Hornets Beat: Trading Chris Paul

Published: December 2, 2011

In this edition of Hornets Beat we tackle Chris Paul (no, not literally) and the potential for a trade. It’s not a topic any of us want to discuss particularly, but it appears that Paul and his agent do, so that’s that.

Joining us today are a number of internationally renowned basketball writers. Matt Moore, most notably from CBS Sports, the ESPN TrueHoop Network and Hardwood Paroxysm, doesn’t think we’re in for happy days ahead on the CP3 front. Zach Harper, the legendary host of ESPN’s Daily Dime Live and HoopSpeak, as well just about every other basketball site on the web, tells us that he wishes Paul would stay in Nola. Lastly, Jake Madison from Swarm and Sting gives his two cents.

Also, check out AgentZiko’s take on why we shouldn’t care where Chris Paul wants to be traded.

1.) Does the new CBA make it easier for the Hornets to keep CP3?

Matt Moore- Yes, because of the extra year on the re-sign, but no, because the best option for him is to opt-out regardless in order to re-sign. And if he’s going to opt out, how do you not hedge your bets in terms of building around him?

Zach Harper- Technically, yes. They can offer far more money and the extra guaranteed year for someone with Chris Paul’s presumed injury concerns is huge. With limits on sign-and-trades and what other teams can actually spend on him, it’s set up to convince Chris Paul monetarily to stay in New Orleans. But it’s rarely that simple.

Joe Gerrity-
Yeah, in a way. The problem is, they needed small market teams to dominate and they only barely came out ahead. This is the equivalent of needing to win a game by 20 to make the playoffs, but only winning by 3.

Jake Madison- We’re about to find out. The CBA limited the amount of money that Paul can get elsewhere, but Paul seems determined to test the limits of the CBA. The loophole of being traded to the Knicks without signing an extension can get him both the team he wants and his money.

Michael McNamara- They can offer him more money, but CP3 wants a ring so the extra year and $27 million is not going to keep him from going elsewhere if he doesn’t think he can win a title in New Orleans.

2.) Does Chris Paul even want to stay?

Matt Moore- Paul is of two minds. He loves New Orleans and the people whose lives he’s touched and who have touched him while there. But he is a member of a group of friends with a very specific agenda, to play in large markets against each other. And the business interests tip the scales away from New Orleans, unfortunately.

Zach Harper- I believe he absolutely wants to stay in New Orleans. But Kevin Garnett never really WANTED to leave Minnesota. He just accepted that for his career goals, it was time to move on to a better set-up and turn the page in his career. If Chris Paul doesn’t believe he can afford to spend more years waiting on the team, it doesn’t really matter if he likes playing for them.

Joe Gerrity- In an ideal world he would be a Hornet forever. In this world, he’s ready for a change of scenery. He loves us, but he’s not in love with us. We can still be friends, though.

Jake Madison- I think Paul genuinely loves New Orleans and would love to stay here, but you often have to separate personal emotions from business decisions. In the end, I think he’ll be happy anywhere as long as he is winning.

Michael McNamara– In his perfect world, I think Chris Paul would love to be in a situation like Kevin Durant is in over in Oklahoma City. He would love to stay in one city his whole career and contend for a title, but how do you convince him to stay on a team devoid of any other stars when all the other stars are teaming up?

3.) If you are Demps and Chris Paul has told you he is going to leave after this season, what do you do?

Matt Moore– I tell him New York is not an option, but that the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, or Los Angeles Clippers are all options. He can rank those in terms of his desire and whether he would commit to an extension (Orlando obviously not), and then I would pursue a trade before December 25th.

Zach Harper – I essentially call his bluff. If you get to the off-season and he still isn’t convinced to stay in New Orleans, you at least retain his sign-and-trade rights and can possibly still get some value for him. It’s a scary thought of him walking for nothing (if he decides it’s not about the money), but it’s not like whatever you acquire for him is going to help this team from dropping to the cellar of the league.

