Friday, July 31, 2009

New Orleans Scuttlebutt 7-31-09

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 11:51 PM

No one expected that the ‘09 summer solstice would offer the kind of star power that makes teams mortgage away their immediate futures for a shot at blue giants like Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. But even though we haven't seen a  realignment of NBA mega stars, we have seen the repositioning of a few red dwarfs.

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Rasheed Wallace was relocated to Boston, once again establishing them as an intergalactic super-power. Burnt out in New Jersey, Vince Carter is hoping to reignite his career in Orlando. The Lakers’ acquisition of Ron Artest has the L.A. world clamoring for a few more rings. And “The sky’s the limit” in Cleveland. In literally the biggest move of the summer, Shaquille O’Neal was united with King James, the league’s reigning M.V.P.

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But with all the reshuffling of the league’s talent, the Hornets have been content with just “star gazing.” That is until they recently jettisoned center Tyson Chandler (again) for Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor. Though light years away from the vast improvements around the NBA, the trade has improved the Hornets-marginally at least.

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Last season Okafor averaged a double-double with 13.2 points and 10.1 rebounds a game (Chandler only  averaged 8 and 8). Okafor will give New Orleans some semblance of a post presence, and hopefully unclog the lane for Paul in addition to freeing up some of New Orleans‘ three-point shooters.

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But At 6-foot-10, transitioning from the centers of the Eastern Conference to the giants of the Western Conference will be a difficult task. Chandler, on the other hand only played 45 games last year, limited by injuries like turf toe and a sprained ankle. But when he did play, 7-foot-1 Chandler could compete with the likes of Tim Duncan and Paol Gasol and he and Paul led the league in alley oops.

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"I'm missing a great friend," said Paul. "A brother. TC was my man. Not just during the basketball season. His wife, his kids, his in-laws, he was somebody I could talk to about anything, and he made me a better player."

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Along with Chandler, went the power behind “Crescent City Connection.” Statistically Okafor holds the edge, but chemistry takes time to develop and even then there‘s no guarantee. So was the trade a bust or a success? Ask me in March.

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