This offseason has been one filled with disappointment and missed opportunities for the New Orleans Hornets, and more of that came on Tuesday.
The Hornets currently have the third highest payroll in the NBA with $78.8 million committed to the players on the current roster—it was the highest payroll before the Los Angeles Lakers signed Ron Artest and the Boston Celtics signed Rasheed Wallace.
With the luxury tax threshold being announced a few days ago at $69.9 million for next season, the Hornets would have to pay nearly $9 million in luxury tax because of the payroll being so high.
Rumors have been afloat this entire offseason about who the Hornets could possibly trade center Tyson Chandler to and what they would get in return for the 7'1" center. The scenario that was most talked about around the NBA was sending Chandler to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Ben Wallace.
This deal would work for the Hornets because it was widely speculated that Wallace intended to retire this offseason, so whatever roster Wallace was on at the time of his retirement would have his entire $14 million contract deducted from their payroll.
But recent reports have suggested that this deal will not be happening.
The Phoenix Suns decided to not wait on Wallace’s decision and just paid him $10 million to buy his contract out, effectively making Wallace a free agent, according to the Arizona Republic.
According to the report, the buyout could save the Suns $8 million.
Hornets owner George Shinn tried to avoid this scenario last season by trading Chandler and the two years and about $24 million that’s left on his contract to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the trade was rescinded and Chandler was sent back to the Hornets.
The Hornets seemed to have limited options before this recent news, but now it seems GM Jeff Bower will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat in order to get this team under the luxury tax.