New Orleans Hornets General Manager Dell Demps considers trading 10th overall draft pick if the deal 'makes sense'
Published: Friday, June 08, 2012, 5:15 AM
By John Reid, The Times Picayune The Times-Picayune
Although the upcoming NBA draft is deep in talent, Hornets General Manager Dell Demps hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trading the team’s second lottery pick. “Yes, we will if it makes sense,’’ said Demps.
The Hornets have the 10th pick in the draft June 28, as well as the No. 1 overall selection, which the team is expected use on Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis.
“There’s been some teams that have put young guys around a top pick,” Demps said. “Some of the other teams have put veterans around the pick. Some have been successful both ways. I think we’re just going to look at what is best for our situation.’’
To improve the roster around Davis, the Hornets could try to explore a deal that would include trading either center Emeka Okafor or small forward Trevor Ariza, along with the 10th pick. That would clear salary cap space to possibly pursue more veteran help in free agency.
Ariza’s agent, David Lee, said Thursday that he’s not aware of any trade conversations involving his client.
According to league sources, the Hornets are not expected to make any decisions regarding trades until after the NBA’s Board of Governors approve the sale of the franchise to Saints owner Tom Benson, which is expected to happen later this month.
Though Ariza wasn’t injured, he didn’t play in the Hornets’ final 10 games and was excused from accompanying the team on its season-ending three-game road trip.
Ariza, who started 41 games and averaged 10.8 points, appeared unhappy when Coach Monty Williams demoted him to the bench in favor of Al-Farouq Aminu, one of the players acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the deal for Chris Paul.
“My thing is playing basketball, man,’’ Ariza said in April. “Whatever team I’m on or whoever I play with, that’s who I play with. I don’t make those decisions. I just play.’’
Ariza is owed $7.2 million next season and has a $7.7 million player option for the 2013-14 season that he is likely to exercise, because he’s not likely to draw that kind of salary on the open market.
Okafor, who missed 39 games this season because of a knee injury, is owed $28 million over the next two seasons. The Hornets could use the one-time amnesty clause on Okafor to free up salary cap space, but he would still be owed the money on his contract.
“We have some guys under contract that are in our plans based on their deals,’’ Williams said recently. “We don’t want to devalue that in any way. But at the same time, this is an important summer for us, and we’re going to look at every avenue. We don’t want to make a knee-jerk decision that’s going to hurt us two seasons from now.’’
In the meantime, the Hornets have been full bore with their evaluations of draft prospects. After putting nine prospects through workouts Monday, Demps and his staff are in Chicago for the two-day draft Scouting Combine that began Thursday.
“We obviously want to get the best player, and someone who can fit into our system and to our culture and somebody we think we can build around for the long term,’’ Demps said.
Okafor, who missed 39 games this season because of a knee injury, is owed $28 million over the next two seasons.
oldfishermen wrote:I am trying to figure this trade out from the Hornets side. Something is missing in these rumors.
Are Okafer’s knees done? Does the new owner have a tight budget?
What is the agenda for the Hornets trading both the #10 and Okafer on the cheap? Or they only sending up trail balloons hoping to hit the pot of gold?
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