Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:59 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 11:01 am
By Matt Moore
Eric Gordon is not really having the kind of season he probably thought he would. The Hornets announced Friday that Gordon experienced knee swelling after Wednesday's loss to the Sixers, his first game back from injury, and as a result, on the advice of doctors he's out 2-3 weeks.
That's just bad all over.
The Hornets don't want to tank, that's clear from what Monty Williams and Dell Demps wanted in the vetoed Chris Paul trade with the Lakers and Rockets. Even though losing out is the best thing for their franchise, it's harder for guys to keep jobs through rebuilding projects. It's not fair, but it's what it is. And losing Gordon is going to make it even harder for a Hornets offense that has struggled without him. They've actually been really stout defensively, but they don't have any scorers with Gordon out. It could get ugly for the Hornets.
Jokes will be made about how this shows how much better the Lakers' offer was. But in reality, the Hornets need to tank out. They need to get a top draft pick, and combined with what will be at worst a 13-15 pick from Minnesota, they'll have a great core of players to rebuild around.
For Gordon, you have to hope he can get healthy completely. He needs to finish the season strong, because he's a restricted free agent in the summer. This is the first real payday for players coming off the rookie deal, and whether it's in New Orleans or eliciting a massive offer in restricted free agency, he needs to be healthy to pull it in. If he continues to have injury issues, Gordon could sign the qualifying offer instead, on the hopes of improving his value in a healthy year going into unrestricted free agency in 2013.
Posted on: April 15, 2011 2:32 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 2:37 am
A preview of the first round playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets. Posted by Ben Golliver.
I. Intro: No. 7 seed New Orleans Hornets (46-36) vs. No. 2 seed Los Angeles Lakers (57-25)
The difference between the two teams in this series is simple. The Los Angeles Lakers think they have it bad. The New Orleans Hornets actually do have it bad.
The Lakers enter the postseason just 2-5 in their last seven games, they lost a backup point guard to chicken pox and nearly lost their starting center to yet another knee injury. Only a Kobe Bryant last-second three-pointer on Wednesday night saved the Lakers from slipping to the West’s No. 3 seed and a much tougher series with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Hornets, though, actually do have it bad. After beginning the season 11-1, the Hornets have played exactly .500 ball (35-35) since late-November. They’ve lost their best interior player, David West, to a season-ending knee injury and their franchise point guard, Chris Paul, has dealt with fluid in his surgically repaired knee, closing the season averaging just 7.3 points per game and shooting 31% from the field in the team’s last four games.
One team's problems are clearly much weightier.
II. What Happened: A look at the season series
It’s fair to say that the two-time defending champs dismantled the Hornets during their regular season match-ups, sweeping all four games. The Lakers averaged 101.8 points per game in the victories while holding the Hornets to just 91.0 points per game, making for a colossal 10.8 point average margin of victory. All four wins came since the end of December so they are fairly representative.
Remarkably, the Lakers have shot poorly from deep – just 29.7% as a team – and yet still managed to shoot 51.0% overall from the field, a testament to how many easy buckets they've generated thanks to the interior advantage LA’s big men possess over the short-handed and undersized Hornets front line. Meanwhile, New Orleans has shot just 43.7% from the floor and really struggled from deep in three of the four meetings. Nothing came easy for the Hornets even though they did a decent job of taking care of the basketball. Add all of those numbers and it just screams "blatant talent disparity."
III. The Easy Stuff: The Laker bigs are overwhelming
First: credit where credit is due. New Orleans’ two best big healthy big men – Emeka Okafor and Carl Landry – have both fared pretty well against the Lakers this season. Okafor slapped up averages of 12.3 points and 10.3 rebounds while Landry added 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Combined, that’s pretty solid production for a team that’s lacking a go-to inside scorer now that West is done for the season.
