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"DEALER" DELL
November 30, 2010

The Nubians became famous traders by carrying goods from Central Africa and Nubia into Egypt and southwestern Asia and bringing other goods back.

Kit Carson was known as one of the great fur trappers and traders of the 19th century.

Warren Buffett became one of the most respected financial traders in the modern era by adhering to two rules. Rule #1: Dont Lose Money. Rule #2: Never Forget Rule #1.

Frank Trader Lane acquired his nickname because of his propensity for pulling the trigger on more than 400 baseball trades (including 241 while with the Chicago White Sox alone!).

And now let me present Dell Demps. Henceforth to be known as Dealer Dell. Hired by the Hornets as Senior Vice President and General Manager on July 21st to help create a new culture for the New Orleans Hornets, he set out to deconstruct and then reconstruct the roster with the ultimate goal of bringing New Orleans NBA championships.

His job appeared daunting from day one.

On his first full day on the job he met with three-time all star point guard Chris Paul to separate fact from fiction regarding offseason rumors. He came away understanding that his superstar simply wants what every player, coach, executive and fan wants: championship rings.

Demps obviously took their conversation and his overall mission very seriously. Less than four months into his new job the young (just 40 years of age) front office executive has already pulled the trigger on six trades. Thats an average of one deal every three weeks.



Were trying to get better and at the same time make moves for the long term, says the 40-year-old Demps. This is all part of a plan to make us more competitive now while also giving us the flexibility to make decisions in the future.

Not only has he worked the phones arduously, he has done so successfully. He has done so while his new team shattered franchise records by winning its first eight games. He has done so while his team holds the best winning percentage in pro basketball. He has done so while his club has played the second-hardest NBA schedule. He has done so while a rookie head coach has burst onto the scene as a tremendous communicator and defensive facilitator. He has done so while naysayers across the country questioned whether his new team would even compete for a playoff spot this season.

Heres what the Hornets roster looked like on
July 21st, the day Demps took over as GM:

NO. PLAYER POS.
2 DARREN COLLISON GUARD
34 AARON GRAY CENTER
50 EMEKA OKAFOR CENTER
3 CHRIS PAUL GUARD
41 JAMES POSEY FORWARD
9 DARIUS SONGAILA FORWARD
16 PEJA STOJAKOVIC FORWARD
5 MARCUS THORNTON GUARD
30 DAVID WEST FORWARD
32 JULIAN WRIGHT FORWARD
20 QUINCY PONDEXTER FORWARD
28 CRAIG BRACKINS FORWARD
Heres what the current Hornets roster
looks like less than four months later:

NO. PLAYER POS.
11 DAVID ANDERSEN F/C
1 TREVOR ARIZA FORWARD
15 MARCUS BANKS GUARD
8 MARCO BELINELLI GUARD
33 WILLIE GREEN GUARD
34 AARON GRAY CENTER
2 JARRETT JACK GUARD
28 DJ MBENGA CENTER
44 POPS MENSAH-BONSU FORWARD
50 EMEKA OKAFOR CENTER
3 CHRIS PAUL GUARD
20 QUINCY PONDEXTER FORWARD
14 JASON SMITH F/C
5 MARCUS THORNTON GUARD
30 DAVID WEST FORWARD


Only six players remain on the roster Demps inherited in July. Three are starters (Paul, West, and Okafor), and three (Thornton, Pondexter, and Gray) have played sparingly thus far. For those of you wondering about the Morris Peterson trade I remind you that was a draft day deal prior to Demps arrival netting rookies Pondexter and Brackins. Brackins was later traded to Philadelphia by Demps.

I havent included some of the other moves by the Hornets new GM that did NOT involve trades but that upgraded the roster. Signing DJ MBenga and Pops Mensah-Bonsu as free agents, for instance both of whom earned roster spots in October and created more frontcourt depth for Monty Williams.

Dealer Dell told the media in July from the moment I spoke to Hugh (Weber, Hornets team President), and Monty about this opportunity I could tell something special was building within the organization.

Demps obviously has a much clearer crystal ball than most prognosticators and fans because few realized in July how great the potential was for the Hornets franchise. Piece by piece, day by day, month by month Demps has been thorough in his efforts to build a strong roster around all stars Chris Paul and David West. Monty Williams and his staff, the youngest in the league, have engaged this ever-changing group to play hard and to play defense every night.

The best start in Hornets franchise history has happened because of a myriad of factors: A driven, healthy pair of all stars in Paul and West. A full training camp for center Emeka Okafor (who missed the ENTIRE preseason a year ago) that allowed him time to grasp a new system and coach, and improved athleticism and versatility on a Hornets roster that lacked both a season ago.

And of course, the key to the most interesting NBA story of the season so far is Dell Demps. Dealer Dell just wont stop until he turns that something special into championships in the Big Easy.



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