Demps explains draft-night trade to Knicks

Thursday, June 23, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

According to GM Dell Demps, in the simplest terms, here’s what happened Thursday as the Hornets debated what to do with the No. 45 pick: The team had five players they hoped would be available in the middle of the second round. All five of those targeted prospects wound up being selected prior to New Orleans’ turn to draft. As a result, the Hornets opted to deal their second-round choice to the New York Knicks, which was Kentucky big man Josh Harrellson.

“There will be other avenues to improve the team,” Demps said of his plan moving forward this offseason. “We will continue to do our due diligence on that. There were a number of guys we had targeted. When we did not get those guys, we decided to (trade) the pick. We do have roster spots available, but we didn’t want to just pick just to be picking. We had a group of guys we were hoping to get, but we couldn’t (get them).”

Asked what the Hornets will do with the financial considerations they received in the trade, Demps said, “it will be strictly for the team. The money we did acquire, we will use strictly to make the team better.” He was later asked at what spot in the draft the last of his five targeted players was selected, but Demps responded that “I don’t want to reveal that list.” He quickly joked “(the last of the five) went fifth (in the first round).”

Demps said that entering Thursday’s draft, he did not expect to deal the No. 45 choice. “I thought we were going to get someone,” he said. “I did. But we’ll be ready and working hard to get the (team) ready for next year, back to work and put a team together.” It had been accurately reported by Yahoo! Sports earlier Thursday that the Hornets were in talks to move into the first round of the draft, but Demps said that realistically he didn’t approach finalizing a deal. “We didn’t get real close on that,” he said. “We tried some different avenues, but we came up short.”

Hornets officially select Harrellson at 45

New Orleans officially picked Kentucky center Josh Harrellson with the 45th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. Hornets general manager Dell Demps will be speaking to the local media in roughly an hour or so, after the entire draft has been completed. I’ll try to provide as many details and quotes as possible, before it gets into the wee hours of Friday morning.