The New Orleans Hornets will try to rebuild in the post-Chris Paul era. Fortunately, they’re entering that era with a new owner who may be willing to spend money on free agents. Two Hornets becoming free agents in the offseason who New Orleans will have to consider are Chris Kaman and Carl Landry.
Both big men were integral parts of the Hornets' rotation last year. Also, each one is in the prime of his respective career.
However, neither one seems like he’ll end up being a significant part of the Hornets’ future. Landry isn’t one people consider to be a piece to a rebuilding puzzle. Meanwhile, New Orleans doesn’t seem like a fit for Kaman, who was misused by the Hornets this season.
Now, let’s break down the case of each one individually.
Kaman can’t waste his time sharing minutes with another center
Kaman is a solid center. He’s a strong, aggressive rebounder. He can make things happen offensively, facing up defenders in the post and downing jump shots.
His capabilities weren’t showcased well in New Orleans. With another fine center, Emeka Okafor, in the rotation, Kaman was forced to share minutes for the first time since his rookie season. This messed up Kaman’s rhythm.
Additionally, Kaman suffered from not having good shooters on the wing. Before the All-Star break, Kaman averaged 11.6 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting. He was facing more pressure inside than he ever did before, and thus was on track for the worst shooting figures in his career.
Eventually, he broke out of his slump as he averaged 14.8 points per game on 48.1 percent shooting in the second half. Still, that didn’t keep him from a career-low field-goal percentage of 44.6 percent.
Kaman can’t be happy with his season in New Orleans. Surely, he wants to be on a team where he can be assured a winning record and quality offensive support from his teammates. Also, he likely has a bad taste in his mouth after having the wool pulled over his eyes while he was on the trading block, being pulled from the active roster and then being placed back on it.
To clear all this from his heart, the nine-year veteran will likely be too tough for the Hornets to negotiate a new contract with.
Landry is no building block
Landry is a nice player. He’s thickly built and is a strong willing player in the post. He can occasionally score, as he put up 17 or more points 14 times this season.
His averages are pretty nice. Landry averaged 12.5 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting and pulled down 5.2 rebounds per game. Also, he averaged 18.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per 36 minutes. For his career, the five-year pro averages 12.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Now, despite his periodic scoring bursts and his nice per-36 minutes numbers, Landry isn’t a player to help a rebuilding process. He’s a marginal player. He’s only averaged 28 or more minutes per game once. He isn’t that great of a shooter or rebounder. He’s undersized for a power forward at 6’9”.
Overall, he seems like the kind of player who’s a significant contributor on a losing team, and not much more.
The Hornets could do well to find a more versatile big man.
Conclusion: Hornets have plenty of options to find big men
The Hornets will likely be looking for younger big men to boost their standing in the conference. They don’t need another veteran starter since they have Okafor. They’ll need a rangy guy who can fight for rebounds with Southwest Division bigs like Luis Scola and Marc Gasol.
Fortunately, they have plenty of options. Solid free agents like Kris Humphries will be available. Also, since they have two first-round picks, they can choose a big man while also addressing another need.
The opportunities are endless for the Hornets, and they don’t involve hassling Kaman or attaching themselves to Landry.