With the much anticipated trade deadline just around the corner, fans clamour to the idea that their team is being extremely active in trying to get the next Pau Gasol burglary. Truth be told things do not usually work out like that. Aside from the fact that the aforementioned trade is a once in a lifetime occurrence, teams and their managers usually are hesitant to go through with a deal and back-out of more deals than they make.
Risks are meant to be taken in business, but you have to calculate what you have, what you’re giving up and what you will get in return.
The Hornets are in a very difficult situation. Looking out towards the market it appears that there isn’t much in the way of “great-value.” Not only that but New Orleans doesn’t appear to have the greatest of trade assets. Marcus Thornton is a stud, and you can bet teams will try and go after him, but his contract makes it highly difficult to receive top value in return. Outside of the fan favourite you have not much else. Willie Green is playing decent ball, but no one is going to be putting in calls for him. Aaron Gray and Jason Smith have added value at times, but again their consistency and overall long-term value is highly questionable.
It seems then that the Hornets are in a tough position to garner any of the top speculated players on the market.
So let’s look in to what we lack, and any plausible options for the team moving forward.
Is A Back-Up Big Man Still A Priority?
The simple answer is “Yes it is.” Finding Dell Demps‘ true “defensive veteran who is tough and can be an anchor off the bench” is quite difficult as demand outstrips supply by the ten-fold. I think it will be safe to say that New Orleans is happy with riding Aaron Gray into the playoffs and yet they still know in the long-term he is not the answer. It’s tough because we all know as fans the need for big-man depth. David West‘s contract expires (player option) and there is no one suited as his replacement. Getting a draft pick that can develop into a future starter is highly needed, so don’t look at the trade deadline as our answer.
A Shooting License Needed
Outside of Marco Belinelli this team doesn’t have another pure shooter of the basketball, and Marco isn’t even that good. Marcus Thornton is a terrific scorer, but until he get’s consistent playing time I doubt he’s going to be the answer. What we need is a young/poor man’s Peja Stojakovic. In fact we just need a guy to come in, catch the ball on the perimeter and if open shoot it (and make it of course). While Michael McNamara dismisses the possibility of picking up say a Richard Hamilton I believe in comparison that we must go after a shooting wing-man.
Chris Paul needs a better, consistent shooter. Belinelli doesn’t cut the mustard and while some theorize that “shooters open up the floor,” I think it rather inflates confidence in Chris Paul and his ability to trust guys on the perimeter.
Is there one available? That remains to be seen, but outside of the previously mentioned Thornton and Belinelli there is a lot left to be desired (note: Belinelli isn’t actually the best of options if he continues to take more shots than Chris Paul).
In The End
When the trade deadline comes and goes it’s more than likely nothing will happen for the Hornets. There isn’t exactly great value out there (especially with the CBA coming up) and the Hornets don’t possess the greatest of available trade chips. To me the logical scenario that plays out is the Hornets continue with the same roster right up until the playoffs minus Sasha Pavlovic. It’s a logical conclusion to one of the most frantic days in the NBA calendar year.