It was only 6 months ago that everything looked terrible for the New Orleans Hornets.
Chris Paul wanted out and the Hornets worked out a deal to send him to the Lakers only to have the League step in and veto the trade:
“The proposed trade would have sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets and furnished New Orleans with three top-flight NBA players in Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Lamar Odom as well as playoff-tested guard Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick that Houston had acquired from the Knicks. The general reaction among rival executives was that Hornets general manager Dell Demps did as well as he could under the circumstances after Paul told the Hornets on Monday he would not sign a contract extension this season and instead planned to become a free agent July 1, 2012.”
After licking their wounds, the Hornets managed to trade Paul to the Clippers:
“The Clippers will send guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets for Paul. The Clippers will also receive two future second-round picks.”
Amid all of the hub-bub that was going on about the trade and non-trade, the Hornets still played basketball in 2011-12. Now, they find themselves in position to make their team MUCH better because of the trade that didn’t go through.
Imagine if the Hornets would have had to deal with Lamar Odom all season as they stumbled to the finish line. Ouch!
Instead they have Eric Gordon coming back from injury next year, Chris Kaman and his 12.7 million coming off the books and two high draft picks (#4-#10…before the lotto) with a 13% chance of landing the top overall pick. Either way, they can pick up two fantastic players, think Jared Sullinger, who has fallen in most Mock Drafts and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and should have about 20 million dollars to rebuild their franchise.
This is the perfect time to have two high draft picks entering the Lotto. You never know what those ping pong balls will do, but, this draft is 10-12 players deep with difference makers and New Orleans will, more than likely, have two of them.