I took a look at our budget last post (1-2 million dollars to sign one player). Now, let's assess what people are going to cost.
I've tried to include every front court free agents (UFA and RFA) that I could find here, but if I missed any, let me know. Big thanks to this list from Depressed Fan and to ESPN player pages. Quick explanation of the table: Restricted refers to UFA/RFA status, competitors refers to projected number of teams that want the player, Salary projection is my estimation of the player's market value, and target refers to whether New Orleans can reasonably target the player (in parantheses is an explanation of why (expensive, etc)).
The full 50 player table after the jump.
|Player||Restricted?||Last Salary||Competitors||Projection ($)||Target?|
|Rasheed Wallace||No||20.1M||3+||10-15||No ($)|
|Malik Rose||No||11.5M||0||Minimum||No (sucks)|
|Drew Gooden||No||3.0M||1-2||2-4||Yes ($)|
|Chris Wilcox||No||10.1M||1-2||2-5||Yes ($)|
|Shawn Marion||No||20.1M||3+||12-18||No ($)|
|Ike Diogu||Yes||8.8M||0-1||2-4||Yes ($)|
|Lamar Odom||No||20.1M||3+||15-20||No ($)|
|Paul Millsap||Yes||1.6M||3+||unknown, but $$$||No ($)|
|Charlie Villanueva||Yes||10.3M||1-2||8-15||No ($)|
|Joe Smith||No||2.4M||1-2||2-4||Yes ($)|
|Cedric Simmons||No||2.7M||0||Minimum||No (sucks)|
|Chris Andersen||No||0.83M||2-3||2-4||Yes (DEN)|
|Channing Frye||Yes||9.5M||0-1||2-4||No ($, sucks)|
|Hakim Warrick||Yes||6.4M||1-2||4-8||Yes ($)|
|David Lee||Yes||6.1M||3+||unknown, but $$$||No ($)|
|Donyell Marshall||No||0.83M||0-1||Minimum||Yes (old)|
|Leon Powe||Yes||0.83M||3+||Unknown, but $$||No ($)|
|Glen Davis||Yes||1.0M||2-3||3-7||Yes (BOS)|
|Raef LaFrentz||No||19.1M||0||Negative||No (sucks)|
|Rasho Nesterovic||No||12.6M||1-2||3-5||Yes ($)|
|Jason Collins||No||9.3M||0||Minimum||No (sucks)|
|Zaza Pachulia||No||8.0M||2-3||4-5||No ($)|
|Jarron Collins||see Jason||4.1M||see Jason||see Jason||see Jason|
|DJ Mbenga||No||0.96M||0||Minimum||No (sucks)|
|Calvin Booth||No||2.7M||0||Minimum||No (sucks)|
|Melvin Ely||No||0.83M||0||Minimum||Yes (sucks)|
|Lorenzen Wright||No||0.83M||0||Minimum||Yes (old)|
|Adonal Foyle||No||0.83M||0||Minimum||Yes (old)|
|Jamaal Magloire||No||0.83M||0-1||Minimum||Yes (old)|
|Sean Marks||No||0.83M||0||Minimum||Yes (old)|
|Theo Ratliff||No||0.83M||0-1||Minimum||Yes (old)|
|Jake Voskuhl||No||0.83M||0-1||Minimum||No (sucks)|
|Marvin Williams||Yes||14.1M||3+||10-15||No ($)|
|James Singleton||No||0.83M||0-1||Minimum||Yes (DAL)|
So out of the 50 UFA/RFA big men of 2009, the Hornets can put 30 of them on their radar.
As you can see, there are a ton of guys out there. Not all of these guys (or even half these guys, I suspect) are going to find homes next season. Yes, there is a good deal of variance, but the supply is definitely greater than the demand.
There are four tiers the 30 players can be split into.
"Uh Oh, Everybody's Gone And/Or (Probably And) We're Broke."
Among the 30 potential signees, we can probably classify some of them as last gasp options due to suckage, old age, or some combination of the two. Of all the players I gave a 'yes' in the far right column, here are the ones I'd categorize as last resorts:
- Steve Novak: The Hornets have gaping holes in their frontcourt, but specifically they need to target rebounders. When David West and Tyson Chandler hit the bench, Byron Scott won't appreciate a big man that spends 99.999% of his time between three point arcs. Novak's rebound rate is barely half of Hilton Armstrong's. Yeah. Consider this the last last resort.
- Donyell Marshall- DMarsh is another three point specialist, but he's been a stellar defensive rebounder throughout his career. The issues clearly are that he's 36 years old, and he's nearing retirement. Toss in a recent comment about how he'd want to come in and mentor guys if he joined a new team (nothing on actually playing), and you don't have a great combination.
- Michael Ruffin- He's undersized but a fantastic rebounder on offense and defense. The question with him is playing time. He only got 11 games last year, 46 the year before, and 30 before that. Nobody knows how he'd hold up over 82, especially now that he's on the wrong side of 30.
- Ryan Bowen- Great hustle, but I don't think I need to elaborate much here.
