Tag:New Orleans Hornets
Posted on: October 13, 2010 2:49 pm
 

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?

Posted by Royce Young

I'm not entirely sure this is what Chris Paul had in mind when he asked the Hornets to do some damage in free agency.

According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, former two-time champion D.J. Mbenga is in New Orleans today working out for the Hornets. Things are expected to go well and Stein says the two sides are close to a one-year agreement.

Mbenga hasn't been much more than an end-of-the-bench practice player in his six NBA seasons. The most minutes he's played a game in a season was 7.9 in 2008-09 with the Lakers.

Reports have had Mbenga close to signing in a number of other places including Portland, Indiana and back with the Lakers among a few others. So I'm not believing this one until I see it. 

But here's the thing: The Hornets could definitely use him. Inside, New Orleans has Emeka Okafor and David West starting. No issues there. But behind them, it's Aaron Gray and newly acquired Jason Smith. So yeah, maybe Mbenga doesn't seem like such a minor signing now. The Hornets are thin on the inside and while Mbenga isn't going to blow anyone away, he may be close to inking with a team he might actually see minutes for.

Last season, Mbenga appeared in just 49 games and averaged 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. At 29, he probably doesn't really have a ceiling to reach towards, other than maybe getting legitimate minutes to prove what he can really do. If he does latch on with the Hornets and cracks the rotation - which he should do - then maybe Mbenga can actually make a small impact. I mean, he does have two championship rings you know.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 9:28 am
 

Shootaround 10.7.10: Thinkin' 'Bout Things

Bulls thinkin' 'bout Dampier, Wizards thinkin' 'bout a name change, and Kidd thinkin' 'bout playing till he's 40, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Peja Stojakovic says health will determine if he plays past this season , the final year of his contract. He wants to get through just one year pain free. It's something we rarely consider with these players, treating injuries like they're some sort of outside clamp that prevents them from playing instead of actual pain the players are experiencing.

With Boozer on the shelf, the Bulls are taking a long look at Erick Dampier, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com . The Bulls waived Chris Richard this week, which is surprising considering their lack of frontcourt depth and the job Richard did in limited minutes.

Marcin Gortat is not going to suddenly get quiet about the issue: he wants a bigger role, now. Unfortunately for him, the Magic are pretty much like "Deal with it, baldy ." Gortat signed a huge contract with the Mavericks last summer but the Magic matched it in restricted free agenc and here we are. For some reason the Magic think having a severely disgruntled Polish guy called "The Hammer" on their team is a good idea.

So this is pretty awesome. Ted Leonsis, the new Wizards owner, posted 101 things the Wizards have put in play to try and improve the fan experience at Wizards games. Some of the smallest details are covered, like how fresh the hot dog buns are. But hidden in there is the following: Changing the name back to the Bullets. Status? "Under consideration." Hold your breath, Bullets fans.

The Hawks exercised their option on Jeff Teague, which should surprise absolutely no one. Teague's locked up through next year, if there is a next year.

Kevin Garnett "went to a dark place " after last year's Finals, which is just classic over-the-top Garnett talk. He was pretty much a wreck after losing that series, leaving you to wonder how he deals with life in any sort of way whatsoever.

Rudy Ferandez' agent went absolutely psycho-hose-beast on local radio, basically pulling a "Leave Britney alone" speech for Fernandez. The kicker is when asked why Rudy wants to go home: "There's friends, there's family, he's a shy guy. He's special." And also a Fraggle, apparently.

Josh McRoberts had an outstanding line last night and the bandwagon is starting to Heat up. McRoberts has already filled into the starting PF spot for the Pacers, and with little competition, will probably hold onto it. A star is born? Maybe?

Jason Kidd wants to play until he's 40 , which is just ridiculous and yet completely believable on all fronts. Oddly, he's already a defensive liability, but the Mavs are thinking about moving him to shooting guard. Which could end up disastrous, but hey, you never know with Kidd. Dude's a survivor. He's going to make it. He's going to work harder. Keep on survivin'. What ?

This Nets-Knicks rivalry gets more entertaining every day .
Posted on: September 30, 2010 11:01 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 12:38 pm
 

Chris Paul reached out to Carmelo Anthony?

