New Orleans Hornets
Acquired guard Jarrett Jack, guard Marcus Banks and center David Andersen from the Toronto Raptors for forward Peja Stojakovic, guard Jerryd Bayless and cash. [11/20]
This trade may be as much about keeping Hornets star Chris Paul happy off the court as on it. Paul and Jack have been friends since both were teenagers growing up in North Carolina. (Jack is about 1 1/2 years older.) Jack joins Marcus Thornton in New Orleans' second unit backcourt, but will also spend a lot of time playing alongside his pal. Bayless was struggling to find his offensive rhythm as Paul's backup. His assist rate had gone way up as he tried to become more of a playmaker, but he was turning the ball over on more than a quarter of his possessions and wasn't shooting well. Jack will provide more stability running the reserve group. However, unlike Bayless who isn't very good outside shooter, Jack is a steady catch-and-shoot player that can stretch defenses playing off of Paul, while also helping take some of the playmaking load. His addition gives Monty Williams a lot of options, with Paul, Jack, Marco Belinelli and Marcus Thornton in his backcourt.
Andersen gives the Hornets another floor-spacing big man that can play pick-and-pop with Paul. He's an okay rebounder and scorer, not much of a defender, but will be able to fill in for stretches alongside Emeka Okafor and on the second unit. He won't play big minutes but like Jack, he gives Williams another look he can throw at teams and has more range than current Hornet faceup big, Jason Smith. Banks will be the third-string point guard, something which the Hornets didn't have before. Stojakovic's departure leaves New Orleans a little thin at small forward. Right now, it looks like rookie Quincy Pondexter will put in some minutes there, as may undersized Willie Green, who could be struggling for court time in the backcourt, in small configurations.
This is a deft bit of dealing by first-year New Orleans general manager Dell Demps. He's given his squad a more balanced roster by adding some valuable shooting and making his star player happy by bringing in his friend. He accomplished all of this while also getting the Hornets under the luxury tax threshold for this season. Because he surrendered Stojakovic's expiring deal, he's actually increased the Hornets salary obligations beyond this year, but only by about $5 million or so for the 2011-12 season. This deal is all about this season and not only has Demps eliminated a tax bill, but the Hornets can still move another expiring deal (like Willie Green's) or add a minimum-salary veteran and still remain under the threshold.
Acquired forward Peja Stojakovic, guard Jerryd Bayless and cash from the New Orleans Hornets for guard Jarrett Jack, guard Marcus Banks and center David Andersen. [11/20]
The Raptors are collecting young talent, and adding a recent lottery pick like Bayless makes a lot of sense. For the time being, the trade probably means that Bryan Colangelo has cast his point guard lot with Jose Calderon, with Bayless as the backup. That puts Bayless on a second unit with Leandro Barbosa, a pairing that is--at best--awkward. Bayless could also start, and perhaps Jay Triano's offense will be a good fit. Bayless is not a starting-caliber playmaker yet, but maybe he could develop quickly with big minutes in a helter-skelter lineup alongside DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems. It'd be fun to watch anyway. This deal isn't about how Bayless fits. It's about collecting another young piece.
Stojakovic fits the Raptors' style of play, but his status as a veteran in the latter stages of his career is out of step with a really young roster. Which young player's minutes do you want to cut to get Stojakovic onto the floor? A buyout would make a lot of sense and it may turn out that the cash New Orleans added to the deal is earmarked for just that purpose. If that's the case, then a knock-down shooter is about to hit the open market. Ears in Chicago, Salt Lake City and Miami all just perked up.
Financially, the Raptors aren't that close to the luxury tax for this year even if they keep Stojakovic and pay the entire balance of his $14.2 million deal. However, they slash their obligations by about $5 million for next season and create some actual cap space. (New CBA pending, of course.) They also drop the $5 million due Jack in 2012-13. Add young talent; create financial flexibility. That's what rebuilding is all about.
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