My thoughts on the voided trade
I took a day or two to digest the trade before posting on here, and then the trade blew up on us! :D Anyway, I've read just about everything on here as to everyone's opinion on it. Some said that this team wasn't going anywhere this year anyway, or that we weren't as good as we thought, or that we would now have more flexibility to make moves in the future, or that we would have more depth this year, etc.
I don't buy any of that, and that's why I'm really happy we're getting Tyson back. I was one of the few dissenting voices that realized back in the summer after we signed Posey that we really didn't improve much with that move, and we were still behind the Spurs and way behind the Lakers. So needless to say, I'm not totally shocked over how the first half of the season went, and how Posey has been far from a cure-all.
But truthfully, I've seen some good signs over the last few weeks. People still aren't commenting how much better Sean Marks is playing now that he's at backup center instead of power forward. He's not a good fit for us at PF bc he can't shoot a lick. But at backup center, his ability to hustle, finish around the goal, and find cracks in a defense are useful. He is more athletic than I thought, and he is also a smart player who knows what he's doing out there. I'm not saying he's great, but he's definitely an improvement over the Ely/Hilton duo we had in the playoffs last year, which was awful. And plus, Hilton, while still mediocre at best, is definitely improved and playing with more toughness/confidence out there. So we are better at backup center this year compared to last with Marks as center #2 and Hilton as center #3. This is something I personally did not foresee, so I'm pleased with it.
The other pleasant surprise has been Rasual Butler. Again, not a great player, but an improvement over what Mo Pete gives us at the 2. A better defensive player bc he's more athletic, and a more well rounded offensive player as well.
So I think our roster is better off than last year, even without the supposed great pickup of Posey. I know we're without Pargo, but Antonio Daniels has been an upgrade over James, and having Butler/Posey makes up for not having Pargo at backup 2 anyway. I'm no longer sweating his absence.
And for the second straight year, the Hornets and every other team in the West got a big break with Bynum's injury. The Lakers are still the favorites, but Bynum definitely makes them less formidable. As for the Spurs, it's kind of funny bc all offseason I heard on here how they were "old" and no longer a factor. I knew better, but it's just amazing how all of a sudden we supposedly have no chance of beating them. Matt Bonner is still their starting power forward, so no, they are not unbeatable. And the Rockets, again will be somewhat limited offensively now that McGrady got hurt. I liked them ahead of the Hornets coming into this season with a healthy roster, but they couldn't stay healthy again.
As for the "we're not as good as we thought" view. Well, then that's their fault for thinking they were actually better than they were. When you're dominated in every road playoff game besides one, then you aren't really that close to being a championship team yet. When the Lakers go up by 30 against you in the biggest regular season game of the year, the same thing. Plus, I think that's an overreaction anyway considering our record was much the same as last year's up until TC getting hurt. The only difference was last year we didn't have a major injury like that.
As for future flexibility had this trade been made, I don't see it. We just don't have the assets for it, and there just aren't that many starting centers in the NBA like Chandler. Chandler was the most athletic 7' in the NBA, and that is hard to replace. Antonio Daniels and Rasual Butler's expiring contracts aren't going to get you a legit starting center a year from now barring a ridiculous scenario. We were told during the first few months of this season that we would be able to make a trade to "upgrade our roster" and that certainly turned about to be a bunch of phooey. I'm all for being "patient" to build a championship team, and that's one of the reasons I was against the Posey signing and for Juju to have a big role on this team coming into the season. But trading a young athletic center with the hopes of finding one a year or two from now is just foolish. We don't even have enough assets in comparison to what Memphis took from the Lakers last year in that trade for Gasol. We've got Juju, but they had both Marc Gasol and Crittendon.
So I'm glad this deal fell through. Let TC take all the time he needs to get healthy. Obviously this whole post doesn't mean a lot if TC turns into a Mashburn health situation, but I don't buy that yet at this point (looking at it from afar, from what a fan can observe). TC has looked just as explosive as ever both in the playoffs last year and when he's played this year. His problem was the same as always, taking too many nights off in terms of effort even when he's playing.
But I expect him to play big when he comes back, just like he stepped up his game in the second half of last season and in the playoffs. Let's face it, he's a guy who plays much more intense in the big games against the Spurs and teams like that. That's far from ideal having a guy like that, but it beats having a guy like Wilcox who's used to losing and probably couldn't care less if his team gets beat in the playoffs. Tyson, for all his faults, definitely takes losing hard.
Give him some time off and get him healthy. If he makes it back this year, we have a chance to play with anyone. LA is without Bynum. Ginobili is hurt right now. Denver is not better than us. Houston lost McGrady. Utah has been wrecked by injuries and won't have a better seed than us. So things actually haven't fallen bad at all for the Hornets this season assuming Tyson can come back. There's no reason we should give up on this season, and it just made me shake my head when I keep reading that we can no longer compete in the playoffs. What's so much different from last year or from how we felt in the offseason?
As for what happens before the trading deadline. I'm all for Bower going all out and trying to peddle Posey between the Celtics and Cavs. I have no idea if those teams would have any interest at all, especially considering they wouldn't give him that deal in the offseason. But maybe Tony Allen's injury causes the Celts to re-evaluate things. If that injury is bad, they definitely need to do something about that bench.
If Posey can't be moved, then I'd be fine throwing Juju in a deal to get Mo Pete moved. But I don't think that would be enough. Teams think highly of Juju, but not THAT highly.
Rasual Butler is probably one of the few tradable guys we have, but I'd like to keep him considering how well he's been playing.
Either way, we'll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I'm just glad TC is still here and we have an athletic 7'1" center on our team for the foreseeable future. Those guys are just too hard to find. :)