As reported by CBSSports.com's Ken Berger, the New Orleans Hornets are looking to trade for a big man. A player who seems like he'd be a good fit is the Cleveland Cavaliers' Antawn Jamison, who, like recent New Orleans additions Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack, has some 2011-12 salary due. But there's a hitch in any potential Jamison-Hornets deal. Berger explains:
[G]etting Jamison from Cleveland ... likely would yield a flood of complaints from many of the 29 teams that essentially own the Hornets. Jamison is owed $15.1 million next season, an obligation that would seem to be pushing whatever boundaries are inherent in the league's cooperative stewardship of the franchise.
Is Jamison's $15 million salary in '11-12 enough to spark an owner revolt? Lord, let's hope not.
Per ShamSports' invaluable database, the Hornets have $45 million in 2011-12 salary locked up. The bulk of that is earmarked for Chris Paul ($16 million) and Emeka Okafor ($12.5 million), with Ariza and Jack make just under $13 million combined. David West will assuredly opt out of his $7.5-million contract this summer, leaving both some salary space for the Hornets and a gaping frontcourt hole.
Jamison, assuming he'd be acquired for expiring contracts, would fill up both. He'd cap out the Hornets and give them a passable roster. That'd allow New Orleans to avoid signing the aging West to a long-term deal, or chase a free agent like Carl Landry with a multi-year offer. Come July 1, Jamison is an expiring contract -- there's no risk there. Even if he were an anchor, given that the NBA franchisees who own the Hornets are OK with paying $65 million in New Orleans payroll this season, they should be alright paying $60 million next season (if they even own the team at that point). A $15-million expiring contract attached to a quality if past-his-peak player is not remotely an albatross.
I can't imagine David Stern would get bullied by his 29 bosses on something like this, should the Hornets and Cavs reach an agreement. Team owners have typically shown deference to Stern, and if he gives Hugh Weber and the Hornets' management team a preliminary thumbs-up, it's because he knows he can manage unrest on the issue. But if it happens and owners do revolt? It'd say something pretty telling about the motivations of those franchisees when it comes to the health of the league versus personal profit.