NBA Free Agent Rumors: Hornets to Part Ways with Marco Belinelli?

Jordan SpectorContributor IIIJuly 13, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 06:  Marco Belinelli #8 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Arena on January 6, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

According to recent reports, Marco Belinelli has been the subject of a possible sign-and-trade deal that would send the unrestricted free agent shooting guard to the Los Angeles Clippers, in exchange for veteran forward Ryan Gomes and a future second-round pick.

John Reid of the Times Picayune believes New Orleans has shown little to no interest in the offer, mainly because of Gomes' $4 million salary.

Whether or not both sides reach an agreement, the Hornets will eventually have to make a decision, adding to what has been a very productive off-season.

Over the span of his five year career, Belinelli has failed to blossom into the reliable and efficient player so many had hoped for—including Hornets general manager Dell Demps, who has time and again praised the lackluster guard for his hard work ethic and untapped potential.

Belinelli's role will greatly diminish in comparison to last year where he started 55 games in place of the injured Eric Gordon, averaging 11.8 points and 37 percent from the three-point line.

With the addition of Austin Rivers, who is widely seen as a combo guard, Belinelli could very well become the No. 3 option at the two. If Rivers ends up primarily playing at the point—a likely scenario now that Jarrett Jack has been traded—coming even close to the 29.8 minutes a game Belinelli received last year is completely out of the picture.

If Belinelli appears to be of such little worth, it then begs the question:

What do the Clippers see in him?

For starters, after playing one year in New Orleans with pass savvy Chris Paul, he shot an exceptional 41 percent from 3-point range and averaged an efficient 10.8 points in less than 25 minutes of play. It certainly holds true, that alongside a passer as talented as Paul, Belinelli could once again become a solid contributor and an efficient one at that.

He might not be the most versatile player or the greatest defender, but teams like the Clippers are looking past these deficiencies and focusing on Belinelli's three-point shooting skills, a valuable commodity that will not be overlooked by the Hornets before making their final decision.