Ranking the Assets

By:
Published: December 5, 2011

It’s time to be honest with ourselves and realize that it is a foregone conclusion that Chris Paul will not re-sign with the Hornets once his current contract has expired. He has given this franchise hundreds of brilliant moments, and can arguably be called the GHAT (Greatest Hornet of All-Time), but we will soon have to move on with Paul in the rear-view mirror. Unlike Cleveland or Toronto, however, it looks like we will be moving on with some assets.

Although Paul would love a chance to play with good friends Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire in New York, he knows that that simply cannot happen due to New York’s lack of assets. Instead, Paul is willing to look for a situation that will benefit both he and the Hornets. Several teams fit that criteria, but four have emerged from the pack as likely destinations for the GHAT. Boston and Oklahoma City have essentially taken themselves out of the running, choosing instead to stick with their own All-Star point guards despite Paul’s superiority. Both Los Angeles teams, Golden State, and the Atlanta Hawks are now considered the odds on favorites to land Paul. So it is time to more closely examine their assets, in order to get an idea of what the future of this Hornets team might look like.

Honorable Mention:

Lamar Odom, Monte Ellis, Joe Johnson

All three of these guys are good players, but they do not fit with the direction of this team for various reasons. Odom, because of age and a declining skill set; Johnson because of his massive contract; and Ellis because of the fact that he does not fit philosophy wise with what Demps and Monty are trying to build. What could happen with any of these guys, however, is that they can possibly be moved to a third team and that third team would give the Hornets assets more to their liking.

10. (tie) Eric Bledsoe (LAC) and Klay Thompson (GSW)

Both guys are young and could be ten year starters in this league. They could also be busts that never see a second contract once their rookie deal expires. Odds say they will both fall somewhere in the middle.

Bledsoe is just learning to play the point guard position in the NBA after having played off the ball at Kentucky. He has an impressive wingspan and does several things well, but nothing great. Next to his upside, his biggest plus is his contract, as he is only owed 3.3 million over these next two years. The Hornets would have a couple of years to see if he is a starting point guard in his league, and in the meantime he would serve as a more than capable backup.

Thompson can simply light it up on the wing and the best part of his game is that he can score in different ways. The Hornets have had one dimensional wing players for far too long, so Thompson would be a welcome addition. Like Bledsoe, Thompson would be on a rookie deal for the next couple of years and could come along slowly as the Hornets begin their rebuilding process.

9. Dorrell Wright (GSW)

Last year Wright finished third behind Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge for the NBA’s Most Improved award. Not bad company. Wright hit 194 three-pointers for the Warriors and set career highs in PPG (16.4) and steals (1.5). He also has a friendly contract, with two years and just under eight million dollars remaining on the deal that he signed just last year. He would be higher on the list if not for the small sample size and the fact that the Warriors offensive pace greatly exceeds the pace that the Hornets play. It is just not known if Wright can produce in a slower, more conventional offense.

8. Al Horford (Atlanta)

A 6’10 banger on a $12 million per year contract that is too big to play power forward, but too small to match up with quality centers night in and night out in the NBA. Tell me, where have we heard this before? Al Horford is Emeka Okafor with a more well-rounded offensive game. Any team that has Horford as a building block will have a quality player and a quality person, but they will have to find the perfect compliment to him in the front court in order to be a serious contender.

7. Al-Farouq Aminu (LAC)

Aminu came out in the same draft class as Bledsoe and showed some flashes as a rookie, including a 20 point performance against the Hornets that featured two geourgeous alley-oop dunks. He is still probably a year or two away from being a legitimate starter in the league, but his upside is tremendous on both ends of the floor. He will make a little over 9 million dollars in the next three years of his deal, giving the Hornets a young quality player at a price that will let them spend elsewhere.

6. Pau Gasol (LAL)

Gasol is the best player on this list, but he sits at number six because of his contract and his age relative to the other potential assets. Gasol is owed $57 million over the next three years and he just recently turned 31 years old. Neither of those things are good for a franchise looking to rebuild. Perhaps the Hornets go for it now, though. Is that out of the question? If they could find a multi-team deal that will get them a quality point guard back for Odom and they grab some wing players in free agency, they can easily compete with those pieces plus a Gasol/Okafor front court.

5. Josh Smith (ATL)

Smith is a bit of a headcase, and he has a knack for doing some pretty dumb things on the offensive end of the court. All that said, he might be the most naturally gifted player on this list. He is a game changer on the defensive end and he has steadily improved every year offensively. His contract is not bad and it’s not great, as he is owed 25.6 million over the next two years. Ideally, Smith would be a part of a three team deal in which the Hawks recieved another player (Monte or Odom) and the Hornets landed Smith.

