Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cox Sports to Show Top Ten Games of 2007-08

Beginning tonight at 7:00 pm CDT, Cox Sports will re-broadcast some of the best games from the 2007-08 season (See CST Spotlight). This evening, they'll show the Hornets' early season road win against the Lakers. Y'know, the one when Chef Paul handed out 21 dishes. And when Peja lit up the building with 10 made 3-pointers. The station will be broadcasting one game per week from now through the last week of September. A Hornets Top Ten, if you will. I've posted the full schedule below. Check out the games if the Olympics don't satisfy your basketball jones.

CST Hornets Encore Schedule (All games are 7:00 pm)
Tuesday, Jul 29 = New Orleans Hornets @ Los Angeles Lakers (from 11/06/07)
Tuesday, Aug 05 = Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Hornets (from 12/01/07)
Tuesday, Aug 12 = Phoenix Suns @ New Orleans Hornets (from 12/15/07)
Tuesday, Aug 19 = New Orleans Hornets @ Phoenix Suns (from 2/6/08)
Tuesday, Aug 26 = Utah Jazz @ New Orleans Hornets (from 2/29/08)
Tuesday, Sep 02 = San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Hornets (from 3/12/08)
Tuesday, Sep 09 = Houston Rockets @ New Orleans Hornets (from 3/19/08)
Tuesday, Sep 16 = Boston Celtics @ New Orleans Hornets (from 3/22/08)
Tuesday, Sep 23 = New Orleans Hornets @ Cleveland Cavaliers (from 3/26/08)
Tuesday, Sep 30 = New Orleans Hornets @ Orlando Magic (from 4/01/08)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Jerseys in New Orleans

The Hornets will have a new look next season. And not just because they signed James Posey to his contract this afternoon. Although it hasn't been officially reported, the team will have new uniforms for the 2008-09 season. I'm lucky enough to have a few people with access to the team. Here's what they've told me. The teal in the color scheme will actually be more of a blue-ish teal, as opposed to the green tint that we've seen in the past. Maybe you can see the difference in this picture between the shirts that most fans are wearing and the lane on the court. The team will have pinstripes on their jerseys and their shorts. The waistbands on the shorts will have NOLA on them. The Fleur De Bee will appear either on the back of the jersey or the side of the shorts. And there might be a really cool alternate jersey that has "NOLA" on the chest (instead of "New Orleans").

I've searched the web and stumbled across a few fans' guesses as to what they might look like. And I finally found one that is very closely in line with everything I've heard from connected friends or read from trusted sources. I wish I could convince someone to supply me with an actual photograph, but -- for now -- I can provide this pretty accurate drawing thanks to moubre4 over at Hornets Report.

Once again, special thanks to moubre4 at for the approximate depictions of the new uniforms for 2008-09.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pocket Full of [Reactions to James] Posey

A [very knowledgeable] friend of mine down at At the Hive posted a reaction to the Posey signing. And I have to say that I agree with him on most of his points. I actually experienced the exact same progression of reactions (1. Yes, 2. NOOOOO!, 3. Yes), eventually coming to grips with the fact that The Hornets have effectively mortgaged part of our future for a shot at the here and now.

Part of me still wishes we had addressed our thinness at the 2, 4, or 5 (especially with the Clips possibly nabbing Azubuike for 9 mil over 3 years). But at the end of the day, Posey does address the bench depth and his presence just means that we will be playing smaller off the bench... which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"I can't belive I get to play with Chris Paul next year!"

My one concern with the signing (that falls squarely into one of Hollinger's points) actually has nothing to do with money, but rather the development of one of our brighter youngsters: Julian Wright. How does Byron work him into the mix with Posey on board? Does JuJu fill Bowen's now empty role as backup of anything from the 2-4 slots (since JuJu can play the 4) or does Byron go through with his strange plan to make JuJu the backup for CP3? (That last statement comes from Stein Line). I just have trouble seeing how Wright can develop alongside a player who is going to be eating minutes as the backup 3. Other than using him and JuJu as a guard-forward tag team behind Mo and Peja, I'm not seeing too many other options... even though that one doesn't sound too terrible now that I've written it out.

