Tag: New Orleans Hornets

Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Hornets

David West says he’ll be ready to go in October


David West rolled the dice.

He was maybe the best free agent power forward on the market, a fantastic pick-and-pop partner for an elite point guard. The kind of guy that a lot of teams with cap room — the Pacers, the Nets — could use. A guy the Hornets want back… more like need back if they plan to keep Chris Paul next summer.

He’s also a guy who blew out his ACL. That will give teams pause when handing out big contracts. So he took a big risk opting out of the final year of his deal and testing the market.

The good news is West told David Aldridge of NBA.com he’ll be ready to go come October, when training camps would start. If there are October camps this year.

“The way I’m looking at it, by October, I should be fully healthy,” West said Monday morning. “When I go see Dr. (David) Altchek in October, he should be giving me clearance to go out there and do my thing.”

As Aldridge notes, the rehab West is doing five days a week and that trip to Dr. Altchek are now paid by West out of his own pocket — his insurance from the league is locked out, too.

If the lockout does cost games, it could benefit West in terms of proving he is healthy to prospective teams. What kind of prospective teams? West wiped out a $7.5 million option year on his deal, so he expects to get paid, but he also sounds like a veteran who is starting to think legacy and rings more than bank account.

“I talked to my agent, and my whole thing is, I just want to see what’s out there,” West said. “I’m not saying New Orleans isn’t a possibility. I want to see what’s out there. And I want an opportunity to win. I’ll be 31 at the end of the summer and no matter how great I feel physically and mentally, every year you don’t win is a wasted year, a blown year, an opportunity you’ll never get back. I don’t want any more of those years. I’ve played eight years. And I want the next three or four years to be different.”

He will be a prime free agent. Whenever we get around to that.

Lockout or no, Hornets need to sell season tickets


The New Orleans Hornets have a goal — sell 10,000 season seats.

It’s at the heart of a plan to bolster the bottom line of the franchise and make it more attractive to a local buyer. It also kicks in provisions of the lease that make it hard to move the team out of town.

In other words — they need to do it if they are serious about keeping the Hornets in New Orleans.

The challenge: You try selling season tickets to a sport where there may not be a next season. You try selling during a lockout.

The Times-Picayune has a story on how the Hornets are working at it.

Right now, the Hornets are 1,500 shy of the stated goal of 10,000. (Hornets president Hugh) Weber and (Hornets chairman Jac) Sperling explain to prospective buyers how that number will make moot the team’s attendance benchmarks in the current lease with the state, increase sellouts at the Arena and how close the Hornets are to be leading the league in new ticket sales….

Sperling said the fans with whom he has spoken since the lockout commenced, three weeks into the 100-events-in-100-days campaign, haven’t seemed overly inquisitive about lockout issues, even though the Hornets cannot speak about CBA negotiations under threat of a $1 million fine….

“The idea is this is about New Orleans, the New Orleans Hornets, and people understand it,” Sperling said. “They ask questions, but in general, people understand the deal. This is about the Hornets in New Orleans. This was our plan. That’s what the purpose is. Our fans understand. We’re trying to achieve our goal. And they want to be part of it.”

Most teams don’t sell a lot of season tickets this time of year anyway (unless they scored big in free agency — the Heat phones were ringing off the hook this time last summer). But the Hornets are working it and they are making the right argument — this is about keeping a team in New Orleans. Frame the argument as civic pride, not the lockout or Chris Paul possibly leaving (even if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement could make life a lot better for smaller market clubs like the Hornets and make it easier to keep Chris Paul).

Top five unrestricted free agents… where will they go?

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Free agency is not going to be as much fun this time around. Whenever the owners and players get around to settling the lockout the free agency period will be condensed and hectic.

Not that I really miss the drama of Lebron dragging out his decision, but it’s fun to watch things break over a course of weeks, to hear the rumors and the “what ifs” in a normal free agency period.

That said, there will be a free agency period, and there will be some name players available. Guys who can change teams.

What follows are my top five unrestricted free agents, followed by some guessing on a landing spot. Sure, it’s a bit of a moot exercise and it’s impossible to say how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will impact what players can be paid and therefore where they land, still, on a nice July day this is a fun game to play.

Nene (last of the Denver Nuggets)

Teams saw the Mavericks win it all after years of flailing in the playoffs, and it drove home the point of what a big center who can defend the paint and rebound can do for a team. Plus, Nene has a nice offensive game (he shoots the midrange well enough you have to respect it, hitting 47 percent beyond 16 feet last season.

