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Hornets, Pacers get help in trades
While "The Decision" was greeted with almost universal derision, Wednesday’s wheelings and dealings have inspired only cheerful expectations from all of the four teams that are involved.
Hopefully making Chris Paul happy enough to cease yapping about a trade by demonstrating that the team is willing to spend beaucoup bucks to improve the roster.
At the other end of the transaction, Trevor Ariza adds young legs on the run, as well as a speedy defensive presence, all at the cost of assuming the remainder of the 5-year, $34 million deal he signed with Houston last year. Having Ariza will enable rookie coach Monty Williams to install an up-tempo game plan that should maximize CP3’s strengths.
By deleting the rapidly improving Collison, the Hornets are also making a firm commitment that Paul does indeed represent their future and will be the face of the franchise even more than he had previously been.
However, the Hornets’ front office must now devote its attention to supplying Paul with an acceptable backup.
In Collison, the Pacers finally have the young, eager, talented and coachable point guard they have sought for so long. Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough and their hopeful crop of rookies now have the chance to grow together.
The addition of James Posey, though, might be a mixed blessing for Indiana. That’s because Posey’s immutable history indicates that he plays good for good teams and bad for bad teams. So for Posey to become the defensive demon and knock-down perimeter shooter he last was in Boston’s championship season, the Pacers had better get good in a hurry.
Troy Murphy brings several useful elements to the Nets. A dependable and sure-handed rebounder, a big man whose 3-point shooting can spread the defense, and an expiring contract. Too bad Murphy is slow, defenseless and in the lowest percentile of NBA athleticism. In Murphy and Brook Lopez, New Jersey will now field a pair of heavy-footed bigs who will force Avery Johnson to employ a grind-it-out offense, and will also reduce Devon Harris to being a lonesome fast-breaker.
In Houston, Courtney Lee can keep up with the fleet-footed Aaron Brooks, shoot spot-up jumpers, and provide the Rockets with a speedball offensive alternative in case the healing of Yao Ming’s injured foot remains problematic. Divesting the payroll of Ariza’s overblown salary also offers Houston some much-needed financial relief.
In a separate trade, the Hornets grew weary of waiting for Julian Wright to evolve his dynamic open-court athleticism into a more mature awareness of what he can/should and can not/should not do in half-court sets. For sure, his long-range shooting has improved, but after three seasons in the NBA, Wright still plays like a scatterbrained rookie. In addition to his unmistakable talents, Wright’s most prominent saving grace is that he’s still only 23 years old.
And what do the Hornets get in Marco Belinelli? A catch-and-shoot 3-point specialist, who can’t handle, finish, run fast or defend. He’ll earn his playing time by moving to a bonus spot within CP3’s line of vision and transform kick-out passes into assists. Belinelli is strictly a spot-shooting zone buster.
So, then, who are the big winners here?
Indiana, in gaining its point guard for the foreseeable future. New Orleans, in making Paul smile and getting rid of Posey. And Houston, by saving at least $10 million.
The losers include the Nets with their fast-breaking coach and point guard coupled with their slow-motion bigs. And Toronto, who inherits one of the Hornets’ headaches.
However, the wheels and the deals have yet to stop spinning, so any and all of the previous evaluations might eventually be subject to alterations.
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