Sitting at 26-48, the Hornets head to Golden State tomorrow night to take on the Warriors. With only eight games remaining, it sounds like the team will have some decisions to make in the offseason. Let's round up all things New Orleans here on this Tuesday night:
- Hornets coach Monty Williams does not foresee the Hornets (soon to be the Pelicans) having any problems attracting top talent this offseason, writes John Reid of The Times-Picayune. Along with the name change, the New Orleans franchise has a 55,000 square foot practice facility in the works as well as ample cap space to make a splash. Williams says that multiple free-agents-to-be have suggested to him during games that they'd love to play for him in New Orleans.
- Williams addressed the idea of changes to the team's roster over the
summer, notes Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com (Twitter link). "That’s just the nature of
it. When you have a record like we have, you’re not going to settle for this
production," Williams said.
expressed his displeasure with the team's small forwards
earlier this season, and Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune echoes
that sentiment, imploring the team to prioritize an upgrade at the three this
summer. As it stands now, the Hornets use Al-Farouq Aminu, Darius Miller and Lance Thomas at that spot, who barely combine for 12 points per night.
- The Hornets could have as many as eight players become free agents when the season ends in two weeks, including the entire small forward trio mentioned above, Reid writes. Aminu will become a free agent, along with Xavier Henry, Roger Mason and Louis Amundson. The Hornets must decide whether to extend team options to Miller, Thomas and backup point guard Brian Roberts. Per Reid, this has resulted in an environment where the current players are desperate to make an impression. While Reid doesn't mention him, Terrel Harris has a non-guaranteed deal next season and could also become a free agent.
Starters generate the most headlines, but valuable bench contributors are often the pickups that prove the ultimate difference-makers for their teams. HoopsWorld's Lang Greene spoke with three reserves either heading into or coming off of free agency about their choices, and we'll highlight his revelations here.
- Corey Brewer will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, but he loves playing for coach George Karl and favors re-signing with the Nuggets. "You know I’d love to be here," Brewer said of Denver. "But you never know what’s going to happen, because it’s the NBA. I just take it day by day and hopefully this will be home."
- As Greene points out, Brewer could be a tight squeeze back onto Denver's roster. The Nuggets will have close to $69MM in salary commitments for next season if Andre Iguodala waives his early-termination option, putting them close to the luxury tax threshold, which currently sits at $70.307MM.
- Rookie point guard Brian Roberts had "several other suitors" after a strong performance for the Hornets summer league squad, according to Greene, but left his German team to sign a partially guaranteed two-year contract with New Orleans. Roberts said he signed with the Hornets out of loyalty stemming from their summer league invitation as well as a promise that the team would give playing time to whoever is producing this season.
- Bobcats guard Reggie Williams is seeing significantly fewer minutes than in any of his three previous seasons in the NBA, which is poor timing, since he's heading into free agency next summer. The 6'6" sharpshooter says his goal this season is to prove he's completely healthy after a torn meniscus in his knee sidelined him for half of last season.
The latest news and notes around the Western Conference on Friday evening:
- Robert Silverman of the New York Times wonders what sort of return the Lakers could get if they decided to trade Pau Gasol.
- Nicole Auerbach of USA Today has a feature on Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and the impact he is having on other players hoping to make it to the NBA from mid-major schools.
- HoopsWorld.com's Bill Ingram thinks it's too early for the Timberwolves to give up on Derrick Williams.
- Ingram also thinks the Mavericks will be able to get a couple more high-level seasons out of Dirk Nowitzki.
- John Reid of the Times-Picayune writes that Hornets coach Monty Williams is urging guard Brian Roberts to shoot more.
You'll find tonight's miscellaneous links from the Western Conference here:
Thursday night brought another round of roster cuts, as the Rockets
, and Hawks
all released players, moving a step closer to finalizing their regular-season rosters. Plenty of camp invitees around the league remain on the bubble though, so let's round up the latest updates on a few roster hopefuls....
- Eddy Curry has performed well for the Spurs in camp and preseason so far, and is optimistic about his chances of making the team, as he tells Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News."I think I’m going to make it," Curry said. "Until they tell me I’m not, I feel like I’m part of this team."
- In a Q&A with Brian Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Chris Douglas-Roberts says he was talking to a few teams before signing with the Lakers. According to Douglas-Roberts, he passed up a situation or two where earning a roster spot likely would have been easier.
- Although he graduated from Dayton four years ago, Brian Roberts has yet to play in a regular season NBA game. However, he has made a good early impression in Hornets camp, as Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com writes.
- Displaying an ability to play point guard appears to be Jamar
Smith's best chance to earn a spot on the Celtics, but coach Doc Rivers
isn't sure yet whether the Southern Indiana product is a point or not,
according to Greg Payne of ESPNBoston.com.
The Hornets have officially signed 6'1" guard Brian Roberts to a contract, the team announced today in a press release. Roberts, who played his college ball at the University of Dayton, has spent the last few seasons overseas, primarily in Germany.
Roberts played for the Hornets' Summer League squad in Las Vegas, averaging 13.8 points, 2.2 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game, including outstanding shooting percentages of .500/.545/.938.
Roberts will likely receive no more than a partial guarantee from the Hornets, with a chance to earn a roster spot in training camp. We heard earlier in August that the 26-year-old was leaving his team in Germany to join the Hornets.
We haven't been keeping up with international free agent signings this summer like we have with NBA transactions, but occasionally there are a few items of interest to pass along. Here are a few notable recent moves from overseas:
- Top international player Bo McCalebb will remain overseas rather than making the leap to the NBA anytime soon. As Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes, Turkey's Fenerbahce Ulker announced today that they've signed the former University of New Orleans standout. The deal will be for three years, with a third-year option.
- 2010 Pistons second-round pick Terrico White has signed in Serbia with Radnicki Kragujevac, according to Carchia.
- According to various reports, Brian Roberts, who had been playing in Germany, has left his team and will receive a training camp invite from the Hornets. This move has yet to be confirmed by any Hornets beat writer or the team itself.
- Jarvis Varnado, who was selected 41st overall by the Heat in the 2010 draft, is hoping to sign with Miami this summer, and isn't considering offers overseas at the moment, says Carchia.