NBA Draft 2012: Without No. 1 Pick, Hornets Could Swap Players with Philly

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NBA Draft 2012: Without No. 1 Pick, Hornets Could Swap Players with Philly
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In recent days HOOPSWORLD has reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have become a possible destination for current Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala in the event that the team desires to trade him. At the same time there have been numerous rumors revolving around Eric Gordon and which uniform he'll be wearing in the 2012-13 season and beyond.

With the respective marriages between Iggy and the Sixers and Gordon and the Hornets very unsure at this point, let's add speculation to the bonfire that seems to be erupting. 

Who's to say the Sixers wouldn't want Eric Gordon? The young guard is a good defender and would instantly become the Sixers' best scorer. 

As for the Hornets receiving Iguodala back, it would make a ton of sense. First, Iggy is instantly a better version of Trevor Ariza. He has more athleticism, better scoring touch and equal, if not better, defensive versatility and stopability. 

The question becomes, "Is Iguodala for Gordon straight up a fair deal?" Simply put, it is not.

In order to complete any trade involving Gordon it would require a sign-and-trade due to the fact his contract no longer exists, which makes him a restricted free agent in 2012. Gordon is bound to get close to a maximum contract, somewhere in the vicinity of six years and $83 million. That is the same deal Baron Davis once signed with the Hornets organization. 

While that's nearly the same per-year figure Iggy is getting currently, the Hornets are going to want more than a good defender and limited scorer in exchange for the key piece in their trade with the Clippers for Chris Paul

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Likely they would want a player with great upside such as Evan Turner. Turner is still on the books for two years at around $5 million per season. Turner has shown in these playoffs he is a physical guard who can board, run the point, set other players up and score when necessary. 

He could develop into an 18-points-per-game-type scorer who drops eight dimes and contributes close to eight rebounds a game while providing better-than-average defense. If you can find a player like that, you take him. 

Would Philly really give up on a player like that? Well, if it were getting Gordon it might. In exchange for Turner, the Hornets could send Trevor Ariza back. Those two pieces would make the money aspect of the deal work. 

Philly gets the current best player in the deal and a similar player, Ariza, for much less cost. The Hornets get an All-Star wing who can defend and a big 2-guard capable of matching the Western Conference's big guards (Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden among them). 

Here's the best part: It would maintain the Hornets' cap right where it is, maintain the team's identity as a defense-first team and allow the Hornets bench to flourish as well. 

Turner and Iggy would start and provide approximately 30 points per game in the upcoming season, and the combination of Marco Belinelli, Xavier Henry and Al-Farouq Aminu would come off the bench to make the Hornets bench one of the most explosive benches in the league. 

Of course, none of this answers the question of what to do with the Hornets' two draft picks. If the Hornets were to receive the No. 1 overall pick, there's no doubt they should use it on Kentucky forward/center Anthony Davis. 

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If they receive any other selection, though, this trade makes sense to improve the team and add talent right away. The Hornets still need a point guard who can run the show for years to come. Wherever the Hornets select—if not No. 1—the team should look to add either Kendall Marshall or Austin Rivers. 

With Turner's ability to penetrate and create for teammates, the shoot-first mentality of Rivers would fit better for the Hornets in the future. Without a swing forward-type like Turner, Marshall would fit the Hornets better with his ability to run pick-and-roll and the fast break effectively. 

Once the Hornets lock up their future point guard, a second draft pick could be used on the best player available. It could be a center or power forward, or someone whom the team desires to groom for a future role on the team. 

The truth is there are so many possibilities in play. This is all speculation until May 30 when the NBA will finally announce who picks when, aka the draft lottery. 

However, if the Hornets are unable to cop the No. 1 pick for Anthony Davis (as I proposed was necessary here), the possible trade I have proposed here is one of the team's better options going forward—assuming Eric Gordon does not want to remain in New Orleans. 

That is the one factor few people know at this point. If he wants to be gone, the Hornets need to get something good for him. This is the best option I can think up. 

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