Moving forward, the biggest thing we were trying to do is have ourselves positioned to take advantage of the free-agent market and to allow ourselves to investigate that very aggressively and to keep as much roster space flexibility as we could. Heading into the summer and training camp, our objective was to put ourselves in position to help this team the quickest way possible and we felt this trade allowed us some avenues to pursue that could accomplish those goals.
(On why they traded the pick)
Following the completion of our workouts here in New Orleans, we went back and evaluated and looked at who we had in and other prospects we didnt have in, and we came to the decision that we were going to trade the pick to Portland.
(On whether they tried to make any other moves)
We made calls to look into some different situations to see if there was any availability of picks, and we were unsuccessful in that aspect.
(On whether they have any specific free agents targeted)
Well, I think there are several players that we feel can help us. We feel that we have a situation here that is ideal for a young man to come into in a role that is a very important one for us. We think, obviously, that coming on the heels off this past season and building on the success of the team that players want to come here, that players would want to be a part of this team and this atmosphere and this environment that was created this past season. Obviously players see what playing with Chris Paul, David West, Peja, Tyson and the rest of our entire team, they see what a tight-knit group we have, they see what its like to play for Coach Scott and his staff. We feel that we have a lot to offer a player and we feel it is something that will be very well received.
Hornets head coach Byron Scott fielded questions from the New Orleans media after the team traded its first-round pick (No. 27 overall) to Portland for cash considerations. There was a lengthy delay in staging the 10:30 p.m. press conference as the Hornets waited for league approval and the deal to be finalized:
Q: What brought about your decision to trade the pick?
Scott: To be honest with you, after all of the guys we worked out, this is a team of now. Were not anymore a team of the future; were not looking two or three years down the line. When we looked at the 27th pick and all of the guys we brought in, we tried to look at those guys objectively and look at if any of those guys could help us next year, immediately. It was our opinion that there really wasnt anyone there that could help us, so if we could trade the pick, sell the pick, the bigger picture is trying to get a veteran guy who can try to come in and help us right away.
Q: Was this something you thought about before the workouts, then when you saw the talent that was out there, it kind of solidified your thought that the team was better served to trade the pick?
Scott: No, we wanted to keep an open mind (entering workouts). Once we started working out guys, we started to think about it a little bit more. Like I said, we saw a lot of good players. (But) there wasnt a Chris Paul in this draft, (not) at the 27th pick, obviously. We wanted to at least find someone who could help us right away. At 27 we just didnt find that guy.
Q: Have you already targeted the players you are seeking in free agency?
Scott: Jeff (Bower) and I have talked about a list of guys that we like. Obviously we put them in the order that we would like to pursue them. They are guys we feel can help us right away and give us another piece of the puzzle, for us to have a better season than we did last year and go a little further than we did last year. Were not in that situation anymore which we have been the last couple years of saying, This guy can help us down the road. Well, down the road for us (now) is 2008-09. Its not three or four years from now.
Q: Have you prioritized your needs in free agency?
Scott: We know what we feel is the biggest need for us as a team. But we feel there are three positions that can really help us. We feel like we can have a more athletic swingman, another backup point guard, and another big guy. A lot of things we are looking at are guys that can come off the bench and help us. You guys (the media) know how I felt about the bench last season it wasnt very consistent. Our five (starters) are pretty solid; and off the bench if Julian (Wright) and Hilton (Armstrong) can play the way I think they can; and we can get the free agent we want, I think were going to be a big-time player again.
If you've got a few minutes today, it's worth listening to Hornets GM Jeff Bower's Q&A session
with the New Orleans media yesterday, now available in Hornets.com's Audio Archives
section. Bower's chat definitely will provide you with a better explanation of where the reported trade with Portland stands and what the ramifications of a deal would be. The interview is about 15 minutes and delves into multiple Hornets topics, including a few questions not related to tonight's draft.
Our look back at the 2007-08 season rolls on today with a look at the season of Julian Wright
. The rookie from Kansas emerged as a bench catalyst in March. I think it's safe to say that among all of the team's players, Wright may be the player Hornets fans are most looking forward to watching develop next season. He's the most athletic guy on the squad. It will be very interesting to see how much he can improve with a year of NBA seasoning under his belt. Wright will also be participating in NBA Summer League in Las Vegas next month, so we should have a chance to chat with him there.