4. Andrew Bynum (LAL)

If not for the injury issues, Bynum would be number one on this list. Then again, if not for the injury issues the Lakers would not entertain trading Bynum; not even for Paul. Andrew Bynum is the rarest of rare in today’s NBA- a true seven footer who can change the game on both ends of the floor. He and Dwight Howard are the only two players in the NBA who fit that criteria. But because of the injury concerns, Bynum checks in at number four on this list. If the Hornets could be guaranteed 75 games per year from Bynum, I think they would do this swap straight up. But they can’t, so they will ask for other pieces to protect themselves from his next injury, should it occur.

3. Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first round pick (via LAC)

Some people would put this higher, but I am not so sold on the fact that the Timberwolves will be terrible this year. They have an incredible amount of talent on their team and have incentive to make a move to try and win this year, due to the fact that they do not have their own pick. Imagine a scenario in which they can get somebody like Danny Granger or Iguodala for a Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley. Pair Granger with Love, Wesley Johnson, and Rubio and you have a team that could give anybody fits in this shortened season. Heck, as currently constructed they will be a headache.

But if the Wolves do suck again, you are looking at a top 3-5 pick in a draft that some say is as good as the 2003 draft class. Harrison Barnes, Anthony Davis, and Andre Drummond all can be franchise players, while there are 6-10 other guys who can easily be perenial All-Stars. Combine that with the fact that they will all be on rookie contracts, obviously, and this is one of the most enticing assets available to the Hornets.

2. Eric Grodon (LAC)

Gordon is, in some ways, the shooting guard equivalent of Andrew Bynum. As Kobe slowly declines, many say the title of second best shooting guard in the world (behind Wade) is there for the taking. And many believe that Eric Gordon can take it. Like Bynum, Gordon has been plagued by injuries and hasn’t quite shown how dominant he could be over the course of a season. Unlike Bynum, however, Gordon does not come with a gigantic contract that threatens to put pressure on the team’s cap. He will only cost the team 3.8 million this year, before becoming a restricted free agent next summer.

1. Stephen Curry (GSW)

Elite talent? Check. Cheap contract? Check. Tremendous upside? Check? Good system fit? Check. Son of a former Hornet great? Check. Steph Curry fits all the criteria for a player that Dell and Monty would target as the next face of this organiztion- both on and off the court. Curry could step right in at Paul’s old position and help this team transition to the next phase with his vast array of offensive skills.

Curry is not the player Paul is, but he is ahead of where Steve Nash was at this point in his career. Nash is the natural comparison because Curry is an elite level shooter who is getting better at playing the point guard position every year. Like Nash, Curry has a tremendous basketball IQ and a non-stop motor that will continue to fuel his development. Of all the players on this list, Curry is the most likely to reach the elite level that Paul currently occupies, and he is the least likely to fail. When forced to trade a talent like Paul, that’s about the best you can ask for.

52 comments
edbballin504
edbballin504

MM, Remember last year in the playoffs I won a set of tickets to any game of my choice this season? How do I go about making my selection? Thanks.

Hornetsky
Hornetsky

I say start the rebuild mode. Let paul walk away like lebron, at least it will be remembered as "we did not trade him, and he walked out on us" thing (not bitter here). Then we will suck on this shortened season anyway to positioned our selves for a high pick. Get rid of bad contracts and trade for high picks some more. Should have kept Darren at the point. Deym.

Blow It Up
Blow It Up

Hornets can't send Paul to Lakers whether or not it's the best return... If small markets are EVER going to compete, the lakers can't continue to have the most talented squad built through treating everyone else as farm clubs. Block trades to the lakers, or otherwise 24 small markets should withdraw from NBA and let six remaining teams survive on a 6 team 54 game schedule or whatever. I won't watch any NBA games if Paul lands w that team. No way, no how. Send him anywhere else, have some semblance of parity and get your franchise players through the draft and do a better job of roster building next time around.