Denver still has the home team advantage, even if he opted out and expressed frustration that the team did not come through with an extension. Whatever the new CBA looks like, you can bet there will be some kind of advantage for players who sign with their current team. He’s going to be a max guy. Don’t be shocked if a team like Indiana makes a big move for him.

Tyson Chandler (last of the Dallas Mavericks)

For teams that need a defensive presence in the paint, why get someone else to try and be like Tyson Chandler when you can get the actual Tyson Chandler?

I’d be surprised if he lands anywhere but Dallas, Mark Cuban knows what he did for the Mavs last season and he has been reported to be the teams No. 1 offseason priority. As for other suitors, again the Pacers could use a big man like him, and if Denver loses Nene they might make a run. Also, hard to see how the Knicks afford him but he would be a great fit.

Jamal Crawford (last of the Atlanta Hawks)

He was the sixth man of the year one year ago, and we know he can come in off the bench and provide a scoring punch. His shooting numbers took a dip last year and teams need to seriously ask themselves if that was just the Larry Drew offense in Atlanta or is Crawford showing some age at 32? A long-term deal might be a mistake.

After the Hawks paid big money for Al Horford (worth it) and Joe Johnson (going to regret that deal in a couple years) they likely are not going to have the cash to keep him around. If Crawford wants a ring badly enough teams like the Lakers, Mavericks and Celtics would have interest, but he’d have to take a serious cut in salary. If he wants a good payday, there are a number of teams that may well step forward with a bigger deal (New Jersey, Washington and others may think about it).

David West (last of the New Orleans Hornets)

If you are looking for a quality power forward who is a great pick-and-pop option next to a quality point guard, West would be the choice. He took five shots a game between 16 and 23 feet last season and hit 47 percent of them, plus he can score inside and is a solid rebounder.

If New Orleans is going to keep Chris Paul after next season, they have to find a way to keep West. (That or replace him with someone better, which would be hard to pull off.) Look for the Nets to make a run at him — he’d pair nicely with Deron Williams and the Nets have their own problems trying to keep D-Will from walking away.

Shane Battier (last with the Memphis Grizzlies)

Maybe the best of the glue guys out there. He can defend, has a solid offensive game both inside and out. Teams saw what he did with Memphis to help them knock off the Spurs and push the Oklahoma City Thunder, and coaches will find a way to use this guy.

Memphis has made bringing him back a priority and that would be the logical landing spot. But don’t be shocked if veteran teams try to get him to take a little less to be a key part of a title run for them — the Miami Heat would love him, even if they have a pretty good small forward. The Clippers have cap room and also need a three and what he can bring defensively.

Free agent Landry says he’d consider playing for Pacers, Bucks

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Carl Landry has options. He’s a solid forward, a guy a lot of teams could use off the bench to provide some solid offense, good defense, a few boards and maybe a midrange jumper or two.

New Orleans wants to keep him, but he will have a number of suitors. And of course he has the places he wants to go play. Like seemingly every free agent is it New York or Los Angeles or Miami?

Nope, he told Journal and Courier of Indiana he wants to go home (via CBS Eye on Basketball):

“But I would play in Indiana for the Pacers, and I’m from Milwaukee, so I wouldn’t mind going back there. You just never know where I will end up. I’m more than happy to play anywhere as long as I am playing in the NBA.”

Where will Landry play? For the team that offers him the most money. Don’t think it’s about anything else.

Landry also said he is not going to Europe — as a free agent he thinks he would be taking too big a risk if he got injured. He’s right. An injury would cost him a lot of money (which is why I think you will see a lot of players balk at going overseas when it comes time to sign the paper). And it’s always about the money.

Charlie Bell, Jarrett Jack suspended one game each

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Jarrett Jack of the New Orleans Hornets Charlie Bell of the Golden State Warriors, both of whom were arrested on suspicion of DUI in February and pled no contest to reckless driving charges (in separate incidents), have been suspended one game by the league it was announced Wednesday.

Those suspensions will be for the first game each of them able to play next season. Whenever that starts. Suspension for one game without pay has been the pretty much standard from the league for guys arrested on drunk driving charges.

Both are backup point guards for their teams, although Jack plays a larger role for his squad.