NBA AM: Landry Not Ready To Bail On Hornets
Fans of the New Orleans Hornets have undoubtedly been on an emotional roller coaster over the past two years while trying to support their franchise.
From All-Star guard Chris Paul’s devastating knee injury, to team ownership transitions, talks of possibly becoming a league contraction candidate, followed by rumors of the franchise relocating, to All-Star forward David West’s own devastating knee injury, West’s decision to opt out of the last season on his contract and test the free agency market and lastly the nonstop rumor mill surrounding Paul and whether he wants to be included in the team’s future plans.
However one player, unrestricted free agent power forward Carl Landry, is going public expressing his desire to remain a part of the Hornets’ organization long-term.
The Hornets obtained Landry from the Sacramento Kings earlier this year in exchange for high scoring guard Marcus Thornton.
“When I came, everybody welcomed me with open arms and it was the front office first before anything,” Landry told Jimmy Smith of the Times-Picayune. “I know the team only has three or four (actually five) players right now. And they’re trying to figure out which way it’s going to go with Chris Paul. But the front office is amazing.”
West decided to opt out of the final year of his deal which would have paid him $7.5 million for the 2012 season to explore free agency and potentially join a contender closer to NBA title contention. He has not officially ruled out a return to New Orleans.
Paul has publicly insisted his desire to remain in New Orleans, but sources in and close to his camp have fueled rumors about the guard’s desire to play in New York.
Paul has consistently maintained his desire to perennially contend for championships and his concerns revolve around whether or not New Orleans’ front office is capable of investing the required resources into fulfilling that prerequisite.
However, Landry has no such qualms at the moment and doesn’t question the Hornets’ front office commitment to winning.
“I’m 100 percent confident that Dell Demps and the guys in the front office will do that in New Orleans,” Landry said in regards to building a winner. “I’m really confident New Orleans will have a good team this upcoming season. And I know what Dell Demps wants to do with the ball club. And that’s win.”
Landry averaged 11.8 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Hornets in 23 regular season games after the trade. With West out during the club’s playoff run, Landry averaged 15.8 points and 5 rebounds during the postseason.
The four year veteran is attracting interest from Denver, New Jersey, Indiana, Boston and Portland.
Clippers Closing In On Caron Butler: It’s no secret the Los Angeles Clippers have been actively seeking to upgrade their talent at the small forward position.
As the 2011 free agency period looms on the horizon it appears the franchise may have their man on the wing.
According to an ESPN report, free agent forward Caron Butler met with Clipper officials on Monday night and the conversations went so well that the two sides plan to meet again on Tuesday morning.
“Caron was really happy with the meeting,” Butler’s agent Raymond Brothers said. “We were really impressed by (general manager) Neil Olshey and (head coach) Vinny Del Negro. I think they’ve got a good young team that can win. Caron had a really good feeling about it.”
Butler played in 29 games with the Dallas Mavericks last season but ruptured a tendon in his knee on January 1 and missed the remainder of the season and the club’s epic run to the championship.
The Mavericks are said to be interested in bringing Butler back for the 2012 season but rumored to only be offering a one-year contract.
The 31 year old Butler is seeking a multi-year deal.
Detroit, Chicago and New Jersey are also in contention for the services of the two-time All-Star.
Jason Terry Pushing For Extension: Twelve-year veteran guard and 2009 Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry has made no secret of his desire to retire a Dallas Maverick.
Unfortunately, unless the Mavericks offer him a contract extension the veteran will enter the summer of 2012 an unrestricted free agent at the age of thirty-four. That’s when most guys begin playing for exceptions or minimum level deals.
“My focus is to sign an extension because being the core of what we’ve built to this point, I believe they want me here,” Terry told Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas. “And if the extension is not done, then that tells me something different. And so, I’m going to put all my efforts out here to prove to everybody in this league that I’m going to be here for another four to five years playing at a high level.”
Terry played a pivotal role in the Mavericks’ surprising playoff championship run, shooting a scorching 44 percent from three-point range and raising his scoring average nearly two points per contest during the postseason.
Despite his uncertain contract status beyond this season, Terry is focused on defending the NBA title and believes Dallas has the pieces already in place.
“For me, it’s an important year, so I’m here,” Terry said. “The core [of the team] is intact, so we’ll roll with what we’ve got, that’s how you’ve got to look at it. With our core group of guys that have been here for the longest, we’re still right there in the top of the league.”
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