- Shavlik Randolph- Randolph only got in 89 games in his first 4 years in the league. But he's shown some serious potential on the boards. The risk is that if we pin our one rebounding hope on the 25 year old and he blows up, well, we won't be in great shape.
Robert Swift- Showed lots of potential, once upon a time. He's the madly tattooed, infinitely riskier Shavlik Randolph.
- Saer Sene- 47 games in three years. He'll be mad cheap, but he's 7'0" and weighs 220 pounds. You tell me how that's gonna end up.
Melvin Ely- Yeah.
- Ryan Hollins- I rank Hollins somewhere between Last Resorts and the next category. He's a great shot blocker with good timing, and while he isn't the most impressive defensive boarder, his offensive figures are nice. He brings great energy to both sides of the floor. With Eric Dampier rumored to be on his way out of Dallas, I wonder how much the Mavs will spend to keep him. My feeling is they like him a good bit... and Hollins is only worth it if he comes cheap.
Lorenzen Wright- With age, his offensive boarding figures have slipped badly. And last year, not one, not two, but three teams (ATL, SAC, CLE) tossed him in the their respective trash cans. He brings size (6'11), if not bulk (225), and he has a career full of good defensive rebounding. One of the better Last Resort picks, though it wouldn't be a flashy signing at all.
- Adonal Foyle- And if you thought Lorenzen was the antithesis of all things stylish, well, apparently, you've never seen this guy. Most famous for clanging an open 7 footer off the side of the backboard, Foyle's actually a decent option. The problem here is that he spent most of last year injured. Not sure the Hornets are willing to gamble on a 34 year old's health.
- Sean Marks- I think Marks is a last resort, not because of his play necessarily, but because it wouldn't go over well with the fans. Most Hornets' supporters are looking for a front court overhaul. The truth is, Marks' 9/18/13.5 rebounding split from last year wasn't shabby at all. An understatedly decent last resort option
Theo Ratliff- Ratliff hasn't been discussed in a basketball context ever since he legally changed his name to The Expiring Contract of Theo Ratliff some time in 2004. Though the dude is older than my pet rock, he provided Philadelphia some boards and some blocks last year. Overall, he's way too old to be considered a good signing.
Johan Petro- I'd rank the Denver center higher (his rebounding numbers are terrific) but he seemingly never plays, and he is straight up horrible at basketball. A center with a 43% true shooting percentage? Unbelievably atrocious.
- Stromile Swift- From 2000-2008, SS was a serviceable player. Great rebounder, good shot blocker, coudl even put the ball in the bucket unassisted, once a month. Suddenly everybody forgot about him, and he played nineteen of the most anonymous games in NBA history with NJN and PHO last season. One of those guys where if he goes to the Knicks, everyone will rag on them for getting another overpaid bust, and if he goes to the Spurs, everyone will praise them for getting another underpaid overachiever. If he goes to New Orleans? Who knows.
- Walter Herrmann- Imagine Hilton Armstrong with range. (If you can actually do this, I have just one question: are you on drugs?)
"Yeah If We Got Him, Sweet... But We're Not Getting Him"
- Glen Davis- Boston is going to keep him. Danny Ainge will re-sign him. Kevin Garnett will continue to make him cry. I don't see many ways around this. Plus, his rebounding is mediocre, his offensive abilities are vastly overrated on the strength of one or two jumpers he made in the playoffs, and he really isn't that great at anything else. So "If we got him, sweet" would probably not be an accurate description of Glen Davis, now that I think about it.
- Joe Beast- aka Joe Smith to those unacquainted with his hip hop skills. Smith is kind of like Davis in that his team is probably going to keep him (I can't see Cleveland performing a single action that does not directly contribute towards the appeasement of the Great One). Smith is also kind of not like Davis in that he's actually good at basketball.
- Antonio McDyess- Dice is likely out of the Pistons' price range this summer, though they have said they want to keep him. He made 6 million+ last year. I know there's always the chance he takes a pay cut to join a contender... but who really considers the Hornets a contender now any way?
Chris Andersen- The league leader in block rate will be getting some sort of financial upgrade, and probably one from Denver. If not, there will be plenty of teams just salivating at the thought of overpaying the 31 year old.
- Hakim Warrick- Warrick is another guy in line for an upgrade on his 1.5 million a year salary. He's not the most efficient scorer, but I'd say he's the most underrated foul drawer in the entire league (6.6 FTA/36, which would be 0.3 more than Chris Paul, without the aid of superstar calls). He's a decent rebounder too. If Memphis doesn't realize what they have on their hands, plenty of others will do the realizing for them.
Marcin Gortat- If recent rumors are to be believed, the Magic are in hot pursuit of Rasheed Wallace and/or Brandon Bass. It sure sounds like they're gearing up to lose their backup power forward. The Gortat situation is a tricky one to read. On the one hand, he made under a million dollars last year. On the other hand, he had a great postseason and pretty much the entire NBA now knows about him. Positives: beastly rebounder, very efficient scorer, brings terrific energy. Downside: fouls a lot, but who really cares. But all this misses a crucial point- several teams have already reportedly discussed offering Gortat a large part of their midlevel exceptions (five million plus).
