[Promoted from the FanPosts: a great look at what may lie in the Hornets' future this season - Rohan]
In this day and age it's hard not to become personally attached to a professional athlete. Their lives get closer and closer to our own each passing moment with the developments in social networking technology. As fans, we develop a sense of closeness with guys we follow on Twitter or see in media day interviews on YouTube, when in reality we may have never been within 100 miles of them. But that's just the way things are in this era of technology, we've become connected and intertwined in ways we still don't quite understand, and because of that, we have a lot of trouble watching even the smallest of players leave town. However, when a trade goes down including our "favorite player(s)" we have to step outside ourselves and measure things up, remember what the real goal is, and learn to accept and understand that, whatever it may be. As Hornets fans, we have been through a lot, probably more in the past ten years since the team has been here than most fan-bases have had to deal with in a lifetime, but that's the way it has to be with a small market team; in order to win big, you have to lose big first.
The Hornets have started down the path of rebuilding, they're seeking their second rebirth project in the last 5-6 years, and so far they are off to a great start. They acquired Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Minnesota's unprotected 1st round draft choice from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Chris Paul; a fair exchange of talent, potential, and assets for any rebuilding team. The Hornets also traded Quincy Pondexter to the Memphis Grizzlies for point guard Greivis Vasquez, and signed Spanish League sensation Gustavo Ayon. The amount of turnover on this team is incredible as only one player has been here for more than a year (Emeka Okafor), and only three others were on the roster for all of last season (Ariza, Belinelli, Smith). With the rapid exchange rate we have experienced, we're beginning to have our feelings dulled towards players, and this is a good thing for our situation. Players come and players go, but it's on the coaching staff and front office executives to put the right players into their system like seeds in a flower bed. And finally, to get to my point, I brought all of this up because I want to talk about what comes next because I can assure you that Dell Demps is not through making moves, not with three valuable big men and a 3-point sharpshooter. But I'd prefer to focus on just two of these guys: Carl Landry and Chris Kaman. They are our two most movable assets and can easily be flipped to a contender, and it's those possibilities that I will expand on.
The Front Runners
There will be several teams in the running for the services of Landry and Kaman, but a couple of them really stand out. Those teams are the Dallas Mavericks, the Boston Celtics, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the San Antonio Spurs. All of those teams have a desire to get better down in the paint and want a big man who can be reliable as a post player and also hit an 18-footer, Kaman and Landry can do those things. Both players have differences though; Landry is smaller, but a better athlete and scorer than Kaman; Kaman is a better shooter, rebounder, and shot blocker than Landry. Now we see how each player fits into those teams.
- Dallas Mavericks, Best Fit: Chris Kaman
- Why: The Mavericks have no center. Brendan Haywood has declined faster than anyone could have imagined and appears to have lost all ability to play basketball effectively. Adding Kaman to the roster gives the Mavericks a bit more of a presence down low. Dirk can slide back into his power forward position, and Odom and Marion can rotate between starting small forward and backup power forward/center. The only problem here is that Dallas is lacking any pieces the Hornets may want, and there's no conceivable way to make the trade work salary-wise without getting very creative.
- Potential: Unlikely
- Boston Celtics, Best Fit: Chris Kaman
- The Celtics are old, not quite at the same level of oldness as the aforementioned Mavericks, but their "Big 3" are now the "Old 3", and this team is also lacking any semblance of a presence in the middle. Jermaine O'Neal is far past his prime and hardly a backup at this juncture, much less a starter, so adding Kaman makes a ton of sense for the Celtics. A legit starting center means Garnett can play his true position more and get some much needed rest. The acquisition also opens up the offense a little more as the Celtics will have two well rounded offensive threats with Garnett and Kaman up front. But, again, the Celtics don't have a lot of assets and must also do some tinkering to make the trade work.
- Potential: Somewhat Likely
- San Antonio Spurs, Best Fit: Carl Landry
- The Spurs are riding the Tim Duncan train on fumes right now, and adding Carl Landry would be a good attempt at juicing the gas pedal one last time. Duncan has lost several steps and is a lot closer to retirement than many of us had expected, but he's going to give one more solid year before the gas eventually runs out. Pairing the up-tempo Carl Landry with him gives a pretty nice one-two punch in the front, and what they may lack defensively, they can make up for with scoring and ball movement, and Gregg Popovich is a nice bonus, too.
- Potential: Fairly Likely
- Portland Trail Blazers, Best Fit: Either Player
- The Blazers made no secret about wanting to add Carl Landry to the mix this off season, but in the end, he chose to come back to New Orleans for a bigger payday. The Blazers have a very good team right now, but lack another legit post player to pair with stud LaMarcus Aldridge. Marcus Camby is moonlighting as a defensive specialist in the starting lineup, but should his team acquire either of these players, he's in line for longer resting periods. This trade would make sense for both sides because Portland offers young talent.
- Potential: Highly Likely
We won't hear too much about these guys moving until early February, so it's safe to put a lid on things for now because a lot can change throughout the league until then. But it's not hard to see these guys names pop up frequently around the trade deadline as teams start figuring out what they need to make a push for a championship because this year presents a unique opportunity for other teams to win it all. Until then, keep faith in the future of this franchise and try not to get too attached to anyone on this team, except for Monty Williams; that guy's a stud. Geaux Hornets!