Posted by Royce Young

Chris Paul already spent his time under the burning spotlight of speculation and rumor. He knows what that's like. But he made a commitment to stay in New Orleans (for now) and he intends to try and build a winner.

That doesn't mean he wants to build a winner by himself though. As one source told Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Paul sent word to Carmelo Anthony about teaming up together in New Orleans.

Stein spoke with Paul for a nice big feature and that was a topic that CP3 passed over. He waved off the report that he "playfully" suggested during a wedding toast at Carmelo's reception that Melo join him and Amar'e Stoudemire to form their own superteam.

Paul denied the Hornets were in the mix for Anthony, said he wasn't jealous of the trio in Miami and about switching to Leon Rose of CAA he said, "It was just time."

Just because Paul called up Carmelo and said, "Hey, you should come down here and play with me!" doesn't mean anything close to that is happening. The Hornets don't really have near the assets the Nuggets are looking for. A trade of David West, Marcus Thornton and Peja Stojakovic's expiring contract would be decent, but it's not in the ballpark that Denver's looking for at this point.

Besides, a lot of this Melo speculation stems from him wanting the big, bright market for him and his new wife LaLa Vasquez to be able to bask in the lights and make tons of money. I'm not sure if New Orleans exactly qualifies for that.

Now could Anthony wait until next summer and sign in New Orleans? Definitely. That's a possibility. How realistic? I'm not sure. Again, is New Orleans somewhere Anthony is willing to settle into long term?

But as rumored earlier in the week, Carmelo doesn't want to go to his next destination alone and was potentially determining if Paul could join him in two years. If Anthony went to New Jersey, the Nets would certainly have the space to grab CP3 when he's a free agent in 2012. As for New York? That's a bit dicier.

And here's a third scenario just for fun that probably even Carmelo hasn't thought of: Re-up in Denver and in 2012, the Nuggets would have all the necessary cap space to sign Chris Paul. But nah, let's not think about that one. That's no fun.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:58 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 12:26 am
 

Report: Pargo to sign with Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

There's no issue in New Orleans over who the starting point guard is. That problem got sorted out this summer. But as far as who will be backing up Chris Paul? Whoa boy.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! reported late Friday that the Hornets will sign guard Jannero Pargo to a one-year, minimum veteran deal. This is a day after completing a curious trade for guard Willie Green that general manager Dell Demps justified by saying Green could potentially back up Paul.

And this is after signing former D-Leaguer Mustafa Shakur to a non-guaranteed deal to potentially win the position in training camp. Oh, and don't forget point guard D.J. Strawberry will also be in Hornets camp trying to win that backup spot as well.

Pargo previously nearly reached a deal with thw Warriors earlier this summer, but concerns over a scoped knee hung up the signing, eventually causing the Warriors to back out. Pargo has already had one stint with the Hornets, backing up Paul from 2006-2008 before going to Chicago for a season. Pargo spent last year playing overseas.

Pargo is an instant offense point guard that can either make you want to throw a brick through your television or can help you win a game. He gets in ruts where he looks for his own all the time, but there are other times he looks flat brilliant. For his career, the 30-year-old is averaging 6.6 ppg and 2.0 apg.

The backup position isn't settled in New Orleans now as training camp will eventually decide who gets the job of backing up Chris Paul. But Pargo likely has the edge, seeing as he's already got experience doing it.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 11:09 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 1:50 pm
 

Hornets and 76ers complete four-player swap

Posted by Royce Young

Craig Brackins' NBA career is off to a roaring start. Before he's even played a game, he's been traded twice.

Multiple outlets are reporting the 76ers are dealing Willie Green and Jason Smith to the Hornets for Darius Songaila and Brackins. So it's not exactly Carmelo Anthony getting traded, but it's something , alright?

This is one of those trades that really doesn't require a ton of breaking down, but it's a bit curious from the New Orleans end. The Hornets are trying to move salary, even if it's just a low-level rookie scale contract. They get back a third shooting guard in Willie Green who expires next summer and a seven-foot power forward in Smith who can be expiring next summer. It's not like the Hornets can't use a little reliable shooting guard depth, but as of right now, they traded a first-round pick for a third string shooting guard. Get excited NOLA!

