Dec 15, 2011

Moving On

Hornets fans it's the end of an era. It's a new day. It's time to move on. Last night, the NBA-owned Hornets sent franchise player Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and a 1st round pick (the better of Minnesota's unprotected #1 or the Clippers own pick).

For the past week, trade proposals have been leaked, the league has been criticized and the Hornets looked to be in a mess, but this trade is the best possible outcome a Hornet fan could hope for (short of CP3 having a change of heart and resigning in NOLA long-term ... keep dreaming). While fans may be looking through their teal glasses, NBA players know the truth: the Hornets are not a destination team at the moment. They are a sma
ll-market franchise with no owner. The league took them over last year because there were tons of concerns about the operations of the team. But looking at where the team was last year and where they are going, the future is bright.

Credit the NBA and Dell Demps for getting a good deal (almost all NBA pundits calling a a good haul for the Hornets). They now have pieces in place to build for the future. It remains to be seen how happy the incoming players will be about being traded. Gordon is the key piece in the puzzle. He will be up for an extension in the near future, and the Hornets have to do everything they can to convince him to resign here. He is the building block this team needed. Aminu is a recent lottery pick and while an unknown player, he could blossom into another building block. Kaman is an older piece with an expiring contract, so the team could hold onto him or flip him for some other players.

The key is the first round pick. Hornets fans will watch Minnesota basketball intently this season with a rooting interest (rooting against the T-Wolves), so the pick could be a higher one. You never know what could happen in the Draft Lottery, and it just gives fans one more thing to talk about and creates buzz around a franchise that is a distant second fiddle to the Saints in New Orleans.

With David West leaving in free agency and now Paul being moved, the Hornets team that fans have watch over the past few years is no more. It's a new era of Hornets basketball, one with a bright future. All indications are that a new owner will be in place in the near future. A new lease agreement is being worked on with the city and state, and the fans have really stepped up by buying more than 10,000 season tickets. Maybe New Orleans can be a basketball town after all.

And to Chris Paul, thank you for making basketball in the Crescent City relevant. Thank you for diving right into New Orleans. Thank you for carrying this team on your back for all these years. It was a fun run and you were a class act throughout your time here. Fans hate to see you go, but understand the business of basketball. It was better to move on now and not create a circus throughout the season. Good luck in the other LA.

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