Want to know who's heating up for a big season on the hardwood? Insider is tapping into John Hollinger's projected player efficiency ratings to see who's trending up and down across the NBA. Ric Bucher rounds out the report by examining a pivotal player you'll want to watch as the season approaches. The series continues with the New Orleans Hornets.
GM Jeff Bower is trying to keep two very important people with conflicting desires happy. On one side is owner George Shinn, who wants Bower to get under the luxury tax; on the other is superstar point guard Chris Paul, who wants a team capable of winning a championship. The moves so far, not surprisingly, favor Shinn. Call the Hornets' swap of centers (Tyson Chandler for Emeka Okafor) a draw, since it saves them money this season but a case can at least be made that Okafor is capable of doing more than the perpetually injured Chandler. But dealing swingman Rasual Butler to the Clippers for a couple of future second-round draft choices was a straight salary dump and Paul publicly let it be known that the move disappointed him. Troubling winds are once more stirring in the Big Easy.
To see which player is taking off, which is crashing to earth and which name you'll need to know for the 2009-10 season, you must be an ESPN Insider.