However, just for fun, last night my buddy and I played "What would Byron do?" and devised a plan in which we would start Peja at the 2 and JuJu at the 3 and have Wright guard the better player at either position on defense. Then bring Mo off the bench at the 2 and Posey at the 3. It's a scrambled version of the above plan, but it could work. Even good defenders at the 2 might have trouble blocking a jump shot from a guy who's 6-10.

Other than "You are absolutely insane" or "this will never happen", if you have any thoughts on this plan, please feel free to comment.

Oh, and how about that Bobby Brown and the ruckus he's been a-making down in Vegas. Looks like Christmas might come a little early for CP.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hornets Sign James Posey

And the wait is over! James Posey has agreed to a four-year deal with the Hornets. The contract will cost the team their entire mid-level exception (approximately $5.6 million per year). This move addresses two big issues for the Bees: 1) their need for some veteran leadership from a proven winner and 2) the lack of any bench scoring.

It will be fun to watch Posey pair up with Julian Wright as the team's bench swingmen. With Posey's sharp shooting and JuJu's athleticism, they should complement one another very well. Plus, neither guy is solely a shooter or a slasher. Posey can put it on the floor and draw a foul, and Julian can spot up on the perimeter.

Welcome to the Crescent City, James. We can't wait for you and your championship rings to arrive. I hope you're not happy with just two of 'em.

Now, if the team can just re-sign Pargo or offer Summer League sensation Bobby Brown a cheap contract, the rotation for 2008-09 is pretty much set.

Go Hornets!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The James Posey Sweepstakes

Right after I post that there's nothing to report in free agency, I stumble upon all sorts of articles talking about the Hornets' desire to sign James Posey.

The Times Picayune is reporting that Posey, according to his agent, is still interested in the Hornets. Ken Trahan at has an article up about why the team wants to add the veteran swingman to the roster.

And Marc Stein of has confirmed that the Hornets are the team with the best chance to lure Posey away from the defending champs.

Meanwhile, NBC Sports is saying that Posey and the team might agree to a contract today. Although it's getting late in the day, and we still haven't heard any official news.

Stay tuned.

Leaps and Bounds

With nothing to report in the realm of free agent signings, we'll take a look at our two biggest potential internal improvements: Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright. Both "veteran" Hornets are participating on the summer league team in Las Vegas. Two games into the offseason scrimmages, Hilt is averaging 13.5 ppg and 7 rpg. As usual, JuJu is filling up the stat sheet with some impressive numbers: 11.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3 apg, 3 spg, and 1 bpg. Granted, that's a sample size of only two games. And it's not exactly against the world's greatest competition. But it's nice to see the team's two most recent draft picks (Hilton was 12th overall in 2006 and Julian was 13th overall in 2007) have a solid showing.

It's really no surprise for either player. Armstrong did very well last offseason; unfortunately, that never translated into any significant improvements during the regular season or playoffs. His averages in scoring and rebounding actually dropped from his rookie season to his sophomore year. One writer over at Hoops World thinks that Hilton is a bright spot in the team's future. He certainly could be. But he hasn't proven anything yet. If he can get his on-court game to match what he's shown during the summer, this team will have one thing fewer to worry about.

With JuJu, we've seen more immediate progress. And plenty of long term promise. In his first season as a pro, Julian "Flight 32" Wright averaged 3.9 ppg and 2.1 rpg, all while shooting a very respectable percentage from behind the arc (41.7%) and from the floor in general (53.3%). The per game stats are a little deceptive, because his turning point didn't come until after the All-Star break. His breakout stretch came during two back-to-back home games: March 5 against the Hawks and March 8 versus the Nets. In those two games, JuJu had a combined 33 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. His field goal percentage during those two outings was an out-of-this-world 70% including 2/3 on three pointers.

