7 2013 NBA Free Agent Targets New Orleans Hornets Should Pair with Anthony Davis
It appears that they are gearing up for such an effort.
The Hornets declined the fourth-year options of forward Al-Farouq Aminu and guard Xavier Henry, per John Reid of NOLA.com. They could still re-sign those players after this season, but if they do it will likely be at lower prices than those options would have required.
That will clear up cap space for the Hornets to be an active player in the free agent scene in 2013.
There are quite a few different players New Orleans could go after, but there are less who would actually make sense on its roster playing alongside Anthony Davis.
The Hornets do not need stars necessarily, but they do need the type of players who can fit around Davis and Eric Gordon.
If you need youth and scoring, Stephen Curry is the player for the job.
The New Orleans Hornets really need help at the point guard position, and Curry will be a restricted free agent in 2013.
It is likely that Golden State will do what is necessary to keep him, but you never know what will happen (example: Jeremy Lin and Houston).
Putting Curry on the court with Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis would give the Hornets a young Big Three to build around for years to come.
New Orleans could play a fast-paced brand of basketball, with Curry and Gordon scoring at will and Davis protecting the basket and providing plenty of open-court dunks.
Curry does not help the Hornets defensively, but if Davis ends up being as good as expected on the defensive end, he will be able to make up for those deficiencies.
This acquisition would make the Hornets more fun to watch as well, as it would give the fanbase an exciting brand of offensive basketball.
Chauncey Billups may not be a spring chicken anymore, but “Big Shot” Billups still has something left in the tank.
He performed very well for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2012-13 season until he was sidelined by a knee injury. He proved during that stretch that he could still contribute to a team.
Even if Billups has lost a step after his knee injury, he could still be incredibly valuable to this New Orleans Hornets team. This is a young group that could use a leader like Billups who—even in his prime—was a leader above all else.
Billups knows how to run an offense and a team. He could come in as the backup point guard and still be just as much of an asset. He is the type of veteran player that teams want around for his locker room presence, which would also help out the Hornets tremendously.
Another area in which this team needs help is in the frontcourt.
Right now, Anthony Davis is on his own out there, as the team lacks another quality big man to help out with the rebounding duties.
Paul Millsap would fill that role.
Millsap has been extremely underrated for a long time in Utah, and when he finally got out from under Carlos Boozer’s shadow, he showed just how good he can be.
During the 2011-12 season, Millsap averaged 16 points and nearly nine boards per game while posting a player efficiency rating of 21.85. I'm sure the Hornets would not mind having those numbers working in their favor.
Davis is not a great scorer at this level quite yet, and Millsap would give the team some balance by providing offense down low. He would also help anchor the middle.
Currently, Ryan Anderson is projected to start alongside Davis. Anderson is good, but he likes to shoot three-pointers too often to help down low. Millsap would be an upgrade.
Josh Smith does a little bit of everything, which is why he will probably be in high demand during the 2013 offseason.
The 2011-12 season was the best of his career, as he averaged 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
Smith’s ability to affect the game in multiple ways and play multiple positions could be very valuable for the Hornets in particular.
Both Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers can play multiple positions, with Davis capable of playing both post spots and Rivers capable of playing either guard position. Smith would add even more versatility to the lineup as a point forward who can also play down low.
A max contract will likely be required to sign Smith, but the deal will likely be worth it.
Smith will only be 27 years old, giving him at least four or five more years of good basketball. His well-rounded game is something the Hornets have little of, which is exactly why they need him.
Another forward that will be on the market is Lamar Odom.
At this point, Odom is a bit of risk, as he did not fare well at all during the 2011-12 season in Dallas.
Luckily for New Orleans, the Los Angeles Clippers took the risk this season on Odom. By the time the 2013 offseason rolls around, the Hornets should know exactly what Odom has to offer.
There are multiple ways Odom could help this team. He can play both forward spots, allowing the Hornets to keep Ryan Anderson in the starting lineup if necessary. He is also used to being a contributing role player, which is the likely role he would play in New Orleans.
Odom would also be able to start in New Orleans, which is something he has not had much opportunity to do in his career.
He was always a sixth man with the Lakers, and he will probably not start with the Clippers this season. The Hornets would need Odom to start, as he would likely be an upgrade over their current forwards.
Andray Blatche is another risky player who, like Odom, is being tried out by another team this season.
Blatche has shown himself to be completely inconsistent so far in his career. At times he has looked like a borderline star, while at other times he has looked like a complete scrub.
After averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game during the 2010-11 season, Blatche’s stats took a major dip during the following year, which resulted in him being released by the Washington Wizards.
He’s getting a chance now with the Brooklyn Nets, and how well he does will likely determine whether teams such as the New Orleans are interested in him.
If he does well, the Hornets should sign him quickly. Blatche is young, just 26 years old, and he clearly has the talent. Being around younger players who are highly motivated like Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers could only help Blatche find the ambition and motivation to be the best player he can be.
Plus, he would be a great running mate in the frontcourt for Davis.
Getting this guy would be a Hornet fan’s dream.
Andrew Bynum will be a free agent after the 2012-13 season, and pairing him with Anthony Davis in the frontcourt would make New Orleans a playoff team and championship contender sooner rather than later.
Selling Bynum on that idea will probably not be easy, though.
He already has a case that he is the best big man in the NBA, and if he does well in Philadelphia this season, there will be a line of teams throwing huge contracts at him.
Will a big time player who can go anywhere he wants choose to come to New Orleans?
It is possible, if not likely.
Bynum would work well with Davis, who would be able to shift over to what is probably his more natural position at power forward.
Bynum would also take some of the offensive burden in the frontcourt off Davis’ shoulders. Bynum is a player that the Hornets may not be able to sign, but they should definitely try for him.
Another talented Utah Jazz big man, Al Jefferson has shown himself to be one of the best centers in the NBA over the past few years.
He is no Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard, but there are very few other big men who can say they are better than Jefferson is right now.
Over his eight-year NBA career, Jefferson has averaged 16 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and he averaged even better numbers during the 2011-12 season with Utah.
Like the rest of the talented big men on this list, Jefferson would enable Anthony Davis to develop without as much pressure, giving him a frontcourt running mate that could shoulder a large part of the workload.
All of these players will be free agents in 2013 and they also would all satisfy major needs of this team. The New Orleans Hornets must get help for Anthony Davis, and must do so by getting at least one big time free agent in 2013.