The Hornets traded for Carl Landry this week, sending Marcus Thornton and a bit of cash to the Kings. Landry makes a whopping $3 million this season, and will be an unrestricted free agent. Thornton makes less than a million. Of course, Landry is the better player at a need position for New Orleans, who happens to be in the playoff chase. Once you pro-rate the contracts, Dwain Price of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram figures that the deal cost the Hornets $750,000.
Now, the 29 NBA franchise owners control the Hornets. So they are paying that $750,000, effectively, which comes out to $25,862 per franchisee. That still didn't stop Mavericks owner Mark Cuban from whining about the deal.
From Price's post:
"All I know is if most of the owners in this league can't take back salary in a deal, the Hornets shouldn't be allowed to, either," Cuban said. "All I know is that it never dawned to me that we would allow a team that's basically losing their (butts) to take on salary."
Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Cuban is once again acting like a 13-year-old.
The Hornets are trying to stay competitive, and made a smart trade that also made sense for the other team, the Kings, who had a glut of big man and needed guard help, and who wouldn't likely have kept Landry in free agency. This is the smartest trade for both teams that will go down this deadline. If any of 29 other NBA teams in New Orleans' position made this trade, no one would raise an eyebrow.
Why is Cuban mad? You really think the man who has paid the luxury tax every single season of its existence really sweats $25,862 he'll never really have to offer up, assuming the Hornets sell for $300 million or more? No, no, no. This is about one thing, and one thing only: competition. The Mavericks might face the Hornets in the first or second round of the playoffs. Cuban doesn't want his opponent to be stronger than it is, and if he can do something to prevent improvement he will. He's sore that he can't stop the Hornets for getting better, even though he owns a 1/29th share of the team. It kills him to think that Carl Landry is going to embed his teeth in Dirk Nowitzki again.
I guarantee that if you polled the 29 owners of the New Orleans Hornets on whether to do this deal, more than 25 -- and probably 27* -- would approve. Cuban is being disingenuous about his concerns, and ridiculous in his belief that the Hornets should be run as they were for decades under George Shinn. Do you think the fans care more about Cuban's 25 grand, or a more competitive Hornets team? No contest.
The fact is that the trade, by making the Hornets a bit more competitive, will help drive up the value of the franchise, assuming Landry fits well. This is a completely selfish stance by an owner whose never been shy to exploit the very loopholes he bemoans to make his team better. Why should Hornets fans have to suffer on his account?
* Donald T. Sterling never met a nickel he couldn't hoard.