The Bobcats and Hornets have made it official: a swap of starting centers Emeka Okafor and Tyson Chandler.
New Orleans adds Okafor, a sturdier version of Chandler with far more offensive skills. In fact, Okafor blocks shots at a higher rate than Chandler, who has regularly disappointed in that area for a player of his height and wingspan. I don’t see Okafor’s scoring average going up – quite the opposite actually* – but he should rebound and block shots at his usual high rate. Okafor is under contract for six years, so the Hornets are taking on some salary here. But they have gotten stronger and tougher up front.
Chandler, who according to several eye witnesses played center for New Orleans last year, has only two years left on his contract. The Hornets tried unsuccessfully to move him last season when he failed his physical with Oklahoma City. One of the biggest busts of 2008-09, Chandler will have a chance to revive himself under Larry Brown, but how much better can someone be after leaving Chris Paul? He should probably be thought of as a reserve center unless and until he proves he can average at least 10 boards and a block a game.
I’m not bumping Okafor up any cheat sheets either since David West will hog the low-post plays, but I’m still giving him the fantasy edge in this trade. If anything, Bobcats Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace will benefit by a few more touches per game.
* – down