn ACL, although he says he will be back healthy by the start of next season. Even if it takes longer than that, a lot of teams would be willing to take the risk because he is one of the better scoring power forwards in the game.

He averaged 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last season, and he is one of the better pick-and-pop options in the league, hitting a very good 47 percent of his shots from 16 feet out to the arc. As the roll man in a pick and roll, he hit 52 percent of his shots and scored an impressive 1.05 points per possession (according to Synergy Sports), but of course the guy with the ball was Chris Paul, which helps. He also is effective as a spot up shooter and in the post.

But the question isn’t “can West play?” because we all know he can. The question is can and will teams offer more than $7.5 million for him?

Hornets GM denies CP3 trade talk because it never existed

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge

Here’s an annoying trend. Everyone wants Chris Paul. The Magic, the Lakers, the Knicks, the Thunder, the Wolves, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Saskatchewan River Buffalo, everyone wants Chris Paul. So what happens is every team thinks they could maybe get him since he was unhappy last summer. So they talk about trying to get him, without talking to NOLA yet. Then someone in the team leaks that fact “Oh, we’d love to get Chris Paul” or “We’re trying to get Chris Paul” and then all of a sudden that becomes “BREAKING NEWS: TEAM THAT HAS NO WAY OF GETTING CHRIS PAUL IN TALKS WITH NEW ORLEANS FOR CHRIS PAUL TRADE.”

It’s not that it’s impossible for Paul to wind up traded. Credible reports indicated he was legitimately unhappy last summer and probably does want to join a superteam like the rest of the Super-Best-Friends. But Dell Demps isn’t taking those calls yet. And if he does, he’s responding with a well-crafted team statement of “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHANO.”

But still, the questions are asked, and he has to respond by telling people no.

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Demps laughed at Internet speculation there has been trade talks between the Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder regarding point guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.“Thunder GM Sam Presti and I, our offices used to be right next to each other, so we still text each other all the time, and I can assure you that has not been a conversation we’ve had,” Demps said, cracking a smile as he spoke to reporters.

via New Orleans Hornets assistant coach Mike Malone still weighing his options | NOLA.com.

First off, do we really need the “internet speculation” part? Is that really that much worse than radio or television speculation? Because television speculation has jumped the gun on the Melo trade and said Dwight Howard was close to signing an extension in the past year, both of which were absurd and untrue at the time.

Second, you can bet this came from OKC. There’s a lot of people around that team who make noise consistently about Paul and how he would fit with the Thunder. Except for, you know, the fact that Russell Westbrook is alive this plan makes perfect sense.

If you’re reading this and you’re someone leaking information about Chris Paul, please try and leak “We’d love to have Chris Paul, along with unicorns, Voltron, and Mr. Snuffleupagus. All of which have the same odds of occurring.” Just try and save us a few brain cells.

David West has yet to decide if he will opt out

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Behind door No. 1, David West has a $7.5 million option to return to the New Orleans Hornets.

Behind door No. 2, free agency. Which is a big risk —West was the Hornets leading scorer and due for a big pay increase, but then he blew out his ACL in March. Combine that with the unknown world of the new post-lockout Collective Bargaining Agreement and behind door No. 2 could be the Let’s Make A Deal goat.

West’s agent tells the Times-Picayune West has yet to choose a door. He has until June 30.

“We’ve talked about it, and I think he’s going to wait until about a week before that to see where his knee is and how it feels and make an educated decision about where to go from there,” (Lance) Young said. “We really haven’t discussed it because we have some time.”

If he can demonstrate he’s healthy, an All-Star power forward and a great pick-and-pop partner will draw more than $7.5 million on the open market, and for more years. But it’s about health. He’s smart to wait.

Hornets will talk extension with Chris Paul… when they can

New Orleans Hornets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Two

Job No. 1 for the New Orleans Hornets: Keep Chris Paul.

Okay, maybe “find an owner to keep the team in town” is above that on the to-do list. But that is outside GM Dell Demps job description, he’s just trying to build a winner people will want to come see

Which brings us back to Paul, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after next season. Demps wants to talk to him about an extension, according to the Associated Press. Well, except for that little lockout thing getting in the way. But when he can he’s going to talk to him.

But Paul’s next move will likely hinge on seeing Demps and the Hornets continue to make moves to make the team better not just save money. Demps told the Times-Picayune he wants to be aggressive in free agency. Well, as much as a team without an owner can be.

But Demps knows he’s going to have to show Paul long-term potential for the Hornets.

“If the right situation presents itself, we won’t hesitate,’’ Demps said during Wednesday’s news conference at the New Orleans Arena. “I don’t feel like our hands are tied. You can make trades now as long as your team is not in the playoffs. We need to figure what opportunities are going to arise. We don’t want to think too quickly.’’

Demps identified re-signing power forward Carl Landry and the return of injured forward David West as vital. West, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in March, can opt of his contract by June 30.

Keeping West, Paul’s pick-and-pop partner will be key.

But that all circles back to ownership (currently the NBA, which means the other 29 owners) and when Demps has to spend. Or not spend. How tied are his hands?

All that is beyond what Demps can control. He’d just like to talk extension. Someday.