The New Orleans Hornets are clearly embroiled in what could be a long rebuild project, having traded Chris Paul for the Timberwolves' 2012 first-round pick, Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu. If New Orleans plans on retaining Gordon, who will be a restricted free agent in July, point guard and the frontcourt will be the areas of need. The Hornets' own 2012 pick should be in the top six, Minnesota's will be No. 12-18 and there's an outside chance that New Orleans can land one more.
NEEDS & TARGETS
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Chris Kaman, the Hornet most likely to be traded by March 15, will draw a first-round pick; his salary is pretty onerous, even though his contract expires at season's end. Most teams just can't absorb $14 million, and there aren't many $14-million expiring players or packages that are too expendable for teams that would want Kaman.
Trevor Ariza (playing in front of Aminu), Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack are other veterans that contending teams could want, and Landry's on an expiring $8.5 million deal. But Jack is on the hook for $5.4 million next season, and Ariza has $15 million over two years guaranteed. Drawing a first for any of the three seems unlikely, but who knows? Let us not doubt the persuasive powers of the Hornets' ownership group!
SALARY CAP SITUATION
The Hornets are sitting at $66 million, according to ShamSports.com. New Orleans has just $34 million locked up for next season, and won't likely take on more before the deadline.
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