I'd normally put up a rapid reaction post right here... but hey, here's the full thing!
I think we all knew Antonio Daniels was on his way out. The timing was the surprise.
For starters, I can't help but feel like DC is coming along well. I acknowledge I have no idea what the deal at backup PG is, but this is the sort of trade that could have been made midseason. With Daniels joining the Minnesota Point Guards, Collison should be the guy from Day 1. The coaching staff had to have given the green light to the front office at some point, and that's reassuring.
The Hornets also get Bobby Brown back in this deal. All of you should remember him from last year's summer league roster. The team had Chris Paul call him in an effort to retain him, but ultimately, a 2 year guaranteed offer from Sacramento trumped our training camp invite. It'd be naive to pretend like his star hasn't fallen a bit in the last year. He showed legitimate scoring potential at Cal-State Fullerton, regardless of his size. But last year, he posted a pretty mediocre 47.6% true shooting percentage. It would be foolish to write him off due to half a year in Sacramento and 20 more games in Minnesota... but thinking of him as a legitimate scorer might be equally silly.
On the plus side, an entire year of Bobby Brown puns!
I know people will praise his professionalism and all that, but he was a steady, average producer. He is almost certainly a better passer than Bobby Brown, and has been a better ball handler through his career than Brown was last season. Additionally, his 4.0 FTA/36 minutes was a valuable skill off the bench. Brown won't come close to replicating that (1.7 FTA/36 last year). Daniels' career offensive efficiency (114) is likely far higher than whatever Brown's max will be (96 last year).
In approximately 245 defensive possessions with Sacramento, Brown ranked among the worst defenders, ceding about 5% more production than average to counterparts. Daniels, on the other hand, was quite impressive, holding opponents to about 8% less than their average production in approximately 265 defensive possessions with the Hornets. Brown improved tremendously with Minnesota, but a smaller sample size leaves me wary. Just observationally, Daniels 6'4" frame was valuable in help situations. I'm not sure Brown can emulate that.
So, as much as foot speed and age come into play, I think Daniels --> Brown is a certain downgrade, defensively and especially offensively. There is obviously the chance that Brown steps up his game. But the straight swap isn't necessarily so even.
Of course, Brown will be the third stringer. So he won't technically be Daniels' replacement; Collison will. That makes the swap worth it. As a third stringer, Brown should do just fine.
I'll have a fuller post on Songaila up soon. The initial scouting report is that (a) he can shoot, but he doesn't have three point range, (b) he makes his free throws, (c) he's a middle-of-the-road passer and rebounder, (d) he fouls pretty good. Perhaps a cheaper James Posey without the range?
The Hornets save about 1.3 million dollars in sum (6.6 Daniels out, 4.55 Songaila in, 0.75 Brown in). This brings the net salary to $73,656,549, about 3.7 million over the luxury tax. This means that George Shinn would have to pay an additional 3.7 million dollars out of pocket.
So while it seems unlikely from a roster standpoint that the Hronets make another move... they might end up doing it anyways. Additionally, this trade brings the roster total to 15. I can't recall the last time the Hornets went into a season carrying 15 players, and I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened in the Byron Scott era.
One Possible Caveat
So overall, this trade sounds good and dandy. Get a solid 3rd string PG that we wanted last summer. Get a small/power forward that can foul and shoot pretty well. Get a million dollars off the books.
There is one issue that needs to be raised. One of the trademarks of Jeff Bower trades is that he acquires players with one more contract year than necessary. It happened with Mike James. We traded him for Antonio Daniels... and, again, it happened with Antonio Daniels. Now, the same is true with Darius Songaila. Songaila has a 4.5 million option for
2009-2010 2010-2011 that he'd be foolish not to pick up.
Pre-trade, the Hornets had 66.99 million commited to 2009-2010 player salaries (with Daniels coming off the books). Post-trade, the Hornets have 73.2 million commited to salaries, which will again be over the luxury tax. Is the potential lack of flexibility worth a player who won't factor into longer term goals (Songaila)? I don't know, but it's an interesting issue to consider. I like this trade for sure, and it can't be too hard to move a 4.5 expiring... but, it's worth pondering.