The 76ers get a little young talent in Brackins, a player taken originally by the Oklahoma City Thunder before being traded to New Orleans as part of the Cole Aldrich draft day deal. He's a power forward/small forward combo that has range out to the 3-point line. He might be able to find a little playing time behind Andre Iguodala, but he'll have to beat out Andres Nocioni. And Songaila is nothing more than someone to plug inside behind Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young.

It's pretty clear Dell Demps is set on reworking the entire Hornet roster by putting his stamp on it. He wants to clear a little money off the table and start developing some of that flexibility GMs crave. Wojnarowski also said Demps has discussed trading Peja Stojakovic with several teams, but nothing so far on that.

This trade isn't really important in really any sense, but it definitely is an indicator that Demps isn't going to sit on his hands. He made a commitment to transform the Hornets' roster and little by little, he's working on it.

Still, Green and Smith for Brackins and Songaila. It's the anti-blockbuster. It's the complete opposite of the looming Carmelo Anthony trade. It's definitely something and somewhere inside of it there's probably something important to take from it, but it's definitely hard to see from the surface. Especially on the Hornets' end.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 4:14 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 4:15 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

Time to give the hardwood a good waxing and to put some air in the roundball. Training camp is seriously just days away. Ken Berger has already kicked the priming off looking at Boston and San Antonio's training camp issues . And so let's start over here with a team with a disgruntled star that had people talking about where he could go before Carmelo Anthony took over - the New Orleans Hornets.

New Orleans Hornets


Training camp site: New Orleans, LA

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Trevor Ariza (trade), Marco Belinelli (trade), Craig Brackins (draft), Quincy Pondexter (draft), Mustafa Shakur (free agent)

Key subtractions: Darren Collison (trade), James Posey (trade)

Likely starting lineup: Chris Paul, PG; Marcus Thornton, SG; Trevor Ariza, SF; David West, PF; Emeka Okafor, C

Player to watch:   Chris Paul. Coming off an injury that caused him to miss the last 37 games of the season, some wonder if Paul will be the same player. Add in the turbulent offseason with rumors about his New Orleans future and all eyes are on CP3 as he heads to camp. Marcus Thornton is maybe the most intriguing player on the roster because of his potential to break out as a big time scorer, but the Hornets are Chris Paul's team and therefore, he's the one to be watching.

Chemistry check: Though Chris Paul tried to sooth some of the chemistry questions kicked up by him this summer by reportedly asking out of New Orleans, it's still something that's likely to linger over the team. Since it appears that Paul is kind of running the team with Dell Demps catering to Paul's wishes and desires, how does that make the rest of the squad feel?

Obviously CP3 is the leader. Obviously, he's the star. But how does all of that fit in with the rest of the group? Plus, Paul has a new running buddy in Trevor Ariza, a player that shoots first and asks questions later. How does Paul integrate his game with Ariza's trigger happy approach? Luckily for the Hornets, Monty Williams is a good man to have in charge of these issues and someone that can likely solve any kind of chemistry uptick.

Camp battles: One key area is up for discussion going into camp for the Hornets: Who's Chris Paul's new backup point guard? After trading Darren Collison as part of the Ariza deal, the Hornets signed D-Leaguer Mustafa Shakur in the offseason and have recently inked D.J. Strawberry to come to camp and compete for the job. It's the type of position battle that's not overly important because if all goes well, whoever wins the job will only get 8-10 minutes a night. But if something goes wrong like it did last season, it could become a very important spot for the Hornets.

At shooting guard, Marcus Thornton is almost assured of having the starting job, but Marco Belinelli could potentially push him a bit.

Long shots: Strawberry isn't necessarily a long shot, but the job is Shakur's to lose. The Hornets also are bringing in D-League journeyman Daryl Watkins who has spent time with the Kings, Spurs and Clippers. He's a big guy that has somewhat of a chance because of the thin Hornet front line, but it's not likely he makes the team.

Biggest strength: The starting five. Not to pull a Rodney Stuckey here, but on paper, NOLA has a pretty nice first first. Paul, Thornton, Ariza, David West and Emeka Okafor. That five should be able to match up with most, assuming Thornton continues his rise as a prolific scorer. West is a former All-Star, Okafor should have a full run with Paul and is a quality rim-protector and Ariza can score and is a capable lockdown defender.

