The New Orleans Hornets' rebuilding process took a major step on Tuesday when first round draft picks Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers signed their contracts. For different reasons, both the Hornets organization and the players needed to get these contracts signed as quickly as possible.
It was in Anthony Davis' interest to get his contract signed for one simple reason. Davis is practicing and (sometimes) playing for Team USA as it prepares for the 2012 Summer Olympics. I can only imagine what it must be like for Davis to be going against talented veterans in this venue.
If Anthony Davis had not signed his contract with the Hornets when he did and he sustained a serious injury with Team USA, he may never have gotten his big payday. The experience of being a part of Team USA will do wonders for Anthony Davis' NBA career in New Orleans, but it's also a huge liability risk.
Austin Rivers struggled in Summer League for New Orleans both with his game and staying healthy. However, I don't blame Rivers for getting beat up. Rivers was a victim of the NBA's ridiculous Summer League rule that it takes 10 fouls to foul out.
But now that he's signed his contract, Austin Rivers has full access to the Hornets facilities and he will be in New Orleans for all of training camp and the preseason. If the New Orleans Hornets' Summer League proved anything, it showed that Austin Rivers needs as much work as possible to get acclimated to the point guard position.
New Orleans Hornets
Despite all the positive buzz in New Orleans, the Hornets are still coming off a 21-45 season. The Hornets also endured a PR nightmare when Eric Gordon stated that he preferred to play for the Phoenix Suns before New Orleans matched his contract.
As the Hornets push to sell season tickets for the 2012-13 NBA season, they need Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers to be the face of the franchise. If Davis and Rivers had held out and didn't sign their contracts, I can't imagine why any casual NBA fans in New Orleans would want to see the Hornets play.
The symbolism of having Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers both sign on the same day with the New Orleans Hornets is unmistakable. Davis signed a three-year contract worth $16.1 million and Rivers' contract is worth $5.9 million over three years. Now the New Orleans Hornets, Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers can focus on the 2012-13 season.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
"Hornets sign Davis, Rivers to rookie contracts," yahoo.com
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