"Maybe They'll Forgive Us For Not Taking Blair Now"
- Radoslav Nesterovic- aka Rasho to those unacquainted with Slovenian. Nesterovic is one of the few 30+ options I wouldn't mind. He has size (7'), bulk (250), and the career rebounding split (10/17/13) to warrant a serious look. The biggest issue would be salary. He made 7 million+ last year alone, and he hasn't earned below 2.5 mil since 2002-2003. If he agreed to take a pay cut with us, that'd be terrific.
Aaron Gray- It's universally agreed that Aaron Gray sucks, but he could help us out big time in the rebounding department. With a 14/22/18 split last year, he would bring rebounding figures that very few free agent bigs could match. He should be dirt cheap (making less than half a million last year on a second rounder contract). With a lot of teams looking at the flashier names, we're likely to receive less competition to sign him. And of course, the kicker is that he's a big from the University of Pittsburgh, something a lot of people seemed to want around these parts.
Shelden Williams- I've always loved Williams. Seemingly not in possession of a neck, he'd be the perfect complement to Hilton "The Ostrich" Armstrong. He posted super awesome terrific rebounding figures with ATL his rookie year before they moved him to Sacramento. He finished last year in Minnesota. He seems universally unwanted, but he'd be a tremendous bargain for the Hornets.
Maceo Baston- Baston's first salary was 20,000 with the Chicago Bulls in 1999. So I'm thinking he might be down to make a couple million with us next year. Last year with Toronto, he posted an 11/15/13 rebounding split in 27 games. He draws fouls at a decent rate and has a nice offensive game. He can also block a few shots here and there. The biggest problem is his size- 6'9" and 215 pounds; I don't know how long he can hold up.
- Chris Mihm- Mihm has posted very, very nice rebounding numbers throughout his career. (a career 11/19/14 split). I thought we'd seen the last of him after his sparring session with D.J. Mbenga, but who knows. Could be an attractive option, given the lack of competition and low price.
- Jamaal Magloire- 14/24/19 rebounding split last year. That's all you gotta know about the Big Cat. He will rebound the hell out of that ball.
- James Singleton- Thanks to reader Scott for e-mailing to me about Singleton. Personally, this would be one of my favorite signings if it happened. Singleton, who broke into the League as a swingman, has seriously bulked up in recent years. He posted a 12/21/16 rebounding split with Dallas last year, terrific numbers for any player, let alone one making the minimum. He was also very efficient at putting the ball in the bucket (the most efficient out of any of the 30 on this list). Want more? He didn't turn the ball over, and Dallas put a fair bit of responsibility on him when he was in the game. And, oh yeah, he has three point range. Unfortunately, it appears we have compeition. Both my Dallas contacts confirmed that the Mavs have definite interest in bringing him back next season, and Singleton seems to like his situation there too. Don't know if it will happen, but Singleton would be an amazing, cheap add.
"The Heavens Have Smiled Upon Us"
- Chris Wilcox- Wilcox parlayed a terrific contract year with the Clips into an overpaid two year stint with the SuperThunder. This summer, he's likely to return to his rightful tax bracket, and if so, the Hornets stand to benefit. At a career 9/20/14 rebounding split, Melvin Ely's twin would make Melvin himself a distant memory. Wilcox can also jump out the gym, so Chris Paul could still have an alley-oop partner when he's on the floor with the bench and Tyson's off. Wilcox's defense has been questioned repeatedly... but dude's trying to make the New Orleans Hornets' bench, not the All Defense team. I'd take him in a heartbeat, providing he agrees to slash his salary to the 2 million range.
- Ike Diogu- Enter Mr. Diogu. I like Ike, and you should too. He never really got a chance with the GSW, or the IND, or the POR. Finally, he got some minutes with SAC last year, and they were predictably glorious. In the last two games, he dropped 32 on Denver, and 28 on Minnesota (oh, what's that you say about Denver resting its starters and Al Jefferson being injured? I can't really hear you, you're going to have to speak louder). He can rebound, and he draws fouls like a maniac. While he's kind of foul-prone, he doesn't turn the ball over. The kicker? His full name is Ikechukwa Somotochukwa Diogu. Pau Gasol is already recoiling in fear.
- Drew Gooden- For a while there, it appeared Gooden's basketball ability had taken a back seat to him cultivating that ridiculous beard. But now all is well. Ever since he left the company of the Great Shining Internationally Renowned Supreme Basketball Talent, Gooden's been looking on the up and up. Rebounding last year? Try 10.4/22.6/16.6. 52.6% true shooting. 11.7% turnovers. 4.0 FTA/36 minutes. The one flaw is that he's lost all ability to put the ball in the bucket from the floor... but I can excuse that. Another downside: Signing the 27 year old Gooden would probably cement Jeff Bower's place as the Greatest GM in the History of Western Civilization.
So there you have it.
50 options -> 30 reasonable options -> 25 actually reasonable options -> 9 actually reasonable and good options -> 3 actually reasonable and very good options. Happy shopping.