NekiEcko
NekiEcko

I dont why people like dogging the Hawks for, but if you got two young talent that been in a league for a while now and have playoff experience only Bynum has more (but then you have to think that he played right beside Gasol and Bryant and his knees is weaker then paper) plus the wild card is Jeff Teague in this. From the same school as CPIII, he is more an off PG that is quick to the lane and good finisher around the hoop, plus he did a wonderful job vs the league MVP Rose in 4 of those 5 games in the playoffs, with limited playing time in the regular season. I know that Hawks management may not pull the tigger on this deal but atleast we are in the running.

jalil
jalil

Now I would jus trade cp to the lakers for pau gasol and then get the rockets to get lamr odom and send us kyle lowry. Then resign carl landry and sign a really good sg and a sf like mt5 and then we'll be set for now yes we can still use some upgrades by tra Lineup: PG kyle lowry jarett jack SG MT5 and whoever SF trevor ariza pondexter PF carl landry pau gasol C Emeka okafor (who can be traded) pau gasol Lots of size

HiMyNameisSteven
HiMyNameisSteven

Really Michael....no Deandre Jordan. I would put him at 3 or 4. In his young 20's. Legit seven footer extremely athletic and huge huge upside. Can't get much better than that

J
J

The Clippers Eric Gordon will not be part of any trade the Hornets would make for Paul that sucks.So the GSW are the best to offer a deal for Paul and Okafor.We would get Curry and Dave Lee he'll be the PF and get Gasol or Nene and Landry as the 2nd PF in the rotation we'll have alot of size in the frontcourt.

Warrick (GSW FAN)
Warrick (GSW FAN)

Don't think we'll throw Stephen Curry to you guys for a 1 season rental of CP3. Unless he signs an extension, there's no way he'll stay with us

Brandon
Brandon

Agree with your analysis. The flipside is of course the question of which of the teams vying for CP3: (a) would take him without a contract extension; or (b) will he sign a contract extension with. For my money, I think CP3 would definitely sign an extension with the Lakers, might sign with the Clippers or Hawks, but probably would not sign with GS. Would GS trade Steph Curry for 1 year rental on CP3? No. I think the Clippers actually make the most sense. If it's a good draft year, get Minnesota's pick, play the youngsters and you get potential, flexibility, plus 2 decent shots at the lottery. I really think striking gold in the lottery is the Hornets' best chance of getting a franchise calibre player. Most likely alternative gold-strike is Bynum, but I wouldn't bet against his fragility. Outside chance of striking gold with one or more of the Clippers' youngsters, but again, probably that Minny lottery pick is a better bet.

bee dat
bee dat

One name you failed to mention is deandre jordan, in sign and trade. I truly regretfully feel chris is out and clippers are best trading partner. Jordan gordon combo is nice. Def would like to see josh smith aboard tho he makes more sense were chris staying. He doesn't strike me as a leader for a young team. What do you suppose we could get for dwest in sign and trade? As for the so called sources, it's some brilliant pundits making a more brilliant deduction. If chris or team doesn't leak impending signing of his extension, the alternative conclusion is pretty obvious.

m-W
m-W

None of these players are even remotely worth trading Chris Paul for. Nor do I think we should give up on CP3. If this team signs good players and starts winning, who knows what he does?

☺

"Paul is willing to look for a situation that will benefit both he and the Hornets." You wouldn't say "a situation that will benefit he"; the correct phrasing is "a situation that will benefit him." Adding the phrase "and the Hornets" doesn't affect the fact that your pronoun needs to be in the object case. "Paul is willing to look for a situation that will benefit both him and the Hornets."

J
J

If healthy Bynum would be a great choice but if you choose Pau Gasol and Odom it'll be a great deal because you trade Okafor in the deal. Since theres no chance in the world of us getting Brook Lopez or Howard next season even if they save cap space. We can get Pau's brother Marc on this team,sign Glen Davis and McRoberts we'll have alot of size since Monty is a defensive minded coach we'll be more competitive.If they do this trade since i believe they will be planning on next season to get Westbrook maybe.

NOH Domination
NOH Domination

Bynum is sooo garbage. I wouldn't even entertain the thought of taking him especially combined with the thought of what else the Lakers have to offer. If I'm doing the deal I'm doing what I can to get Eric Gordon plus that Minnesota pick (even if Minnesota will probably be at the low end of the lottery this year) and trying to dump a contract or Steph Curry. Honestly getting Gordon plus having 2 lotto picks (ours being high and minnys being decent) would be a great start. Gordon, Harrison Barnes, and Sullinger would be nice.

Simon
Simon

I find it highly unlikely that a straight up trade is made for cp3 as no single team has enough of value. On that list, Curry is the only player who even comes close IMO. Even so, I think we could get him and a pick or him and maybe Dorrell Wright for a player like CP. And if GS sign cp I'll bet chandler would be happy to go there and play along side CP, Ellis and David lee. David lee makes a great (but still overpaid) 3rd option and chandler would be awesome making up for ellis on D. That's a pretty solid 4 and if they somehow managed to keep Wright. Awesome team.

