Hornets will go with best player available at 45

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

In one of his lengthiest meetings with the New Orleans media since taking over as general manager, Dell Demps addressed a significant number of team-related issues this morning at the Alario Center. Here is a CliffsNotes-type version of what he discussed:

- The Hornets will use the “best player available” philosophy with their second-round pick, which is No. 45 overall in Thursday’s draft.

- Demps said it’s still possible, but he “does not anticipate” trading up and moving into the first round.

- Demps confirmed that selecting a European or international player – even one who has a buyout that prevents them from coming to the NBA next season – is an option with the No. 45 pick.

- In Demps’ words, the Hornets are looking for “guys who can defend and complement our core.”

- There has been no official word yet from David West or Aaron Gray on whether they are opting in or opting out for 2010-11. Demps also said decisions on extending qualifying offers to restricted free agents Marco Belinelli and Jason Smith won’t take place until after the draft.

- New Orleans does not have a 2011 first-round pick as a result of a combination of trades that eventually yielded Jarrett Jack, but Demps believes it was a good trade for NOLA based on Jack’s impact last season.

- The Hornets have five players targeted that they would like to be available at the No. 45 pick. Demps added that the Hornets have roster spots available due to all of their potential free agents.

- Just about anything could happen Thursday. Demps: “We’re going to look at all options. There’s a possibility of trading the pick, selling the pick or moving up (in the draft).”