2 July 2006
If we can get a big at 12 and 15, we'll take that and then we'll take our chances in free agency as far as getting a shooter.
Well, they got bigs at 12 and 15, and they did in fact go to the free-agent market for a shooter: Pacers forward Peja Stojakovic, who will be joining the Hornets (pending a physical) on a five-year deal worth $64 million, what ESPN calls "arguably ... the boldest acquisition in club history".
The Bees are under the salary cap and can actually afford this kind of money, and no doubt it was a powerful incentive, but Stojakovic and Scott go back a long way: both of them had played in Greece, and when Stojakovic originally signed with Sacramento, Scott was an assistant coach for the Kings. And Peja hadn't been a Pacer very long: he was acquired by Indiana in January in a trade for Ron Artest.
No trades are technically official until the 12th, but this one looks like a done deal, and with the three draftees from last week, the Hornets' signed-for-this-season roster is up to 12. Mike Kahn predicts:
This translates into them allowing free agents Rasual Butler and Speedy Claxton to walk if they are so inclined, while moving fine young forward David West to sixth man or to power forward. Desmond Mason and Kirk Snyder will duke it out for the starting shooting guard spot, giving them depth they haven't had in years. More importantly, they're now stocked enough, they could maybe even orchestrate a sign-and-trade with Butler or Claxton with immature and problematic J.R. Smith if they are so inclined.
But now, they don't even have to do anything. Sure, [Hilton] Armstrong is young and raw, but will spell undersized P.J. Brown at center and even allow him to slide over to his natural power forward position occasionally. What everybody really envisions, of course, is the indefatigable Paul barreling up the floor and kicking it out to Stojakovic stroking 3-pointers all day long.
And wouldn't that be nice?
Update, 7:30 pm: The Oklahoman is reporting that Grizzlies point guard Bobby Jackson will be signed by the Hornets, which presumably would free up Speedy Claxton to seek a starting role elsewhere.
Update, 7:30 pm, 3 July: "Elsewhere" seems to be Atlanta.