Coach Scott himself has said he'll be keeping an eye on Julian this summer. A midrange jumpshot should be JuJu's main concern during the offseason. He has no problem driving the lane or getting to the rim. But if he could become a shooting threat, Julian would have a good chance to be the league's Sixth Man of the Year. And I wouldn't be surprised to see him crack the starting lineup soon enough. Although he saw limited time on the court (a little over 11 minutes per game), he should be a major part of the rotation next season. Weighing in his favor is the fact that he's an extremely versatile player. At 6'8" he could arguably play either forward spot. And his explosiveness and athleticism make him a good fit for both wing positions. With an improved shot, he could increase his role as a backup shooting guard. And he has a good enough handle to give the team an oversized playmaker on the floor at all times.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Offseason: who wants some cake?

Now that the free agent cake has had a large chunk taken out of it, I thought it was time for me to revisit the potential offseason game plan. After all, let's face it: who doesn't like cake?

Curry has advocated a nice plan that would certainly give us the depth we'd need to conquer the West (and beyond), but I'd like to try something a little different. An approach that I feel addresses our weaknesses and doesn't quite put us in luxury tax land. Now that Corey Maggette and Mickael Pietrus are off the boards, let's start with arguably the best available (restricted, mind you) free agent at the 2: Ben Gordon.

The problem with going after Gordon is that the Hornets are at/over the cap. They could offer him their full midlevel exception, but if Gordon turned down a 5 year 50 million deal from the Bulls last year, I find it hard to believe that he'd jump away from Chicago for a little more than half that yearly salary (the midlevel this year is about 5.8 million). This means that to get Gordon, Bower would probably have to arrange a sign and trade deal. So who would we give up for Gordon? I personally wouldn't want to touch any of the following players: Paul, West, Chandler, Stojakovic, Wright. That leaves Mo Pete, Shoes, Hilt, Ely, and Butler. Does anyone honestly believe the Bulls would trade Gordon to us for any of those players? Short of us giving away all of them, I don't see it happening (not even then, actually). Plus, if we make any deal that sends Mo over to Chicago, Gordon would have to start... which would be bad.

Instead, I'm going to offer a different approach. It will require a little bit of that whole "suspension of disbelief" thing, but it could work. Think "improbable", but not "impossible". Keep in mind that none of this has any grounding in reality; I'm simply musing on the subject. Here's the 3 step plan.

Wouldn't it be nice...

1. Send Hilton Armstrong over with Mike James for Andris Biedrins in a sign and trade. Shoes makes sense for a point guard-less Golden State, especially now that it looks like Chicago may not open to deals involving Kirk Hinrich. James is a poor (very poor) man's Baron Davis. He's fast, he doesn't always like to pass, and he'll throw up contested 3s all day if you let him. The warriors are dying for a point man, and James' recklessness (which is somewhat effective) could be a good fit.

As for Biedrins, the Warriors only use him off the bench (which is a crime given their lineup), so Hilton will be just as useful for them considering he is one of the quicker big men in the game. His 40 minutes averages are far from Andris', but Nellie might be willing to spend more time developing his skills (something Byron had no interest in). Plus Hilt would cost less for them keep, making room for Maggette's contract and anyone else Chris Mullin wants to overpay (4 years, 17 million for Ronny Turiaf? C'MON!).

2. Resign Jannero Pargo. I'm fairly positive we can do this without it counting against our cap. Sure, we could use a backup who is more "pass-first" minded, but Pargo did do well this year all the while managing to avoid Byron's doghouse (despite a field goal percentage hovering near 43). Yeah, he's streaky (but so is Gordon), but he's comfortable with the team and the coaching staff. I still don't think the shot to save our season should have fallen to him, but I'd welcome him back in a heartbeat.

