Chandler's Return Brings an Even Worse Financial Reality for N.O.
Posted Feb 19th 2009 6:00AM by Tom Ziller (author feed)
As Brett Pollakoff told you early Thursday morning, the Thunder slapped a "Return to Sender" stamp on big prize Tyson Chandler.
That leaves New Orleans in worse financial shape than before it made the cap-cutting trade. Dropping Chandler for expiring contracts began as an unsavory idea ... but it was a passable idea. Chris Paul didn't revolt or anything. But now the options are slimmer and far more likely to draw serious fire from within.
The team needed to move a big contract. Peja Stojakovic makes too much money, Morris Peterson's contract is too long, and James Posey is seriously overpaid. Chandler was basically the only movable non-All Star. And now he is unmovable (unless some desperate team is willing to waive the physical, which seems wholly unlikely).
I'm not in the business of reading George Shinn's mind, nor would I want to be. But based on what we've seen and heard over the past two weeks, in combination with the aborted Chandler trade, the Hornets have two options.
* Trade Julian Wright, Rasual Butler, Hilton Armstrong and/or the team's 2009 draft pick for nothing to try desperately to inch under the tax line, replacing the attrition with minimum salary players.
* Trade David West.
The latter seems unthinkable; West is a two-time All-Star who makes less than $10 million, an absurd dollar-for-dollar value. He's good, and vital. Teams that want to win don't trade players like David West without getting something grand in return. By virtue of needing to cut costs, you probably can't afford to take something grand back.
Chandler's exile drew some grousing from the prominent Hornets. Trading West for nothing might bring full-on mutiny. You can only pinch Chris Paul's skin so hard before he snaps back, you know?
The team could also try to trade Chandler again this summer. But I wouldn't bet on success there. Tricky times.