But LA’s three-headed monster of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom makes those numbers look puny by comparison. Together, the trio has averaged an eye-popping 51.8 points and 25.6 rebounds per game against the Hornets this year. Really, that's enough said. Gasol, in particular, has been a tough cover for the Hornets, as he’s put up 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game by himself and figures to be the most difficult match-up for New Orleans given his length, versatility, mobility and skill. The only thing that could possibly stop Gasol in this series is if his teammates forget to pass him the ball.
IV. Secret of the Series: The Lakers need to show up
Los Angeles has every motivation to make quick work of the Hornets as a second round series against either the Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trail Blazers is looming. It’s quite possible that LA could get a significant amount of rest given that Dallas/Portland will likely go six or seven games. Late-season motivation has been a problem recently, as coach Phil Jackson has called out his team’s professionalism and the Lakers nearly blew a 20+ point lead against the Kings on the final night of the season, despite playoff implications being on the line.
Ultimately, the responsibility for showing up falls to Jackson and Kobe Bryant. Not only is that pair familiar with winning, they’re familiar with the boredom that comes from winning often. They also know where the light switch is located. Expect them to flip it sooner rather than later.
V. The Dinosaur Narrative: "Andrew Bynum’s knee injury could be a game-changer"
That particular line of thinking is old and familiar, due to Bynum’s lengthy injury history, but it’s also a bit too early. Against the Hornets, the Lakers could likely win without him, shifting to a smaller lineup that would still possess a talent advantage at virtually every position. At the top of the list of reasons that New Orleans is an ideal match-up for Los Angeles is that Jackson should be able to manage Bynum’s minutes with ease, ensuring he’s fully ready for potential later round match-ups with guys like Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby or Tim Duncan.
Bynum is only said to have a bone bruise, anyway, but it's worth monitoring his progress and playing time in this New Orleans series.
VI. The Line-Item Veto: Who wins each match-up?
PG: The Hornets have one match-up advantage, and it’s a massive one. Even though he’s not playing at the top of his game, Chris Paul is a nightmare cover for any team, especially one who will rely on Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown to play more minutes than usual in Steve Blake’s indefinite absence due to chicken pox. Advantage Hornets.
SG: Kobe Bryant is the best shooting guard in the game and Marco Belinelli is not. No further discussion necessary. Advantage Lakers.
SF: LA’s small forward of the past, Trevor Ariza, faces off against LA’s small forward of the present, Ron Artest. Ariza has better numbers on the season but Artest and all of his antics and physicality will surely make his life miserable. Call this one a push.
PF: As documented above, Pau Gasol against Carl Landry is likely to get ugly in a hurry. Big advantage Lakers.
C: Okafor’s individual numbers against the Lakers are better than Bynum’s individual numbers against the Hornets, but Gasol will spend time at the five to clear minutes for Lamar Odom off the bench. Even a Herculean performance from Okafor won’t help the Hornets keep pace here. Advantage Lakers.
Bench: Odom, a sixth man of the year candidate, plus Brown, an athletic tempo-changer are better than New Orleans’ bench, which is essentially a scrap heap up front with Wilie Green and Jarrett Jack capable of making some noise in the backcourt. Advantage Lakers.
Coach: Phil Jackson has won 11 titles as a head coach and has won 225 playoff games. Monty Williams, as talented and respected a rookie head coach as you’ll find in the NBA, has won zero playoff games as a head coach. Williams deserves some love for Coach of the Year and could become a mainstay on the sidelines for decades, but the two men don’t belong in the same sentence right now. Advantage Lakers.
Los Angeles got its dream match-up – finally – when it put away the Kings away in overtime on the last day of the regular season. The Hornets enter the series without their All-Star forward, David West, and with question marks surrounding Chris Paul, who recently had his knee drained of fluid and was held scoreless for the first time in his career. The Hornets don’t have much of a bench and certainly can’t compete with LA’s monstrous, versatile frontline trio of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Forget about it. Prediction: Lakers in 4.
VIII. CBSSports.com Video Preview
Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will look to defend their title as they take on Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets in this round 1 playoff matchup. Ian Eagle and Ken Berger preview this upcoming matchup.
