It’s Tomorrow for Hornets Fans: Time to Think About Chris Paul

Published: November 27, 2011

On Saturday Michael wrote about how great it was that a new CBA has been agreed upon by the Players and Owners, who will now be collectively known as the NBA. One problem? It doesn’t help the Hornets keep Chris Paul. Let’s review.

  • No hard cap (or anything even close)
  • Luxury tax penalties will start to count in the annual tally (with increases for being over regularly), but will not drastically increase in terms of actual penalties either this year or next.
  • No franchise tag or anything similar to particularly further incentivize free agents to remain with their most recent team.
  • The amnesty provision provides no obvious path toward improvement for the Hornets even if money were no option, but allows other teams to free up room for Paul.

One might argue that because the rules for extend-and-trading players are a bit more strict, that the the Hornets are at an advantage to re-sign Paul, but the reality is that they really just have less of a window to make a trade, and likely less leverage as a result since there are more restrictions for the recipient of Paul if they were to wait until after the season to get something in return. Let’s review the rules as per the new tentative CBA:

Extension-and-trades permitted, except maximum length of any such extended contract is 3 years (e.g., 2 new years if player during last year of his old contract) and max annual increases are 4.5 percent. If a player signs a contract extension for a longer period or higher amount than would have been permitted for an extension-and-trade, then the team is prohibited from trading the player for a period of six months following the date of the extension. If a team acquires a player in a trade, then, for a period of six months following the date of the trade, the team is prohibited from signing the player to a contract extension for a longer period or
higher amount than would have been permitted for an extension-and-trade.

So while it’s great news that the NBA is back since it means that all the momentum the Hornets organization has built won’t be for naught, but don’t think for a second that this CBA does anything significant to help us retain Paul other than further increase the viability of New Orleans as an NBA market. It’s not bad news per se, it’s just not what some of us were hoping for.

I imagine that Dell Demps is among the crowd who is less than completely satisfied since it’s quite literally his job to deal with the implications of this deal. Still, it’s doubtful he will have many bad things to say about a CBA that allows him to do what he loves, especially considering how optimistic he seems to be.

A wise man once told me that optimism breeds opportunity, and despite what many of us will paint as a rather gloomy picture, Dell has the potential to build something special in New Orleans. You can bet that today he’s thinking about whether or not Chris Paul is going to be part of it, just like you and me.

Late update- FYI, if Paul were to hit free agency the Hornets could offer him one year and 27 million more than anyone else. It’s an advantage, but Paul’s not exactly hurting for money. Still, hard to walk away from that much cash.


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