With Free-Agency set to begin around December 9 the Hornets will need to form some kind of short list of players for the upcoming period that’s sure to be a quick fire, panic-crazy time. New Orleans knows that resigning both David West and Carl Landry are priority number one, but there are other areas which the team desperately needs upgrades in if they are to keep Chris Paul and if they are to become a better team.
This Big-Board will be updated depending on how things are going in Free-Agency. If David West signs somewhere else, we’ll put a cross through his name. If rumours are that the Hornets have Nick Young in their back pocket ready to be signed, then other shooting guards will probably fall down the list.
1. (PF) David West
I know that a lot of people feel like West’s All-Star play caliber play is over in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a legitimate piece for an NBA championship team. The Hornets must feel that if West goes that the chances of keeping Chris Paul are slim, unless of course they fill that void with someone of equal quality which is highly unlikely.
David is coming off knee surgery, but all signs point to it being of little issue as he received clearance to play months ago. This is great news, but it’s sure to push up his price in what will be a barren free-agent class.
Possible Landing Places: Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Hornets
2. (PF) Carl Landry
I know it’s strange that there are two Power-Forwards at the top of the list, but I feel like it is justified. Trading away Marcus Thornton close towards the deadline, the Hornets knew that getting Landry in return was very risky because he became a free-agent. My feeling is that Landry wants to be a starter in the league, but his options are limited. With New Orleans he has a chance to be the 6th man, a la Lamar Odom. The Hornets need to go hard after him because there are rumours that Landry has forgotten all about the Bayou.
Possible Landing Places: Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Hornets
3. (SG) Jamal Crawford
The chances of Jamal Crawford going to New Orleans are slim. We know the guy wants a big contract and he wants to be a contending team. During the lockout LaMarcus Aldridge coveted Crawford and said he’d be a great fit. This might prove problematic with the Blazers being right at the cap. If they let Roy go it might be easier for them to sign him. The Hornets will need to make a huge splash like this if they’re to show Chris Paul they’re serious about building around him.
Possible Landing Places: Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets
4. (SG) J.R. Smith (Dependent on Release from China)
Only if he gets a release from China will J.R. Smith be available for teams to sign. This is a toss-up as to whether he will be granted this, but if he’s available to Hornets need him. He’s a shooter, a bit of a scorer and most of all he’s fiesty and hungry. Put that with Chris Paul and you have a dynamite combo that could be sold to a lot of people.
Personality issues won’t be a problem if Chris Paul is on the team. With a leader like that Smith will only do what’s best for the team.
Possible Destinations: –
5. (C) Joel Przybilla
As our friendly At The Hive counterpart pointed out this morning, Joel Przybilla would be a terrific option as a backup center. While Aaron Gray had a terrific series against the Lakers, Przybilla provides more of a consistent option behind Okafor. What’s more, he’s 7 feet tall, something the Hornets have little of. They need to have him high on their list if they’re to snag him from someone else.
Possible Destinations: New Orleans Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets
6. (SG) Richard Hamilton
The amnesty clause will likely be used on Hamilton who in turn will become a free-agent. If J.R. Smith can’t get out of China and Crawford signs elsewhere, this is the guy the Hornets need to go after. He may be getting on in age, but he’s a shooter who can come off screens and will work brilliantly with Chris Paul for however long he’s here.
Possible Destinations: –
7. (PF) Reggie Evans
I love Reggie Evans. You wonder why, but his rebounding is terrific, something the Hornets aren’t that good at. He’s fiesty and a work horse, just the kind of guy Monty Williams will be looking for. If the Hornets start to go into rebuild mode, he could be a guy that will keep our spirits up. Not because he’s actually amazingly talented, but because he’ll put his heart on the court every time he plays.
Possible Destinations: New Jersey Nets, Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks
8. (SG) Jason Richardson
Shooters, shooters, shooters, no that’s not the next gangsta rap hit (R.I.P Gangsta Rap and the 90′s), it’s what the Hornets need in the form of three-point shooters. Jason Richardson might provide a cheaper alternative which is if he realises his price is a lot lower than it used to be.
Possible Destinations: Charlotte Bobcats, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets
9. (C) Aaron Gray
This could quite easily change, and he might easily move up the board, but it would be great if Gray could return to New Orleans. I’d be very concerned with his conditioning and how he went through the lockout, but the Hornets would be stupid not to resign him and solidify their front line. More 7-footers can’t hurt.
Possible Destinations: New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Hornets
10. (SG) Brandon Roy
A guy with no knee cartilage is a massive concern. If Brandon Roy is amnestied then expect New Orleans to be hot on his trail. He’s not what he used to be but can still shoot it and can still give you some options that help Chris Paul. He’s certainly better than Marco Belinelli.
Possible Destinations: –
Outside the Cut
(SF) Tayshaun Prince, (SG) Shannon Brown, (PF) Lou Amundson, (SG) Michael Redd
That’s the list people, it will be updated and you will see movement. The Hornets have a lot of cap space and a lot of open roster spaces. Training camp is only a couple of weeks away so Dell Demps has his work cut out for him. I have the feeling though, that he’s been preparing for this for a long time. His pitches, his sucking up to players, telling them how valuable they (the team) see them (the player). This is a big free-agent period for Demps because if players start to sign with other teams, expect the Chris Paul trade rumours to run rampant and the rebuilding phase to begin a lot sooner than we previously anticipated.
Tags: Aaron Gray Brandon Roy Carl Landry Chris Paul David West J.R. Smith Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Joel Przybilla LaMarcus Aldridge Louis Amundson Michael Redd Reggie Evans Richard Hamilton Shannon Brown Tayshaun Prince