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NBA Offseason 2012: Why Proposed Three-Way Trade Makes Sense for Hornets

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 12:  Robin Lopez #15 of the Phoenix Suns battles for position with Derrick Williams #7 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Timberwolves defeated the Suns 127-124.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Will OsgoodAnalyst IJuly 25, 2012

Multiple sources reported Tuesday that the New Orleans Hornets were closing in on a deal that would send Jerome Dyson and Brad Miller's retired rights to Minnesota, while Phoenix would send forward Hakim Warrick and center Robin Lopez to the Hornets. Phoenix would likely get a second-round pick from the Hornets. 

Actually, it is still rather unsure exactly where the Hornets' players are going. One thing is sure though. If the Hornets are able to acquire Lopez and Warrick for a second-round pick and a player unlikely to make the squad (Dyson), Dell Demps will have scored another solid trade in this musical chairs offseason. 

Fans and writers have been wondering, perhaps even clamoring during the offseason as it has seemed as if Demps was doing nothing about the center position. It seemed the team was prepared to start Jason Smith or Ryan Anderson at the position. 

Certainly, there will be matchup situations where either of those players could man the position in 2012-13. Monty Williams admitted Saturday in an interview with NBATV that it simply would not work to have those two as the key cogs at the position. 

Thus trading for Lopez makes a world of sense. Lopez is a player who possesses a big body, and he knows how to use it. Though he may be known as the lesser player of the Lopez twins, he possesses the same abilities to board (actually, probably better) and play around the basket. 

His mid-range jumper is nearly as accurate as the departed Chris Kaman, and he is a skilled player who can pass the ball out of the post to open shooters and slashing cutters. 

In 2012, he averaged 5.4 points per game, with 3.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. He was a 46 percent shooter and 71 percent from the foul line. That was in a backup role where he saw limited action. 

Defensively, he is the best option between Smith and Anderson. He will battle down low and make the transition for Anthony Davis an easier one, since Davis will no longer face the potential of playing the most physically strong player on the court. 

Of course, teams such as the Lakers, Utah and Memphis will still give the team fits, since Davis will likely get bullied by Pau Gasol, Paul Milsap and Zach Randolph. But against the average team, Davis will be able to use his quickness and athleticism to make life difficult on less-skilled power forward candidates. 

It also gives the team the benefit of playing Ryan Anderson at his best offensive position, small forward. It may make the defensive end a bit tougher, but nevermind those concerns given the pedigree of Monty Williams to figure out ways to stop even the best offensive teams. 

That's where the acquisition of Hakim Warrick becomes interesting. While most reviews of the potential trade have been enthusiastic, some have questioned the addition of Warrick to a team which places such value on the defensive end. 

Warrick is known as one of the weakest defenders in the league. That said, with limited minutes, Warrick can provide a few rebounds with a few points. The limited time in the game will also allow him to do what he does best on the defensive end: block shots. 

Most likely, Warrick would see time when rookie Anthony Davis must rest, so as to not leave shot blockers out of the game, or have too many in at one time (only a concern when you really only have two or two-and-a-half like the Hornets would with this trade). 

That is the beauty of this trade though. Both players fill obvious roles on the team. And equally important, the bench becomes very deep.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Xavier Henry and Darius Miller can filter in and out at the backup wing spots, while Jason Smith and Warrick give the Hornets a deep frontcourt. And Greivis Vasquez is likely one of the best backup point guards in the league. 

The Hornets' roster is shaping up with this proposed deal. And it's looking pretty solid for the Hornets. 

 

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