New Orleans Pelicans

NBA Trade Rumors: Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis Will Be Perfect Pairing

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Ryan Anderson of the ORlando Magic competes during the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest part of 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend at Amway Center on February 25, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterJuly 8, 2012

Anthony Davis, meet Ryan Anderson, the man who will make life in the middle much easier for you next season.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the New Orleans Hornets and the Orlando Magic have agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that'll send Anderson to the Bayou and Gustavo Ayon to Disney World—or wherever else the Magic house their players.

Anderson was named the NBA's Most Improved Player this past season—his first as a full-time starter—during which he averaged career highs across the board. Not even the insufferable circus surrounding Dwight Howard could keep Anderson from stepping up his game.

And that's sayin' somethin', right, Stan Van Gundy?

Hornets coach Monty Williams will enjoy Anderson's ability to stretch opposing defenses with his outside shooting (38.4 percent on three-pointers for his career), which figures to open up driving lanes for Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon.

That is, if Gordon doesn't throw such a hissy fit over his newfound love for the Phoenix Suns that the Hornets give in to a sign-and-trade of their own.

Oh yeah, and that Davis kid might like Anderson's game, too. Just ask Dwight Howard, who kicked it out to Anderson from time to time and found more space in the post whenever the opponent decided to respect Anderson's shooting stroke.

Not that He of the Unibrow is even in He of the Indecision's stratosphere among big men just yet. Davis may be more "naturally" skilled offensively (thanks to his having more recently been a 6'2" shooting guard), but he's still rather thin and weak for a player of his size. As such, any player who can draw defensive attention away from Davis—by discouraging double-teams and forcing the opposition to play straight-up—will presumably be a boon to the rookie's offensive exploits.

What's more, Anderson is only 24, suggesting that his best basketball is still to come and that he's young enough to grow with New Orleans' new nucleus of Davis and Rivers.

This isn't all to say, though, that the deal is a surefire slam dunk for the Hornets. Aside from shelling out $34-36 million over four years for a guy who may be nothing more than a glorified role player and doesn't play particularly stout defense, New Orleans had to give up Gustavo Ayon to get Anderson from Orlando.

And no, it's not a shame because basketball fans in the Big Easy will miss singing his name to Enrique Iglesias tunes, though they might anyway.

Rather, it's unfortunate because Ayon was actually a solid player during his rookie season, enough so to get Grantland's Sebastian Pruiti excited about the trade. Ayon proved to be a steady rebounder and a surprisingly effective defensive presence in New Orleans, where he averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game.

Granted, at the age of 27, the Mexico native isn't about to explode into the All-Star stratosphere, but Father Time won't take his size (6'10", 250 pounds) or infringe too harshly on his particular skill set.

More importantly, the subtraction of Ayon leaves the Hornets with one fewer player who's capable and comfortable in the paint. Anderson's arrival likely signals the end of the line in New Orleans for Chris Kaman and Carl Landry, both of whom are currently unrestricted free agents.

All told, that leaves Davis, Anderson and Jason Smith (this guy) as the lone big men on the Hornets roster once the trade is made official on July 11th.

That being said, there's still plenty of time left in free agency and even more cap space to be filled with which New Orleans can, should and likely will seek out further reinforcements up front.

Until then, the Hornets can smile at the thought of Anthony Davis swatting shots and Ryan Anderson wining and dining the twine from behind the three-point line for years to come.

 

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