J
J

Josh Smith is a bust and Horford is undersize the Hawks are overrated.GSW or the Laker have the better deals

J
J

I like the Lakers trade because Bynum wants his own team and it wont hurt us at all you also get odom,2012 frist rd pick and cash. This is the best trade right now because you get a franchise center,you get rid of Okafor horriable contract and rebulid this team with other pieces sooner rather than later.I'm happy that the Lakers would want Okafor in that deal with CP unless they're moving Okafor to PF and Gasol to center.

gameking84
gameking84

Wow whoever wrote this is delusional. Why the hell would Paul stay with GS,LAC, or ATL. He would be stuck in the same situation as now. He wouldn't sign an extension there. And until he says he will sign an extension there, none of those GMs would trade for him. It's your choice, let him walk for nothing and sign as a free agent with the Knicks, or give him to the Lakers and get back Bynum.

chiefyoungblood
chiefyoungblood

Golden State makes sense cause we all know their on that slick shit , trying to get whole band together .... bizarro hornets aka cp3 buddy team aka the golden gate connection

chiefyoungblood
chiefyoungblood

I'm not sure a team of our size coming off loosing their superstar can take the risk that comes along with Andrew Bynum, the Lakers deal all seem kinda limited cause frankly I don't see even Gasol and Odom being enough to really get a Chris Paul deal done but i'm finding myself more and more apart of the full blown rebuild crowd. I don't want anything to do with Josh Smith or Al Horford. Could be very interested in Aminu and Wright , Dorrell Wright is a massive Belinelli upgrade. And not to get started with a hypothetical draft but I am so bout Anthony Davis an 18 yr old kid , who was 8 inches shorter last year already playing so big in big spots , he's silky he works crazy hard, beats everyone end to end since i'm getting carried away i'll go ahead and call him an 18 yr old kareem abdul jabbar BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK .

James
James

Im hoping paul stays too, but if he dose not GSW is our best trade partner. Steph Curry has a lot of upside but 1. could we get paul to go to GSW? and 2. Would Curry resign with the hornets when his contract is up?

Hallonius
Hallonius

This is the first I've heard of a GS trade, and I like it. I moved here from the Bay, and people there are pretty sure that Steph Curry is the cornerstone, so they would have to get a commitment from CP3. They have a lot of good parts and are really close so GS could be appealing to him. Also there is a great chance that they could reunite Chandler with CP3. Hopefully we could pull Steph and Dorell Wright, plus somebody's fat contract. Maybe even a draft pick too. Steph Curry is the truth.

504ever
504ever

If this list is all we can get for perenial All-Star Chris Paul, then that is sad. Look at the haul Denver got for Melo, and I think Paul is a better player than Melo. I expect the Hornets to get a basket of young players, maybe with an old guy in the last year or two of his contract. Golden State has a lot of parts to offer, so they appear to be the best trade partner. Also I can easily see this being a three team trade, which really opens up possibilities. But why would Chris leave NO for a worse team, when he can stay here and practically be the GM on a team with only 6 signed players? The Lakers are the best team on his list but they have no assets we (or anyone would) want. Atlanta is similar to us in terms of talent and market size, but also have no assets we (or anyone would) want. If Chris doesn't resign with us or get traded soon, he loses a ton of money. That means the Hornets have leverage here, too. I am not buying the CP3 is gone theory yet.

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

Why would CP3 even consider GS? That's a very minor upgrade if any at all. As far as the list that pretty good. I'm in the camp of keeping Paul. But if we can get a combo of things I can see pulling the trigger.

SG-Bob
SG-Bob

I agree with the rankings for all but one, i would switch the min draft pick with eric gordon. eric gordon is due for a rase, he is not superstar tallent. he is a great second fiddle. but the min pick gives us a chance to get a superstar in what many consider the best draft class since dwight deron cp3

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I am pleased and surprised by your Aminu rank. I think more highly of him than most. I feel less goofy after seeing this.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I'll handle that, edbwinnin. I'll email you.

aiyahhhhh
aiyahhhhh

you are now the dumbest human in america.

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

I totally Agree with you which is what I've been saying, and once again anything in my comments that mentions trade scenerios for Paul in my previous comments are only points of trading him if CP3 wants to leave, but Overall I definitely want him stay. If we make the right trades, sign the highest players on Potential not Money, stop it w/ that its all about DEFENSE philosophy crap and focus on getting a real team together. remember this year is not about Money, its about Convincing Paul that we can be championship contenders, and if the Hornets really want to go for a Championship they Need to take to their other Sports Counterparts The New Orleans SAINTS on what it will take to put a championship team together!!!! remember the championship MOTTO, and it goes for every sport not just Football,"OFFENSE WINS GAMES, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS." if you don't believe me look at the NBA Finals defensive Stop-Stumper Dallas VS Offensive Juggernauts Miami. Who da Champs and Whos walks away saying "Maybe Next Year."