Glaring weakness:   Depth. As is the case with a lot of teams with good front line talent, there's just not much waiting in reserve. The Hornets traded James Posey and Collison to get Ariza, which definitely hurt their depth. Add in the fact that they might have a D-Leaguer backing up CP3, Darius Songaila spelling West and Aaron Gray as their backup center, and you've got a team with issues on the bench. If rookies Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackins can step up, those issues can be resolved but as of right now, it's a major question.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 12:51 pm
 

Hornets aren't done pleasing CP3 yet

Posted by Royce Young

It's pretty obvious that the Hornets' offseason moves this summer were done for a pretty specific reason - to keep Chris Paul happy. The acquisition of swingman Trevor Ariza and then a deal to bring in shooting guard Marco Belinelli were both accomplished after reports of Paul's unhappiness surfaced.

And according to head coach Monty Williams, the Hornets might not be finished competing for CP3's heart.

“My gut feeling is that we are not done yet," Williams told the Times-Picayune. ”Dell and I share information on both sides. I talk to him about players and he talks to me about things we can do. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we work so well together."

Granted, a lot of people pull the "We're not done yet!" card. Everyone is looking to improve if the opportunity presents itself. But the Hornets will actually be called on it if they're bluffing.

Some have mentioned New Orleans being a destination for Carmelo Anthony, though it's unlikely. I'm teaming with Chris Paul is intriguing, but it's not the market he wants and the Hornets probably don't have the assets to complete a trade with the Nuggets.

And while Williams talks about more players, the reality is the current Hornets roster might just be good enough for a playoff birth if everyone starts playing to their capability. Already in place is the best point guard in the league, plus a rising scorer in Marcus Thornton, then the addition of a quality defender and scorer Trevor Ariza. Add in David West who is an all-star caliber power forward and then center Emeka Okafor who has underachieved and that's a nice starting five.

Obviously a higher caliber scorer would be on the wish list, but as it stands, there's not really a clear cut hole in the first five. Okafor has been a disappointment for the most part, but he's definitely a capable player. Plus, he didn't have the luxury of playing with Chris Paul for the entire season. Do the Hornets need to make a few more moves? Of course. They need a new backup for Paul, a reliable bench scorer and a couple secondary big men. They aren't good enough right now to be a real contender. But are they that far off? Surprisingly, probably not.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 12:13 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 12:14 pm
 

Monty Williams says CP3 never asked for trade

Posted by Royce Young

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Sean Deveney of Sporting News spoke with Hornets head coach Monty Williams recently and when asked about Chris Paul's summer trade demands, Williams said Paul never asked for any such thing.

"You can say it has settled down now, but it was settled before that," Williams told Sporting News. "For me, it was never an issue. Chris never said anything about a trade. He never asked for a trade. He wants us to be a better team, but we all want that and Dell [Demps] and I are going to do all that we can to make it a better team. We're going to make this a better team with Chris here."

Yeeeeeah, surrrrrrre. So what we're all those meetings about this summer? Why did Dell Demps scramble to make a move for Trevor Ariza?

But I mean, what's Williams supposed to say when someone asks him if Chris Paul asked to be traded? "Yeah he did. He totally wanted out but somehow we talked him in to staying here for a while. Or at least we told him that he still has two years on his contract and there's nothing he can do until then."

Or CP3 might have just said, "Get better or I'm out." That's not technically an official trade demand, but more of an ultimatum. So Williams might not even be fibbing in a technical sense.

There's of course the possibility that all of Paul's trade talk was just something to push new Hornets management in an aggressive direction. Maybe he didn't have any real intentions of leaving New Orleans, but just wanted to give ownership and the front office a little kick in the pants.

And in the end, it doesn't necessarily matter. Paul is in New Orleans for the time being and Demps is trying to put together a competitive roster that will keep his star happy. All signs say that CP3 at some point wanted out of New Orleans, but Demps made some moves, said some good things and at least for the immediate future, Chris Paul is a Hornet.
 
 
 
 
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