NBA Free Agency 2012: New Orleans Hornets Acquire Ryan Anderson from Orlando
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hornets will send promising young backup center Gustavo Ayon to Orlando in exchange for Anderson. The 24-year-old Anderson will then sign a four-year, $36 million deal.
Anderson won last year's Most Improved Player Award after a season that saw him average 16 points and seven rebounds per game. The 6'10" Anderson emerged as one of the game's best shooting big men in 2011-12, shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from behind the arc.
The timing of the deal couldn't be better.
In an interview with Hornets247.com's Joe Gerrity, disgruntled shooting guard Eric Gordon cited the team's lack of bigs as one of his many gripes with the team. Now, the team has added size twice in the past month. The Hornets selected dynamic shot-blocker Anthony Davis with the No. 1 overall pick in June's NBA draft and now have paired him with Anderson.
With Anderson gone and center Dwight Howard wanting out as well, the Magic look to be rebuilding. In Ayon, they get a 27-year-old center who played some in the Spanish pro leagues before starting 24 games for the Hornets as a rookie last season. Ayon averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season.
Anderson's spot will more than likely be filled by 19th overall pick Andrew Nicholson, a forward out of St. Bonaventure, unless new pieces are added via a Dwight Howard trade.
For New Orleans, it gets one of the game's rising stars in Anderson, a "stretch" 4 who also can be a factor on the boards. He provides the team with much-needed offense and gives the Hornets a scoring option in the paint while they continue to let Davis develop.
It's another example of the Hornets continuing to get better. Depending on how the Gordon situation shakes out, they'll enter next season with one of the youngest and most promising starting rotations in the league.
It's a far contrast from the team that finished with the fourth-worst record in the NBA last season. Hopefully, these changes are enough to get Gordon's heart out of Phoenix and back into the Big Easy.
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