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

There is one fault in your logic. This is NOT about winning. This is about CAA, LeBron James, Leon Rose etc. This is about being Hollywood. This is about being recognized. This is about All-Star team vs. All-Star team bragging rights. Etc. He's gone man. My vote is Gordon+Minny's pick personally but I will take Curry/Wright also. I'd also like to see Okafor shipped out in any deal. We can sign a Gasol/Nene for about 1-2m more than an Okafor.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

You are correct and wrong. Correct in the grammar; wrong in that you failed to also discuss anything about basketball, which is the point here. I'd love to get your opinion on Mike's thoughts.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

I don't want Bynum either. Dude has no heart, no desire to play defense, and most importantly, no knees.

NOH Domination
NOH Domination

Busts do average 10/7/1 with a block and half a game over an average of 50 games a season however.

Simon
Simon

Busts dont average 16/10/4, 2 blocks and 1.5 steals a game.. If he grows a brain he'll be a top 10 forward. And im including both forward positions here..

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

too bad on that deal, and won't work b/c The laker are not interested in nobody but CP3, and Dwight Howard. yea thats right not "OR" "AND", but although this would set them up to get Dwight Howard as if they get Okafor first w/ this deal. then later on or right away they trade Big Oak w/Gasol, cash and Derek Fisher and get DH. "OMG I'm a Genius."

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

Not actually true! do you know how much of a threat CP3 brings to a team. If by any chance of all he goes to GSW. i guarantee you GSW will back in effect!! even if we trade CP3 there and we get Stephon Curry, david Lee, and a draft pick for CP3. they would out rank us because they still ME8, D.W. (ha ha Arthur), CP3 , and then that would bring a even more threat towards them b/c now Tyson Chandler definitely has a reason to go over there. with CP3's leadership and influence ME8 scoring ability, T.C.'s Defense, and D.W.'s Balance at offense and Def. that team can be a threat towards the current Champs Dallas Mavericks!!! plus they still have some good bench scorers!!!

Simon
Simon

Same situation with LAC as here? Have you heard of blake griffin and deandre jordan? Not to mention aminu if he's not part of the trade.. Imagine cp3 lobbing passes to both of them. HUGE!

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

What parts? Ellis who they were and very well could still be shopping around? David Lee who's solid, but isn't better than David West. Udoh, Wright, Amundson, R.Williams all just role players. If your going to break camp sorry this isn't the team you do it for.

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

I like the way you think!!! Leverage huh! hahaha evil smurk!!

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

I'm with you on that, but there's only one reason why paul would consider going to GSW........ Tyson Chandler. I guess he figures "if I can't be with my friend Melo, don't look like my best friend D. West is coming back, and I heard T.C. is going to GSW. guess I'll head there. We can't let this happen! it will be my dream team come true on other team! to have CP3 w/ME8 and T.C. along D.Wright, and others. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! besides if he do go to GSW and play well w/ME8 that would prove that I was right all along forming those two together!!!

Eman5805
Eman5805

I'm with ya. Maybe it was his huge games against us personally, but I liked what I saw when we played him. Dude has potential to be Wilson Chandler, but better.

Nola Jake
Nola Jake

Completely agree. I was big on him last year. His potential is huge.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Chris Paul isn't the only one who needs lotion for a burn!

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Settle down. He's not the `dumbest' human in America. This is a vast country with great resources, including 300 million people. That's a big number. I will not have you disparage this country by trivilizing the level of idiocy America can produce. Made in the USA, baby. How about tell us why what he said sounds like something that one of the dumbest humans may sound . . . dumb kinda means unable to speak, at least clearly, so they wouldn't sound like much, especially in writing . . . but you know that, right? Of course. Stick to the basketball. And thanks for writing.

aiyahhhhh
aiyahhhhh

Nice hyperbole. Although Miami is an offensive juggernaut team, they're defense is right up there with Dallas and etc. Miami are ranked 6th in opposing offense with 94.6 ppg during the regular.

NOS-3rd Gen
NOS-3rd Gen

This last message was towards GAMEKING84!

gameking84
gameking84

Yea because Lobs are what win championships.

Trackbacks

  1. […] (blog)Paul-to-Lakers chatter growing as offseason discussions heat upSI.comProject Spurs -Hornets247.com (blog)all 41 news […]

  2. […] The most likely team to acquire CP3, the Warriors, will reportedly offer Stephen Curry, Ekpe Udoh, and Klay Thompson as primary pieces of a deal regardless of whether or not their ownership is guaranteed that Chris Paul will re-sign. As Michael said, the Hornets are and should be very high on Curry. […]