The Hornets Fought the Tax and the Tax Won

Moore may be willing to take the high road and not rub it in for the Hornets, but I’m in no such mood.  I’m ready to party OKC style, and if that means a few NOLA tears then so be it.  It’s a miserable situation, watching a team fall apart in the name of the luxury tax, but it’s part of life and we have to move on (that could become the broken record over the next few months, with more and more owners looking to cope in a struggling economy).

This trade is absolutely unbelievable for the Thunder.  Care to guess which position has been the most productive against the Thunder this year?  Center?  No way!  And here I thought Nick Collison, Chris Wilcox, and Robert Swift were the real deal, long-term starters destined for the Hall and bobble head nights aplenty.  Tyson is infinitely better defensively than any of those three, and adding Chandler to the starting lineup allows players like Collison and Nenad Krstic to thrive against the lesser second units of opposing teams.  In the meantime, Chandler can take his time with his recovery because the Thunder are comfortably outside of the playoff race.  It’s a beautiful thing, really.

Supposing the Thunder can find a reliable option at shooting guard through the likes of Sacramento’s John Salmons or even James Harden via draft, this team becomes that much more interesting.  Chandler complements the smooth games of Durant and Jeff Green with his rugged defense in the post and enough length to bother quicker players.  Combined with Westbrook’s prowess on that end and Durant’s defensive potential, this Thunder team could have some teeth.

Above all, Presti managed to swipe Tyson Chandler from the Hornets without sacrificing picks or concrete assets.  The Thunder still have their precious cap room, they still have at least one sizable expiring contract (the full details of the trade have yet to be disclosed), a full array of draft picks, and they still have Nick Collison and Earl Watson.  It’s hard to mess with a deal that nabs one of the best defensive centers in the game for two expendable pieces that weren’t in the team’s long-term plans.  Well done.

As happy as I am for the Thunder, I do understand just how tragic this is for the Hornets.  Chris Paul is too awesome, and on face I would never want to wish harm to him, his team, or the city.  But in the spirit of this trade, I don’t see it fit to mourn.  The Hornets’ funeral shouldn’t be a requiem, but a celebration of life.  The life the the Hornets had, short as it was, brought joy to all of us (even me, a Mavs fan, who saw his team slain by Paul’s blade in last year’s playoffs), and the new life that the Hornets have now created will live on.  Pay your respects to our dear friends the Hornets, but dance in catharsis to the new grooves of the Thunder.

Seth Carstens