Carl Landry isn't suiting up for the New Orleans Hornets right now, and coach Monty Williams does not want to talk about it. Well ... he says he doesn't want to talk about it. You be the judge. From the New Orleans Times Picayune's John Reid:
Though Landry missed his second consecutive game with a sprained right ankle, Williams said he had no idea what's going on with the forward's injury.
"It's one of those situations that if I say too much right now, I could be sharp with my words," Williams said.
Heavens to Betsy, don't let him be sharp with his words.
I appreciate Williams' position, as further elucidated in Reid's story: even though the Hornets are abysmal, every game counts when you're trying to build a winning culture. If one player -- any player -- starts valuing his own perfect health and future free agency over the opportunity of team triumph, it can become an avalanche of frowns. It's a valid concern.
But see it from Landry's perspective. Look at why he's with the Hornets this season.
1. The lockout, the new collective bargaining agreement and a weird offseason made it so that only a few players picked up long-term, lucrative contracts. More players than usual deferred their free agency to 2012 for a more normal experience and market.
3. Landry wasn't getting great bites in free agency. The Hornets' roster was gutted. New Orleans had some cap space and Bird rights on Landry.
4. Match made in heaven! Landry would give New Orleans some production without tying up its long-term flexibility; the Hornets would give Landry some cash to ensure that they were not the worst team ever.
Now the deal is nearing completion, and Landry allegedly (if you read between Monty's lines) isn't willing to sacrifice his next step -- a long-term deal in free agency -- to further help a team he won't be sticking with. It's like the opposite of when a team straps to the bench a disappointing veteran who will be a free agent. But when that happens, no one complains. It's just a part of the game. If a player dares exercise his self-interest in the face of meaningless games, he's something like a coward.
I get where Williams is coming from, and he probably needs to say these things even if he (as a recent player) is personally sympathetic to Landry's position. But it's a bit silly to expect Landry to value the fate of a team built to fail more than his own career.