Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/9/12
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This off season has been nothing short of exciting for the New Orleans Hornets franchise, especially after selecting Anthony Davis with the number 1 overall pick in the draft.  It seems the Hornets weren’t quite done adding to their front-court, as the Orlando Magic in a sign and trade sent the young forward to New Orleans in exchange for the fan favorite Gustavo Ayon.  As with the the rest of the league the trade can not become official until Wednesday per the new CBA rules. 

The deal for Anderson, is 4 years and between $34-36 million.  At only 24 years old, in his 5th year in the league this comes as a major move in the right direction.  Ryan won the NBA’s most improved player last season with averages of 16.1 ppg and grabbing 7.7 rpg, while playing in 61 games.  For a Hornets squad that struggled offensively, especially from 3-point range this is a steal for the Hornets as Anderson is an excellent shooter from deep.  The 6′ 10″ forward will do wonders to stretch the floor and by making this move it almost seems as if the Hornets want to possibly make Anthony Davis their center in the future.  The only sad part is having to lose Gustavo Ayon, but at 27 years old in an already crowded forward situation, this move may have been the best for him. 

This trade took place after it was rumored Anderson was going to sign an offer sheet with the Hornets.  Orlando could have had an opportunity to match it as Ryan is a restricted free agent, instead they are looking to clear space up but wanted something in return.  The Magic recieve an extrememly hard worker in Ayon, though his stats aren’t impressive, (5.9 ppg and 4.9 rpg) and that has part in due to the fact of lack of playing time.  He quickly became a fan favorite in New Orleans, it is sad to see him leave and wish him the best of luck with the Orlando Magic franchise.

In other news Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, and 9 other rookies will participate in the Hornets summer league which starts on July 15.  This comes after both Hornets Davis and Eric Gordon were left of this year’s summer Olympic team.  Speaking of Eric, as of right now it looks as if the Hornets will match the Suns offer of 4 years, $58 million despite Gordon’s statement of his “heart is now in Phoenix.”  Those words have caused quite a stir after what was looking to be a great off season.  It was no surprise that Gordon would more than likely sign an offer sheet from another team, but for him to make that statement makes it seem he does not want to be in New Orleans.  There have been rumors that maybe a sign and trade could come into play, which is very unlikely since the Suns have little to no assets to offer the Hornets who are in rebuilding mode since the departure of Chris Paul.  As of July 11th the Hornets will have 3 days to match the offer, which is the most likely to happen or Gordon will become a Phoenix Sun.  So we should know more before this week is through.  Gordon missed most of last season, playing in only 9 games so his injury history could come into play and is the main reason the Hornets decided not to offer him a max contract before the extension deadline.

With these moves it seems highly unlikely that Carl Landry, Chris Kaman, and even possibly Marco Belinelli will be back with the Hornets next season.  The Hornets are still in need of a center, with Jason Smith being listed as the only one on New Orleans roster.  Kaman is unlikely to return as his asking price is looking to be more than what the Hornets would like to spend on a veteran center in the middle of a full out rebuild.  Couple that with the fact the Hornets tried to trade him last season before the deadline, even having him sit out games until it came to the point they failed to reach a deal and he returned.  Other centers available that have been mentioned as possibilities are Kwame Brown, Ronny Turiaf, and Jordan Hill.  Of the three Hill is the youngest and would give the Hornets a solid big man presence down low.  Turiaf or Brown if signed would more than likely just be stop gaps for this season.  Neither would be a long term solution, another top center available is restricted free agent Javale McGee of the Denver Nuggets.  Very unlikely since the Nuggets would match any offer given how well he played at the end of last season.  So as of Wednesday the excitement will really begin when these trades and signings will become official.  Stay tuned as the excitement is just getting started!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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