Happy Season Opener Eve, y'all! It will definitely be nice to have this long and rocky offseason behind us. We'll start off today with some real basketball news – the Times-Pic reported on what role Jerryd Bayless will play on the Hornets, quoting Monty Williams:
"I would not say that Jerryd is a prototype point guard," Williams said, "but with that said, how many prototype point guards are in the NBA? When you compare him to Chris, it probably puts him in a bad light. But he does things at the guard position that lend you to believe he can get the ball up the floor safely. He can penetrate the defense. He can guard the ball 94 feet certain nights."
"I'm not asking him to handle the backup point guard position by himself. With him and Willie (Green) out there, they'll have a chance to play together. And having two guys who can push the ball, I think, can help us."
I don't think I've ever seen that many backhanded compliments in such a small space. It seems that Monty is rather confident in Willie Green. More personnel details after the jump.
Jim Eichenhofer from Hornets.com released the list of inactive players for the beginning of the season through a tweet – the three inactives will be Aaron Gray, Joe Alexander, and Quincy Pondexter. This isn't good news for people like me, who happen to love Gray and Pondexter. It seems odd that D.J. Mbenga would be placed on the active roster ahead of Aaron Gray. We'll see how this plays out throughout the season.
Finally, David Stern mentioned the possibility of contraction in an offhand comment, which appears to have set all NBA journalists off on a mad rush to create as many vague anonymously sourced reports as possible. There are good odds that you'll run into this report:
Late last week, NBA commissioner David Stern floated the idea of contracting teams. The Boston Globe reports three teams in particular -- the Charlotte Bobcats, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets -- could be in the cross hairs.
A league source told CBS Sports last week that the league would "continue to be open to contraction," and a separate anonymous source told the Globe the three above mentioned teams could be in jeopardy.
Although this rumor sounds cataclysmic, I'm not particularly worried. First, David Stern indicated he was considering contraction for teams with owners looking to sell that were unable to find buyers. There is clearly interest in the Hornets franchise, no matter the state of the talks with Gary Chouest.
Second, we need to keep in mind that the negotiations for the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement are about to kick into high gear. Soon, we'll be hearing a lot about how the league is on the brink of collapse due to massive player salaries, and how none of the teams are able to make money. Matt Yglesias, an excellent blogger who usually blogs about things other than sports, had a very persuasive point about this subject a few days ago:
(W)hen Mikhail Prokhorov bought the New Jersey Nets-by no means the league's most lucrative franchise-he paid $200 million for the privilege. Ted Leonsis bought the Wizards, a terrible team, from the Pollard family for over $500 million this past summer. The high price of NBA franchises strongly suggests that operating one is valuable even with 57 of basketball-related revenue going to player salaries. Part of the issue is that the teams themselves can be in some ways loss-leaders for businesses whose real profit center is an arena or a cable network. Accounting can be misleading, actual asset prices are telling you something.
I'd recommend reading the entire post – it's really good. Simply put, the owners are trying to claim that the NBA's current CBA is making the league go broke, when that rather clearly isn't the case. As a result, I'm skeptical of any contraction talk. The Hornets will likely be around for years to come.