3. Assuming we still have the option (after a very hypothetical trade for Biedrins), offer the full midlevel to Josh Childress. He's restricted, but I'm not sure that Atlanta will match any offer, considering he really isn't their top priority. Childress is super talented, he can play the 2, 3, and 4, and he has a release that will confuse anyone who tries to guard him. He's likeable and he loves Tyson. He's a more solid backup than Bonzi and gives us depth with his versatility. Of course, if we do land him, you'll probably have to switch out you old Josh Childress Wallpaper.

If we couldn't drag Childress away, my vote would be to re-sign Bonzi. It wouldn't be ideal, but then again, if we pull of the above sign and trade, I'd be cool if we signed Curry.

Here's how the Top 10 Bees stack up if my plan goes off without failure

PG: Paul, Pargo
SG: Peterson
SF: Stojakovic, Wright, Childress (or Wells)
PF: West, Ely
C: Chandler, Biedrins

Does the word unstoppable come to mind? It should. Granted, this probably won't happen, but on the off chance it does, you heard it here first.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hornets! And Lots of Other Bugs

This story is from the middle of last month... but it's still noteworthy, because I made it happen. The advertising agency where I work does the marketing for the Audubon Nature Institute. When I found out they were planning a day-long extravaganza for their newest facility, I thought it would be a natural partnership with the Hornets. On June 13, they opened the Audubon Insectarium in downtown New Orleans. And the Hornets had a presence at the festivities.

I hadn't seen this news story until today, but I definitely wanted to post it. Due to the common "bug" theme, I thought it would be a good idea to pair the team and the museum. So I got in touch with the VP of marketing for the Hornets and asked our client if she'd be interested in having the team make an appearance. Both sides thought it was a great move, so I coordinated getting them in touch with each other. And the rest is history. Pretty cool to see something when I was behind the scenes.

2008 Free Agency Updates

Earlier today, the Hornets officially completed their number one priority of the offseason: re-signing Chris Paul to a contract extension. That move will keep the starting five intact through the 2010-11 season. With a few more savvy moves from Jeff Bower, that should be enough time to see the Hornets bring home a championship to the Crescent City.

Let's take a look at some potential moves for this summer. I'll start by ruling out a couple of things that won't be possible. First, ESPN reports that the Orlando Magic have taken Mickael Pietrus off the market. And the Golden State Warriors, in response to losing B-Shiddy and Pietrus, have agreed to sign Corey Maggette to a ridiculous deal. So there go my top two free agent swingmen. However, the team's top two targets (James Posey and Jarvis Hayes) are still available.

Last week, reported that the Hornets are interested in Hayes. And the Times-Pic/ recently had an article detailing the team's interest in Posey. Those two weren't on my list; only one of them -- Posey -- was really on my radar. And you can be sure it will be one or the other, not both, that the team really makes a run to get... since they offer more or less the same things. Honestly, I think I would be OK with either. I would prefer Posey as I think he's more reliable. He certainly has more experience, including in the playoffs (60 postseason games to Hayes' 15). But I don't think either one alone will solve our bench problems.

At this point, my ideal summer would be something like this. The Hornets could wrangle Ben Gordon away from the Bulls, since they'll hopefully be bogged down in contracts in order to keep other players. And the Hornets offer a contract to Eduardo Najera with any leftover money. Gordon would be an upgrade from Pargo, so we can let him walk. And Najera could play either forward spot giving the second string some size on defense and another 3-point threat on offense. If Hilt and JuJu can both improve, we'd really only need a backup point guard as insurance.

1) Chef Paul, Point Guard X, Mike "Shoes" James
2) Mo Pete, Ben Gordon
3) Peja, JuJu
4) D-West, Hilt, Najera
5) Tyson, Mel Ely

I'd be happy with that lineup.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tyson to Travel as Team USA Alternate

Great news for all the fans in the Big Easy. According to Chris Sheridan, New Orleans' own Tyson Chandler will be traveling with Team USA throughout the summer as the first alternate for the twelve man roster.

