First off, I do know that the Chris Paul to the Cavaliers idea is, and has long been, a dream rumor around here for a few years now, and I’m not here to say it’s by any means “likely.” I also know the idea has been completely shot down just about as quickly as it comes up every time it does, so to be clear, I’m just thinking out loud right now.In doing so, I can’t help but think that in the current NBA climate where the Clippers organization is granted a sit-down with the most high profile free agent in the history of professional sports, a team owned by the Dolans is said to have a chance at landing LeBron James, reports of a Bosh-Wade-James super team are deemed credible, Darko Milicic is offered a $20 million deal, Rudy Gay is considered a “max player,” and Drew Gooden of all people gets a five year $32 million deal, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that anything is “possible.” So stay with me on this for a minute on this…
Could the Hornets trade Chris Paul to anybody?
Seems possible. I say that because on NBA TV Thursday night David Aldridge said that it was, and he knows more than I do. Also Thursday, Chad Ford wrote on True Hoop the following:
“This week, a league source told me that the Blazers actually made some progress toward landing Paul. According to the source, the Blazers got close to a deal with the Hornets last week that would’ve sent Andre Miller, Joel Przybilla, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless and the 22nd pick to New Orelans for Paul and Emeka Okafor before Hornets GM Jeff Bower pulled out of the deal claiming that their owner wasn’t ready to trade Paul. The Hornets no longer need to trade Paul for financial reasons. The trade they made on draft night with the Oklahoma City Thunder got them out of the luxury tax, so that’s no longer the issue. The issue is whether Paul is now unhappy enough to force a trade. The Blazers believe he is and will continue to pursue a Paul deal. They won’t be alone.”
Then Friday, the Associated Press reported the following from Paul:
“Chris Paul says he isn’t interested in waiting several more years for the New Orleans Hornets to become a title contender. The 25-year-old guard says he loves New Orleans and holds his new coach, Monty Williams, in high regard. But he does want the Hornets to show their commitment to winning by upgrading the roster this summer.”
So a few things on all that. First, the reason given as a somewhat of a consensus as to why the Hornets would “not trade” Paul in recent days was that because now – after that draft night trade with OKC – the Hornets no longer needed to get out of the luxury tax. But now there’s this reported issue with Paul possibly being “unhappy enough to force a trade,” with people – the Portland Trailblazers – supposedly believing that he is that unhappy. So there’s that.
Then there’s also this idea of Paul wanting the Hornets to “upgrade their roster this summer.” How could they do that? They don’t want to spend anymore money, and they’re not far enough under the luxury tax to land a difference making star type free agent (assuming they’re even willing to spend anymore money to do so), and to top that off they already missed on Darko. A joke, but in all seriousness, the only substantial way for them to upgrade anything is to make a trade.
So then you look to Darren Collison. A budding star, with tons of potential, and even good enough for the Hornets to possibly say ‘you know what, we could move Paul for a ton more than we can Collison, we might take a hit in PR, and we will have a drop-off at that position, but how much of a drop-off might we really have?’ While there would certainly be one going from Paul to Collison, you could still look at Collison and say that he could one day – maybe even next season - be a top-10 to 15 type PG in this league. He wouldn’t be CP3 caliber to be sure, but could that type of drop-off be worth the risk of a possible move in return for substantial talent and cap space? And if you traded Collison - instead of Paul – could you package Okafor with him?
Could the Cavaliers offer enough to get Chris Paul?
Maybe not. But what if the Cavaliers offered to trade Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hickson, and Delonte West for Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor? It works over at RealGM’s Trade Checker, for whatever that’s worth. In thinking about this deal, I and don’t see how its that bad for either team.
If you’re the Hornets, Collison gets to start, Mo backs him up and could arguably be the type of guy that comes off the bench and contends for the 6th man of the year award. Anderson and JJ are valuable pieces up front, you can waive Delonte’s $500K guaranteed, and you rid yourself of Okafor’s contract as well.
For the Cavaliers – making the giant leap that LeBron returns (here’s hoping that power point presentation goes well Saturday) - you get the single best compliment of any player in the NBA to the on-court game of LeBron James in Chris Paul. Better than him teaming with Bosh, Amare’, Wade, or whoever else you wanted to try to pair him with. What are you left with if you are the Cavaliers? Well, Antawn Jamison I guess. After that, who cares really? LBJ and CP3 could turn any number of D-Leauge bigs into serviceable Mikki Moore type contributors (just like J-Kidd did for a couple years) because those guys will be wide open all season long. The Cavaliers could then build from there, and the possibilities are endless with those two guys in Cavaliers uniforms.
But in truth, I guess I’m getting way ahead of myself here with that last comment, and I think I’m just seeking a diversion from the circus that surrounds the IMG building these days with all this. Nevertheless, and correct me if you think I’m wrong, but the Mo-JJ-Andy-Delonte offer would be a better deal than Andre Miller, Joel Przybilla, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless and the 22nd pick of the draft, right?
Be back later this weekend with more on LeBron and his meetings with the Cavaliers and Bulls I suppose…all for now.