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 11:43 am
New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul had his knee drained of liquid this week. Posted by Ben Golliver.
On Wednesday night, New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul scored 28 points, dished 10 assists and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Hornets beat the Houston Rockets and secure a playoff spot. Hornets coach Monty Williams says that Paul's big night was all the more amazing because he needed to have a large amount of fluid drained from his ailing knee prior to the game.
In a video shot by NOLA.com, Williams explains that Paul had roughly 20% of a cup's worth of liquid drained out of his knee on Tuesday.
"Chris almost had a triple double tonight and normally I don't say this because I don't like to put his stuff out there, but he had 45 CCs drained off of his knee yesterday from the hit he took.
"For him to be able to play at a high level like that with a sore leg. They just don't make 'em like that.
"Most guys would take the night off. Try to get this one game that we needed next week or something like that. I thought that act of sacrifice was what we needed. We certainly need him to play at that level but he's a monster."Paul missed a good chunk of last season after undergoing knee surgery and he spent the early months of this season wearing a cumbersome brace to protect his surgically-repaired left knee. Paul hasn't been quite the same player as he was pre-surgery this season, but he's still been pretty dang good, and the burden on him to carry the Hornets got even heavier when forward David West went down for the season with an ACL injury of his own. Paul is averaging 16.3 points and 9.8 assists so far this season.
The Hornets are locked into a tight three-team race for the Western Conference's sixth, seventh and eighth seeds with the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies. Williams doesn't really have the luxury of managing Paul's minutes, as holding on to the sixth seed would mean the Hornets would face the Dallas Mavericks rather than the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. That's certainly a more favorable match-up for New Orleans, given the absence of West and the team's lack of size and depth up front.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:20 pm
All sorts of theories are flying about the future of the New Orleans Hornets. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Given the mess that is the New Orleans Hornets, you have to feel bad for three people: new GM Dell Demps, new coach Monty Williams and all star point guard Chris Paul. The three met over the summer and apparently hashed out a workable relationship, one which kept Paul happy in the short term and led to a strong start to the season, delivering a whole bunch of promise to start the season. Now, with the team's financial records being leaked and a sale to the NBA underway, their hard work and attempts to keep things in house and under wraps are getting blown up in a big time way. It's only been 48 hours since the NBA announced it would take over control of the team, and the speculation and rumors about possible relocation have kicked into full gear. Here's a rundown, in no particular order. The Times-Picayune reports that Morris Bart, a New Orleans attorney is ready to become a minority partner and hoping for a 10% stake.
"I grew up in New Orleans and I went through the bitterness of the Jazz pulling out and leaving New Orleans,'' Bart said. "I would like to do my part to save the new generation of kids from having to go through that same experience. I'm living here and I think the team has to have local ownership. You've got to have a big fish that can come in and buy 50 percent and then the minority investors can follow along. I feel the NBA strongly wants to keep the team in New Orleans.''Fletcher Mackel, a sports anchor for WDSU in New Orleans, tweets that he is "hearing rumors about David Filo buying Hornets. He's Co founder of Yahoo!, worth 2.9 billion." Filo has ties in the region, having been raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana and attending Tulane University. KMBZ radio in Missouri is reporting that Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser "says he's been involved in talks to bring the Hornets to Kansas City." Kansas City, of course, has an NBA-ready arena and has been short-listed by multiple media outlets as a possible relocation home for the Hornets. Finally, HoopsWorld.com writes that contracting the Hornets is an option that hasn't been discussed enough.
Commissioner David Stern has refused to rule out contraction as a possible option when the owners meet with the NBA Players' Association to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) this summer.
