NBA Roundtable

Okafor Trade Rumour

In Trade Talk on November 15, 2009 at 9:24 am

Sam Amick reports

A source with knowledge of the situation says the Kings are discussing a trade with New Orleans that would send Kenny Thomas to the Hornets and bring center Emeka Okafor to Sacramento.

The deal would be ideal for the Hornets, as Thomas’ expiring contract worth $8.7 million is just the kind of contract that would trim their enormous payroll. The question, of course, is whether the Kings see Okafor as a big man solution worth the five years and $62.5 million left on his deal.

No deal is imminent and this is merely a discussion between the two sides at this point.


I don’t believe there’s any truth to the rumour.

Note On Future Hornets Rumours

The negative opinions on George Shinn and the Hornets financial situation … I think for the most part neither of those issues are anywhere near as a bad as people want to believe in mainstream news or fans dating back to the 1990’s when Shinn wouldn’t pay his players.

The Hornets have shown enough financial clout over the last two years + Shinn has paid to bring in talented players to win over the last four years often enough for me to think these problems are either fabricated (NO finances) or in the past (Shinn).

The Trade

That said, if I’m New Orelans, I’m making that trade. If I’m Sacramento, I’m not. Emeka Okafor is not a contract you want on your books when you’re looking to retool which both squads should be doing. Sacramento have already begun whilst the Hornets are ignoring an inevitable truth.

New Orleans Hornets

If the Hornets were to make a trade like this, here are a few steps and reasons for it that I’d like to see:

  • Darius Songaila and Mo Peterson combine to make $11.2 million in 2010/11 but expire in the summer of 2011.
  • Peja Stojakovic’s $14.26 million contract also expires that summer. That brings the Hornets total up to $25.5 million in expiring contracts.
  • If the Hornets traded Emeka Okafor that would remove $11.65 million from their cap in 2011/12. Savings up to $37 million.
  • My next move would be to dump James Posey.  How easy or difficult this may prove will be down to how well his form recovers over the next few months of the season. It may be a simple trade to make or one where you have to sacrifice an asset (a first round pick) in order to get it done. That would remove another $7 million from the Hornets cap.
  • Hornets cap in 2011/12 — Chris Paul @ $16.4 million + David West @ $7.5 million + Darren Collison @ $1.5 million — that’s it. So they’d be coming in with about $33 million in contracts once you give some consideration to future draft picks and open roster spaces. Depending on where the cap is, the Hornets would then have $20-$27 million in cap space that summer.
  • They would also be armed with $26-44 million in expiring contracts to play with in the trade market. Good chance there will be better opportunities for the Hornets there than in free agency.
  • I’d also look to trade David West for talent. Not expiring deals. West has a good reputation across the league plus a cheap contract and I reckon he has more trade value than value as a player. Plus his lack of effort in non-scoring departments is poisoning that team (West is the main reason for their struggles this season).

By making those moves the Hornets will create a situation where they can totally rebuild their roster inside of two years + build properly around the talents + reputation of the player perceived as the best point guard in the NBA (other players like playing with playmakers of Paul’s class).

These moves would give the Hornets their best chance at putting out a legitimate contender as soon as possible.

Sacramento Kings

As for the Kings, you don’t want to waste away what little cap flexibility you have on Emeka Okafor. He isn’t good enough to take your squad anywhere meaningful.

Little cap flexibility — Udrih, Garcia and Nocioni are combining to make around $18 million a year. That’s a disgracefully bad situation for a rebuilding team to be in. That’s the difference between being able to get an All-Star in free agency or not. It’s tying their hands.

Consequently, the Kings must focus on the draft. Which means remaining a poor side for another year or three whilst using their high lottery picks to add elite talents.

The Kings simply don’t have the trade assets or cap flexibility to make any other successful moves. It has to be the draft.

Now, in a few years, when they’ve added more young prospects + some of those contracts are winding down, then, they’ll be able to be players in the trade market + possibly free agency. But trying to do so now, or in the near future, will have the Kings falling flat on their face.

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