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Hornets Sign Luther Head

Last week, I was pretty hard on Luther Head. I haven't been a fan of New Orleans using the small back-court approach in recent years. While it does create certain offensive opportunities, it's not the most viable strategy defensively, and it taxes Chris Paul by making him guard bigger players.

Head will likely be used in tandem with Darren Collison, and as Jeff Bower noted today, "His versatility was important, not only as a shooting guard but also his ability to handle the responsibilties of the point. It gives us a third option at the point guard position, and that was an important thing we were looking for."

A quick breakdown of Head after the jump.

Head's primarily been a distance shooter throughout his career. I mentioned last week that he hasn't changed much as a player in his five years in the league. In 2009-2010, around 50% of his attempts came from 16 to 23 feet., right around his career averages. He's a guy that will hover around the three point line for much of a game; while his three point efficiencies make this a worthwhile strategy, it certainly limits his versatility. 

As a third string point guard, he will likely function adequately. His assist rates aren't spectacular, but teams haven't really used him in the lead guard role. His turnover rates are a little high for a catch-and-shoot guy. But he's not going to see extended minutes at the point anyway; if he does, something else will have gone terribly, terribly wrong. 

Here's the updated roster and salary situation:

Player Dollars (in millions)
Chris Paul 14.9
Peja Stojakovic 14.3
Emeka Okafor 11.9
David West 8.3
James Posey 6.5
Darius Songaila 4.8
Julian Wright 2.9
Darren Collison 1.4
Craig Brackins 1.1
Quincy Pondexter 0.9
Marcus Thornton 0.8
Luther Head  1.2
Free Agent #2 ---
Free Agent #3 ---
Free Agent #4 ---
Hornets Total
68, 740, 045
Salary Cap
58, 044, 000
Luxury Tax
70, 307, 000


Reports peg the contract at $2.5 million over the next two years; I've listed him at $1.2 on the table. In the grand scheme of things, this doesn't affect the Hornets' pursuit of other free agents. As I noted a couple days ago, the Hornets' spending will be dependent on their level of comfort with moving Darius Songaila and possibly Julian Wright. 

Songaila's contract, Wright's contract, and the Hornets' luxury tax deficit came out to ~$10 million. Considering that the midlevel and biannual exceptions together comprise around 7 to 8 million dollars, the Hornets really didn't "lose" any spending money through the Head deal. The maximum amount they can offer to a single free agent hasn't changed. For those that are extremely opposed to the signing (personally, I don't mind getting a career 39% three point shooter for near the minimum), that should offer some solace.