[Great FanPost, I agree with the assessment of pretty much every player on here. Thanks to Wolfenstein -ed]
Finally, a fresh start for the Hornets can truly begin next week with the NBA Draft. Now, it doesn't necessarily mean that the team will be any better off after the Draft, heck, we sold our draft pick last year. But with the playoff beatdown finally sinking into the background the purging is almost complete and our work is cut out for us. I will try to analyze what actions the Hornets need to take in order to improve the team.
I am no salary cap expert but from what I have gathered so far from atthehive is that we are screwed. Just on the fringe of the luxury tax the Hornets cannot sign any big names and if they use their midlevel for a small name they will actually end up paying as if he were a big name (if that makes sense). Yeah, Ben Gordon would be nice but unless we sign-and-trade him for Tyson, we have no chance. So basically, our only hope for improvement is the Draft (no pressure Mr. Bower).
Apparently we only have the 21st overall pick in the draft and thats it. We can't afford (pun intended) to screw up this pick. To start with, the most glaring problem that faces the Hornets is their frontcourt depth, or lack thereof. We have to assume that Tyson will either be gone before the season starts or that he will never be as explosive as he once was. But he is still only 26 and if he does successfully recover, more power to us but even when he was at full health, two quick fouls on him and a game became infinitely harder to win. So what should have been addressed last year can finally be remedied now.
I divided up the section into players we should draft either as a replacement to Tyson or as backup to David West.
Replacing the Tyson:
Should B.J. somehow fall into the Hornets' laps it would be an easy decision. He's seven feet, can finish around the rim and probably has an offensive game that surpasses Tyson's. He will need to work on his defense but who doesn't. If the Hornets somehow nab him, trading Tyson becomes that much easier.
Great size and athleticism and even looks like Tyson (trust me, check out some of his highlights). At 21st overall, it would be a definite stretch but you gotta do what you gotta do. The Hornets would get defense, rebounding and a new ceiling fan (you know our current one is SO old).
I'm a fan of the Taj Majal. He is a bit undersized but he can essentially do all the things Tyson does. Tenacious defense and rebounding and even a nice jumpshot. Needs to bulk up but if he hasn't done it by now... Again, a stretch but WHO ELSE IS THERE
Depth for David West:
If the Hornets keep Tyson the Draft becomes more flexible because they can also have the freedom to draft depth for West.
Strong, 'tough' player with a nice mid-range jumper. The second unit needs some scoring help and Hansbrough would give a nice post presence. Not going to replace a starter anytime soon.
A great rebounder and passer. He is undersized for the power forward position and is a bit overweight. Would be a nice bench role-player.
And, there appears to be no one else worth drafting at 21st overall so there must be a contingency plan:
No point guards are needed, that can be next season when Antonio Daniels expires. Unless Jrue Holliday falls into our laps we can get depth through the D-League (ala Bobby Brown)
Shooting guard is another thing altogether. Yes, the Hornets have Rasual, Peja and Morris available but Wayne Ellington or Terence Williams would be nice to have either off the bench or eventually replace Peja and his mammoth contract.
Small forward is the same deal, JuJu and Posey have the position paid for the forseeable future whether we like it or not. But Sam Young or Omri Casspi would be interesting though.
Of course we can try to replace Tyson through free agency or get some depth with a back-up veteran. The following possibilities would do nicely: Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Drew Gooden, former Hornet Chris Wilcox. I don't know how this is possible but Chris Andersen might be out of our price range. Problems with free agency include our salary cap situation, players not wanting to play for us and the fact that none of the current free agents are very good. We have to be open to this possibility though should Bower select a non-frontcourt player.
Also, our future does not look as bleak as atthehive's latest post might have lead you to believe. Believe it or not, after next season we will only have five guaranteed contracts (atthehive please check me on this). So, we will have loads of cap space and maybe CP3 will convince one of his USA teammates to join him for a dip in the bayou (no preferences, yes even you Michael Redd should you unwisely choose to opt out). [There are only 7 guaranteed contracts for 2010-2011 (Peja, Paul, Chandler, West, Posey, Hilton, and Peterson). Hilton's contract is the league qualifying offer, and the Hornets will probably extend it. Julian Wright is a team option, but I'd be stunned if he's not picked up. All in all, that results in $66,653,467 guaranteed for 2010-2011, with four more players still to be added. Assuming the Hornets fill out three of those with the league minimum, that would put them around 69-70 million, before getting a big name. The salary cap was 59 million last year and likely to be in the 62 million range this year. The luxury tax was 71 million last year, and likely to drop into the 69 million range this year. Unless Peja or Tyson is moved, there still isn't a lot of flexibility.] Of course the roster spaces still need to be filled but we can spend on a big fish and sign some chumps from the D-League. Unbelievably, Bower has been setting us up for 2010 and I think this fact was lost because we were contenders. Maybe the man is a genius after all.