The New Orleans Hornets have absolutely nothing going on, and really aren't worth thinking about heading into an otherwise important and impactful free agency period.
Here's a look at the Hornets' salary cap levels over the past six seasons.
Living up to their small-market status and George Shinn's reputation, the Hornets have stayed below the luxury tax line despite contending for high playoff seeds. New Orleans actually typically begins a season over the tax line, then makes a move or two to slip under. Last season, said move involved peddling Peja Stojakobic to Toronto.
Heading into free agency, the Hornets have a cap figure of $45.5 million with the leaguewide team salary cap set at $58 million and the luxury tax line at $70 million. That gives New Orleans space to retain a couple of their own free agents or make some moves to add pieces ... assuming they don't blow it up in the next day or so.
The Hornets' free agents are:
- David West
- Carl Landry
- Marco Belinelli (restricted)
- Aaron Gray
- Willie Green
- D.J. Mbenga
- Jason Smith
- Marcus Banks
Whoa, that's a lot of free agents! New Orleans has all of five players under contract. None of these are really likely to stay, though the team seems to like Gray and Belinelli was a starter for Monty Williams. West is looking for a payday or a contender; Landry seems pretty likely to land elsewhere, as well. Green could return as an extra guard, but he'll be cheap.
The only rumor that matters right now with regards to the Hornets focuses on Chris Paul. The All-Star point guard has apparently told New Orleans that won't be signing an extension with the club. Now Hornets GM Dell Demps is attempting to find a deal that brings back something like fair value while landing Paul in a spot where he'll commit.
Rumors have focused on younger guards like Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon and Rajon Rondo. Any would be lovely in the New Orleans pipeline, but filling the CP3 void isn't going to be easy. Demps hasn't been shy in his young GM career, so even with a Paul trade expect to keep a finger over the trigger to rebuild the roster quickly.
For more on the Hornets, visit SB Nation's At The Hive.