For him to officially crack the roster someone else would have to get injured, but that puts a small possibility out there that he and CP3 could go global with the Crescent City Connection. Think about that. Extrapolate it. Now we can haunt Dirk's dreams in the summer, too.

The addition of Tyson to the team addresses a slight shortage of front court talent (the team is only bringing 3 "true" big men, opting for Melo to start at the 4). Basically this means that Coach K and Company are going to playing small ball... unless TC gets on board.

Hornets fans should be proud of their crew as only 2 other teams have more than one player representing them abroad on either the roster or reserves. Detroit has Prince on the roster (who was actually selected instead of Chandler for the last spot) and Billups in the wings, while Utah actually has 2 players on the official roster: Boozer and D.Will.

At any rate, we at HH would like to extend our congratulations to Tyson... and our condolences to Bill Paxson.

And for those of you who want a little more of a preview for the "Redeem Team" check out my boy Sheridan. Expect more Olympic coverage to come as the summer continues.


Friday, July 4, 2008


Yesterday it was announced that CP3 and the Hornets came to an agreement over a contract extension. It's a three year deal (with a player's option for a fourth). The package is worth 68 million... money well spent. The CP3 era is here. Bandwagonners, we are accepting fan applications.

ESPN has the rest of the details.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sonic Doom

So it's official. The NBA will be leaving Seattle for the not-exactly-greener pastures of Oklahoma City. I have my own views on the relocation, based partially on some extremely harsh things that a handful of Oklahomans said about my city and state shortly after Katrina. Obviously, I know that those views (for instance, hoping that New Orleans was abandoned and never rebuilt) represent a very small and radical portion of the population. Over the years in college and elsewhere, I've met plenty of pleasant people from the state. And to them, I have to say I'm sorry. But I simply can't get behind the SuperSonic's decision to leave Seattle.

For the time being, I'm going to leave this one up to the pros. Plenty of writers have covered the impending move. So, here is a sampling...

Official AP article announcing the move

You can find JA Adande's take here.

Kevin Jackson, who grew up in the greater Seattle area and lived in Oklahoma as a child, has a particularly good write up.

Jim Caple of ESPN's Page 2 adds his thoughts.

Berry Trammel of The Oklahoman (recently voted the worst newspaper in America) also has something to say.

And a great entry from Henry Abbott of True Hoop.

Sorry Seattle. We were pulling for you.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

5 or 3? That is the Question for CP3.

According to article by John Reid of the Times Pic, it appears as though the question of whether or not the Hornets resign CP3 is no longer an "if". Rather, Paul seems to be wavering between signing a 3 year, $60 million deal or a 5 year, $80 million deal.

Which shall he choose? I don't care (actually, I do: I'd love for him to take the 5 year deal). The reason I don't care? D. West and Peja have 3 years remaining in their contract and Tyson has two. That means that there are at least 3 years remaining in the Hornet's new era of contention (for those of you worried about my math, we will absolutely be resigning Tyson is CP is still around... the two complete each other).


Now then. I shall react to Curry's free agency rundown.


Sorry. Actually, unless we can land Carl Landry, I say the Bees should focus on wingmen or point guards, hopefully nabbing Sessions, Gordon, or Maggette. These guys really would be excellent additions to the crew we already have. Never mind that one of the under-reported stories the last season was the over-use of CP. The blame for that lies both in Byron and Chris' court (and you could hardly argue with the results until the playoff), but with a more consistent backup crew for the 1 and 2 slots, CP might feel less pressure to win everything by himself.

Meanwhile, Byron could try whipping Hilton into shape the same way he made a bruiser out of Tyson. Scott threatened to fine and bench Chandler every time he caught an offensive rebound and kicked it back out. Either get the second chance points or die trying.

Go Team.