July 28, 2009
The Hornets have agreed in principle to a trade that will send Tyson Chandler to the Bobcats for Emeka Okafor. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the deal ...
Rufus On Fire: "There is no way this is about present day talent and it can't be about saving money in the present day; look up all the stats and scouting reports you want, but Chandler doesn't quite match up to Okafor, and he makes more money each of the next two seasons. If the Bobcats make this trade thinking they are getting the better present day player, it will be dumb luck if it works out in our favor. Okafor is an elite defender, whereas Chandler is very good when he's at his best, but Okafor's also had a better or equal PER each year they've both been in the league, and that's with lesser PGs in Charlotte (to say the least). I get the sense Chandler is in a similar place today that Okafor was two seasons ago. He is coming off injury-marred seasons, his offense is stagnant, and he's at a crossroads, in the sense that nobody's sure if he has any room to develop further. Except ... he's also the same age as Okafor, so he's older than Mek was then, and he also has never been quite the defender Okafor is and was."
Hornets247: "To be honest, despite that irritating (or so I'm told) optimism I've exuded, this deal comes as a relief. Tyson Chandler(notes) is a top-10 center when healthy, and one that could push the top five. Emeka Okafor(notes) is also a top-10 center (though probably closer to 10 than 5) but he doesn't have the health risks of Tyson Chandler. Oh, and Okafor is 26 years old and under contract through 2013-14 when he turns thirty. Essentially, his prime years, admittedly for a hefty salary. I'm going to miss Chandler, but given the choice between a trade for Okafor or for Ben Wallace's(notes) retiring contract? Okafor is infinitely more palatable. For me, if not for George Shinn's wallet."
Empty The Bench: "Contracts aside, on paper this is a great fit for Okafor. He’s a tad undersized as a center, but the former U Conn standout is defensively proficient and a solid rebounder. Emeka is an opportunistic shot-blocker who boxes out well, takes up space defensively and provides some much-needed muscle. The knock on him is his complete lack of offensive game, and as such Okafor needs to be paired with another big man who can not just compensate for the lack of point production but also hit mid-range jumpers to stretch defenses and make his job a lot easier in the post and on the glass. Charlotte tried to find that complement, failing with both Sean May(notes) and Nazr Mohmmed. David West(notes) can be that scoring big man Okafor needs to be effective."
NBA FanHouse: "The conventional wisdom is that while Chandler is bombastic in the air, a true finisher, incoming Hornet Emeka Okafor is seen more as a deliberate, below-the-rim pivot player. That would seem to bode poorly for our visions of soft lobs and vicious hammers, and also for [Chris] Paul's assist numbers. But actually, Okafor will probably help Paul on offense. The reasoning is that while Okafor isn't known as a prolific finisher like Chandler, Okafor is actually quite a good finisher. Last season, he had 135 dunks in 82 games, or 1.6 dunks per game. Chandler had 89 dunks in 45 games, or 1.9 dunks per game. Last season, the pair had nearly identical field goal percentages of 56% (though admittedly Chandler has been stronger over the past four seasons)."
Basketball Fiend: "I realize Larry Brown is a grass is greener kind of guy (hence this quote on Okafor and his training habits versus his on-the-court habits), but trading substance for style is always a risky proposition. Brown doesn't seem to realize that Oke has been Charlotte's Iron Man the past two seasons. You have to wonder if he’s encouraging the Bobcats’ front office to trade Okafor away just for the sake of tinkering, on the off-chance that he’ll like Chandler more than he likes Okafor. Why? Because that’s just how Larry Brown is. For him, coaching a basketball player is like owning a car. Why settle for a solid, reliable model when there are plenty of flashier ones to test drive?"
Bobcats Baseline: "... even if you accept that Okafor is limited, that you’re not exactly going places with him, he’s still one of your main assets. Can’t you get more than Tyson Chandler back for him? Chandler is possibly even more limited than Okafor. He’s taller and more agile, probably a better one-on-one post-defender. Skill wise, that’s where the differences stop. Chandler is equally as inept as Okafor on the offensive end, scoring mostly on lobs from Chris Paul(notes) and putbacks. Like Okafor, Chandler has no low-post game of his own and no ability to hit a mid-range jumper. Furthermore, Chandler is coming off of a miserable season in which he struggled mightily with ankle and toe injuries. In fact, a mid-season trade to the Thunder was nixed when Chandler couldn’t pass muster with the Thunder’s doctor. There has been speculation that ankle/foot/toe problems might continue to haunt Chandler in the future. So sadly, we have to accept the reality that this deal is mostly about money."
Hollinger/TrueHoop: "Both players consistently have been honorable mentions in my all-defense picks, but Okafor is the superior scorer. That might not be saying much — both players are somewhat limited offensively — but Okafor can score on post-ups occasionally and make short bank shots, while Chandler's range ends at the charge circle. Over the past three seasons, Okafor has averaged nearly five more points per 40 minutes — that's big. The health disparity between the two also has been mentioned, but look closer, and I'm not sure there's any difference. Okafor has averaged 66 games per season over the course of his career, Chandler 67. Chandler has a bad toe that already nuked one trade, but Okafor has a problematic back. Okafor has played 82 games each of the past two seasons, but over their careers, their injury histories show little separation. Age isn't an issue either — they were born four days apart."
SLAM Online: "Basketball wise, the Hornets are the clear winners in this swap, adding a rock-solid low post presence to a team that won 49 games last season in the brutal West can only improve things for Chris Paul and company. It certainly won’t bring a championship to New Orleans, but it’s a message to their superstar (and the fans) that the team isn’t sitting on its hands while everyone else loads up; they’re at the very least attempting to remain competitive. Interestingly, Gerald Wallace(notes) is now the only Bobcat left over from the expansion season. I’m sure that makes him feel just wonderful."
Hornets Hype: "So the Hornets are trading Tyson Chandler. Again. And it looks like it’s going to go through this time. To tell you the truth, I’m relieved. Yes, I wanted us to keep TC. I wanted to see him get healthy and prove he could still be the player he was at his best. He was one of my favorite Hornets. But ... I know I would personally find it hard to give 100% to a team that you knew tried to give you away. I want Tyson on our team. But I also want him to get a fresh start. And I don’t want 'are we going to trade him or not?' hanging over our heads until February."
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: "It's good to see the Hornets attempt to join the arms race in the West and stay competitive. But on paper, they're still behind the Lakers, Spurs and Mavs and have perhaps pulled even with the Nuggets. Hornets GM Jeff Bower should get some credit for shaking things up, but this deal raises some serious questions. Is this more than just a lateral move on the court? Is Okafor going to give the Hornets more wins than a healthy Chandler would have this season? And is he going to be worth the $14.5 million the Hornets will owe him in 2013-14?"