Joe Gerrity- Find out which teams he would sign an extension with, and what they would offer. Then I find out what teams who he supposedly won’t sign an extension with will offer, knowing he’s not guaranteed to sign with them. Whichever gets me the most young, raw players and draft picks win. I like the idea of a total re-build with a new owner. Fans can dig that.

Jake Madison-
Start working the phones and find the best trade possible. I ‘d love to see the team take a stand and let him enter free agency (causing him to lose the extra money the Hornets could offer), but Demps is probably too worried about getting nothing in return like Cleveland with Lebron.

Michael McNamara
– I find out what teams he is willing to sign and extension with and try to work out a favorable deal with those teams before moving on to teams not on his list. Hopefully, he has more than the Big Apple on his wish list.

4.) Who would be the best trade partner should Paul be moved?

Matt MooreI argued at CBS that the Orlando Magic actually provide the best combination of factors. The Hornets are never going to get anything resembling equal value. Getting a young point guard whose great but not Hall of Fame doesn’t help. The objective needs to be assets they can then flip to get draft picks, then tank to try and get the top pick in the loaded 2012 class, and go from there.

Zach Harper – It’s the Clippers. There is absolutely nothing of value that the Knicks can offer so if he insists on going there, I’d tell him if he wants to play in NYC, he needs to do so for less money than he can earn with the Hornets. While the Thunder are intriguing with Westbrook, do you think he’s going to sign an extension in Nola? I say pry Aminu and Eric Gordon while trying to unload a bad contract.

Joe Gerrity– It’s got to be the Clippers. Minnesota’s number one pick is huge, but especially because the Clippers can offer a number of players who aren’t good now (so the Hornets will still get a top pick next year), but will be later. That’s how you rebuild and keep the fans on board.

Jake Madison- If OKC were to offer Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and an extra pick or player I’d take that in a second. It’s not the same as having Paul on the team, but I’d sleep well that night (and be the first person to buy an Ibaka jersey the next day).

Michael McNamara- It is between OKC and the Clippers. With OKC, you can get a player who is already a star and could become a superstar in Russel Westbrook. A deal with the Clippers could result in a couple of premium draft picks (Minny’s pick and our own because we would be horrible this year after that swap). There is no guarantee that Westbrook would re-sign, nor is there a guarantee that he would be worth the max contract that the Hornets would have to give him. So give me a deal with the Clippers that looks like this- Kaman, Bledsoe, Gordon, Minny’s #1 pick and two future Clippers first rounders for CP3 and Ariza.

5.) Bottom line: How does this all play out?

Matt Moore- Not well. He winds up in New York, the Hornets get nearly nothing, and the effects are devastating. Sorry.

Zach Harper- I’d love to say that he decides to stick it out with New Orleans because I think it’s sort of a shame for him to leave. But I think he’ll end up on the Clippers by trade. Or he may sacrifice a lot of money to sign with New York. Either way, it’s back to the drawing board for New Orleans. Condolences.

Joe Gerrity- As much as I want to pretend that Paul is going to be here in a month, he’s not. Demps has 29 days or so left to find a suitable partner so Paul can get his max deal and the Hornets can start rebuilding. If I had to guess, I’d say he winds up on the Clippers. Demps has been known to find deals where nobody else sees them, though, so he might just surprise us all.

Jake Madison- It depends on if he’s dead set on New York or not. If he is it ends with the Hornets getting pretty much garbage in return. Assuming he is willing to go someplace else, then the Hornets could get a decent package of players and picks in return.

Michael McNamara- I think that Demps will play hard ball and threaten to go all-in on CP3, which will force Paul to agree to agree with extensions with teams other than New York. Demps will collect offers from everyone interested and at the end of the day, he will trade Paul and Ariza to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, and OJ Mayo (via Memphis). The Hornets will let West and Landry go and focus on the 2013 free agent class. Hopefully, by then they will have drafted well and go into that summer with Rondo, some budding stars, and 40 million dollars in cap room with the intent to lure guys like Kevin Love, Serge Ibaka, Eric Gordon, and/or Brook Lopez.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.