The first and perhaps hardest part of the process is finding an owner willing to sell their team to the NBA for eventual dissolution. With the acquisition of the Hornets, the league has already completed that step.What to make of all of this? That there is local interest cropping up immediately in Louisiana is a good sign. Silence in the short term would have been deafening, and a death blow to hope for basketball fans in the Bayou. That people are interested in saving the team is a crucial first step. As for contraction, it seems like a very unlikely possibility in this situation, given the strong interest from other markets and reported interest from overseas owners regarding buying into the league. By purchasing the team from previous owner George Shinn, the NBA committed significant resources (reportedly $300 million) and will be looking for a return on that investment. It's difficult to see commissioner David Stern wanting to swallow that loss whole, especially if there is foreign demand for the right to enter the NBA. Finally, we come full circle and return to our sympathies to those currently working for and playing for the Hornets. Single-minded focus is one of the highest virtues in professional basketball. Being able to tune everything out and carry out the task at hand is what separates winners from losers, above-average teams from average teams, and champions from the rest of the pack. What's being asked of the Hornets and their staff between now and whenever the team is sold -- remember, there is no set goal for that to happen, as Stern is preaching patience -- is a nearly impossible task. Focusing amidst such a storm is simply not a workable, functional reality.
Posted on: December 5, 2010 12:47 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:16 pm
A takeover by the NBA could signal a relocation is in the New Orleans Hornets' future and raises old questions about Chris Paul's future with theteam. Posted by Ben Golliver. We've been tracking the news that the NBA may step in to purchase the New Orleans Hornets pretty closely this weekend. First, here's the breaking news. Second, here's the explanation for why expected new owner Gary Chouest got cold feet. The early word was that the NBA would be looking for local investors to keep the franchise in New Orleans, where it's been since moving from Charlotte in 2002. The latest updates to the story, however, paint a bleaker picture for the future of basketball in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune says the NBA takeover "could be the absolute worst thing to happen in terms of the Hornets remaining in New Orleans beyond the next couple of seasons" because a league-run auction of the franchise would be open to bids from around the world.
Yes, sources indicated that the league would try to find a sole buyer or investment group that would keep the Hornets in New Orleans. There’s no reason to doubt the attempt wouldn’t be made.
But if the highest bidder came from, say, Seattle, the NBA’s desire to keep the team in New Orleans probably would take a back seat to that. In money matters, generally what matters most is money. And if deeper pockets from outside Louisiana emerge, and if that means the franchise is more likely to be economically sound because of it, the NBA hardly would be inclined to make a bad business decision.Sports Illustrated reports Sunday that the NBA's takeover of the Hornets is imminent -- it could happen within the next few days -- and lists Kansas City, Anaheim and Chicago as possible relocation sites. One would assume the current sale process, which has dragged on for nearly a year, would have exhausted any other possible local ownership groups during its early stages. And if the giant "for sale" sign on the Hornets for the last nine months didn't attract a legit local buyer, it's difficult to see how a new "for sale" sign, this time embossed by the NBA's logo, is going to make much of a difference in the gulf. Making the possibility of relocation even more likely is a recent report that the Hornets are not hitting the attendance benchmarks needed to lock itself into its arena lease in New Orleans. In other words, should an outside buyer emerge with an eye towards moving the team to his destination of choice, a la Clay Bennett and the Oklahoma City Thunder, a major, expensive hurdle that usually exists wouldn't be there to slow down the process. It's grim news for the Hornets, their fans and, especially, new coach Monty Williams and new general manager Dell Demps, who have put the team's roster in order quickly upon their arrivals this summer and have created a winning basketball atmosphere in the face of all of this uncertainty and adversity. In the long run, a new owner not named George Shinn is better for all involved, but the sale of the team will undoubtedly remain a painful process, one that could cost the team its franchise player, Chris Paul. If I'm Paul, intent on winning and competing for an NBA title in the short-term, thanks to questions about my surgically-repaired knee -- I take a step back and realize that franchises with this much front office turmoil simply do not win titles -- nor consistently compete for them -- in the NBA. If this ownership group can't even sell its majority stake properly, and there are no prospective buyers anxious to do a better job, how will this franchise ever build a true contender? The answer? It won't. Which leaves Paul with two options: settle in for the (potentially years-long) long haul of up-and-down, day-to-day confusion about the franchise's direction, or start seriously exploring greener pastures. While trade requests are always met with a lot of backlash, in this case it's hard to tell who would blame him. It's one thing to carry four teammates on your back, it's another to carry an ownership group. No player can reasonably be expected to shoulder that burden. Update (5:25 pm):
The Times-Picayune reports Sunday afternoon that the NBA is maintaining a public commitment to the city of New Orleans, and has installed a Lousiana native to oversee the ongoing sale negotiations.
