Although the ’09 NBA free agent class isn’t as stacked as in years past â€” not to mention the League is being more thrifty than ever due to the slumping economy â€” teams still have holes they want to plug, and players have moves they want to make. Here, we break down all 30 NBA teams’ free agent strategy…
G – Chris Paul, Rasual Butler, Darren Collison, Morris Peterson, Antonio Daniels, Marcus Thornton, Devin Brown
F – David West, Peja Stojakovic, James Posey, Julian Wright, Ryan Bowen, Sean Marks
C – Tyson Chandler, Hilton Armstrong, Melvin Ely
Bowen, Ely, Marks
Last summer, the Hornets were one of the big winners in free agency, when they lured Posey away from the Celtics and seemed ready to take the next step into championship contention. But after an up-and-down season that ended about as disastrously and depressing as possible, the Hornets will likely be quiet this offseason as they try to just stay in the playoff picture.
It’s not so much about what the Hornets can do in free agency — because with the NBA’s highest payroll ($77.5 million), they can’t do much — it’s more about making trades to cut costs.
New Orleans is said to have a standing offer from the Suns where they’d get Ben Wallace’s contract for Tyson Chandler, and Chandler’s name has surfaced in a couple other trade rumors. Although he was a borderline All-Star not too long ago, and the rest of the Hornets almost revolted when Chandler was temporarily traded at the ’09 deadline, it seems management has decided he’s out. Of the four highest-paid players on the team — Peja ($14.2M), CP3 ($13.7M) and West ($9M) being the others — Chandler ($11.8M) is the most expendable and most attractive to other teams.
The Hornets have set aside a little money to work with, and seem committed to bolstering the power forward position above anything else, as they have no depth behind West. They could upgrade at center if Chandler is traded, but Hilton Armstrong is supposed to be their center of the future, so he could slide in and start.
PF – Big Baby Davis (R), Brandon Bass, Anderson Varejao, Joe Smith, Leon Powe, Hakim Warrick (R), Stromile Swift, Ike Diogu, Sean May, Maceo Baston, Josh McRoberts (R)