Wed Feb 18 11:10am EST
Two days before "Trade Deadline Thursday," the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Tyson Chandler from the New Orleans Hornets for forwards Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. Here's what (else) they're saying out in the ether about the deal ...
Hornets247: "This really sucks, but I'm not sure Jeff Bower had much choice. With the economy the way it is, we were suddenly looking at a significant luxury tax penalty next season unless we could shed salary in a hurry. Tyson Chandler was our best trade chip due to his sizeable contract and the high demand for such a big man. So the Hornets have achieved their goal of shedding salary. Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox come off the books this summer. Of course, the real downside of this is that we definitely took a step back as a team. The Hornets' interior D was undeniably weak with Tyson out injured, and neither Smith nor Wilcox will be able to defend the paint quite like TC could."
Blue Blitz: "Do you honestly believe that Durant and Collison are going to split minutes? Neither do I. Honestly, one of three things are going to happen after this trade: 1: Durant moves back to SF, with Green moving to SG (or vice-versa). 2: Krstic loses his spot in the rotation. 3: The Thunder have another move in the works. I'd like to think three is the optimal solution, but who knows. All I do know is that whatever happens, I think the Thunder made the right move here, as I don't think benching Krstic or sliding Durant and Green down is an incredibly bad thing. Now, all we need is a shooting guard ..."
Hornets Hype: "I think what stings the worst for me is we all imagined that CP-DWest-Tyson was the nucleus, the young guys you build around. Of the starting lineup, Peja seemed like the one who gets supplanted in a year or two for youth, perhaps by Julian Wright. And– this is the crux of the thing– if I thought that, if most of us thought that, what did Chris Paul think, when he signed that three-year extension last summer?"
At The Hive: "I think the immediate reaction to this trade has been: the Hornets give up on 2009 and build towards 2010 and 2011. In my opinion, both the former and the latter are very overstated. You simply don't trade away the second best defensive center in the conference, and expect to defeat Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, Amar'e Stoudemire, or Nene Hilario. But Tyson Chandler hasn't played a minute till January. The Times-Pic alluded to the severity of his injury being much worse than initially assumed. The Hornets definitely became a lot worse on defense... but I think the Hornets will finish up the season a lot better than people realize, and will make much less noise in the upcoming offseasons than expected."
Ziller, The FanHouse: "The Hornets were a Game 7 against the defending champs away from the Western Conference Finals last season. Now, the team has sold its best defender, and its third best player overall to get under the tax line in 2009-10. That Morris Peterson contract is the real problem, with James Posey and Peja Stojakovic singing back-up. Sad day for N.O. fans."
NBA Noise: "The Thunder have already assembled a team of excellent young talent on the wings with the likes of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. A main component of their struggles has been the lack of an inside presence. Adding Chandler certainly helps to shore up the team defensively, and will also give them the intensity and emotion that the Thunder have often lacked. Chandler is about as good a fit for them at center as they could have asked for, as he is athletic, defends well, and can run the floor — which is important to this young and up-tempo team. Even better news for the Thunder is that they are sitting at 13-40, and even with a boost from Chandler in the final stretch they will find themselves in position for a great lottery pick. If they could somehow manage to nab Blake Griffin in the draft, this team would be looking like one of the rising threats in the West."
Pelton, Unfiltered: "By dealing expiring contracts, the Thunder is essentially making Chandler its free-agent pickup. That makes a lot of sense because it is going to be challenging to lure free agents to Oklahoma City, and it is looking like cap space will be hard to come by with the cap potentially going down the next two summers. Adding Chandler gives the Thunder four pieces in place, needing only a guard to complement Westbrook and offer additional perimeter shooting. The one downside? I suspect if Sam Presti knew this deal would come available two months later, Oklahoma City probably would not have signed Nenad Krstic, since Nick Collison has been more effective this season and it will be hard to find playing time for three big men with Green at power forward."
Basketbawful: "No word yet on how Chris Paul feels about the move — chances are he's too busy throwing up in his own mouth to comment — but David West is NOT a fan: 'I don't know if that's somebody we can afford to lose. So I'm not sold on that idea. You just don't find a 7-foot-1 athlete like that and he's the only 7-footer we have. Especially if we're planning on making a run into the playoffs, we're going to need size to compete with Portland, San Antonio and the Lakers. I'm not sure that would help us.' It won't, David. It wasn't meant to. In related news, following a rainbow will not lead you to a leprechaun's magical pot of gold."
Shoals, The Sporting Blog: "Maybe, with the cap shrinking, team owners losing personal assets, and the economy just generally endangering the financial sanity of some teams, the NBA's about to enter an MLB-like era of haves and have-nots. This despite the presence of a salary cap that was supposed to, at least to a degree, prevent this. And while baseball has had Moneyball and the Twins and all that, I don't think it's going to be fun watching teams like the Hornets lose key players, if not actually become inferior, all in the name of economic stratification. Maybe in a few years, we'll be used to watching teams with limited resources succeed against all odds, and innovative front offices outsmarting an unfair system. Wait, wasn't Jeff Bower supposed to be an unsung genius? I guess that was in the old reality."
Hardwood Paroxysm: "Above all, Presti managed to swipe Tyson Chandler from the Hornets without sacrificing picks or concrete assets. The Thunder still have their precious cap room, they still have at least one sizable expiring contract (the full details of the trade have yet to be disclosed), a full array of draft picks, and they still have Nick Collison and Earl Watson. It’s hard to mess with a deal that nabs one of the best defensive centers in the game for two expendable pieces that weren’t in the team’s long-term plans. Well done."