Jac Sperling, vice charrman of the NHL's Minnesota Wild is a New Orleans-born attorney who has in the past negotiated the sale of professional sports teams and guided the Wild into one of hockey's most successful franchises, according to a report at SI.com.
A league source said Sunday that NBA Commissioner David Stern would likely be taking these steps because he firmly wants the Hornets to remain in New Orleans. By taking over the team, the source said, Stern would be able to ensure a sale to someone who was also committed to keeping the team in New Orleans. The Hornets said team president Hugh Weber would not comment on the latest developments, but that Weber would still be in control of the day-to-day operations of the team.Of course the NBA is invested in franchise stability. And it's also invested in keeping Hornets fans interested in their team in the short term. The league has no choice but to take a pro-New Orleans stance publicly. But as Seattle recently taught basketball fans, money speaks far louder than rhetoric. The only hope for basketball in New Orleans is local money that has, to this point, been nonexistent.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 1:57 pm
Hornets guard feeling better about things with team thriving.
Posted by Matt Moore
Seems like only yesterday that Chris Paul was unhappy with management and working to extricate himself from New Orleans in order to make sure his prime isn't wasted. Now, with the Hornets 11-1 and the toast of the NBA, Paul's feeling a lot better about things. As he told NBA FanHouse:
"Yeah, I'm happy," he said with a smile after a gritty 75-71 win in which he shot just 2 of 12 from the field for four points but had 14 assists despite the Hornets shooting just 32.2 percent. "I'm happy. We're good to go."
Most interestingly, FanHouse reports that part of Paul's newfound contentment is due to the near-sale of the Hornets to Gary Chouest. Apparently Paul was concerned about current owner George Shinn's commitment to spending for a winner. Helping things has been Dell Demps' shrewd maneuvering (depending on who you ask ), and Monty Williams' coaching, which Paul raves about.
The question is if Paul will still feel this way if the gap between the Hornets and Lakers is revealed to be as wide as it's considered to be. If Paul can win but not win a championship, is that enough for him? Likewise, best buddy LeBron James' current struggles in Miami have to put Paul a little off on the idea of ditching his team for a super-team-up in New York or elsewhere. Paul was talked about as part of the toast at Carmelo Anthony's wedding reception this summer. But Paul's under contract, has publicly supported New Orleans, and now that the Hornets are winning, you have to wonder if all that's behind him.
Then again, check back in February and things may be dramatically different, even if he does have good buddy Jarrett Jack to hang out with (at a hefty price for a backup). But for now, Paul's happy to be winning, happy to be in New Orleans, and happy with how things are going. Things have changed awful fast. Hopefully for Hornets fans, they won't change again that quick.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 10:12 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: November 20, 2010 2:14 pm
Trade being discussed to send Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to Toronto for Jarrett Jack, David Andersen, Marcus Banks. Posted by Matt Moore
UPDATE 2:07PM: CBSSports.com confirms the trade is done, talks with the league will occur this afternoon. Bizarre.
Ken Berger confirms that the Hornets save $4.6 million immediately, which gets them off the cap and allows them to look at options at the deadline. The Raptors, in addition to getting Peja's expiring contract they can move before the deadline, save $4.7 million next year.
We'll have more analysis in a bit.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune , a bizarre Euro site via HoopsHype.com , and ESPN are reporting that the New Orleans Hornets are close to a trade that would send Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to the Toronto Raptors for Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks, and David Andersen. It is a baffling trade from about a hundred angles. We'll go over some of them here while the two fight over how much money the Hornets have to send the Raptors.