Last night, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that Chris Paul wants out of New Orleans.
The rumors about a possible Paul trade have been circulating and it seems Paul has finally grown too frustrated with the Hornets direction to stick out the next two seasons. After seeing what happened in Miami Paul wants to follow the LeBron James model and find himself some other superstar to play with instead of waiting for the Hornets to build a title contender. During his toast at Carmelo Anthony’s wedding Paul reportedly predicted he would team up with Anthony and Amer’e Stoudemire to form their own super team in New York, so this idea has been sitting with Paul for a few weeks now.
Matt Moore at CBS Sports list a few of the obvious contenders for Paul here.
On the list is the Orlando Magic, the New York Knicks, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Los Angles Lakers, and the Cleveland Cavilers. As you can see there is know mention of the Boston Celtics there. Simply put Boston doesn’t have what it would take to make a deal that makes sense for both sides. I’m assuming that any team that would trade for Paul would also have to take Emeka Okaford and his terrible contract as well. Plus, Rondo would have to be traded and I’m not sure that’s a deal the Celtics would really want to make given Rondo’s contract vs. Paul’s.
Update: Bill Simmons, via twitter, thinks the Celtics and The Rockets are the best matches for Paul. Simmons floats this trade idea out there, “Rondo + Sheed’s waivable deal + ’11 no. 1 + 3 mill for CP3 + Posey”. I have to admit, that’s kind of tempting.
Here’s a quick look at some of the possible destinations.
The Orlando Magic
It’s the perfect fit. The thought of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul playing together is just down right scary and the Magic have enough players to make the salaries work. With Paul in the mix, Howard could focus more on being the defensive and rebounding monster he is meant to be, while Paul can take over a game when needed and be the late game play maker. The Dwight Howard /Chris Paul pick and roll also seems like it would be the most unstoppable play in the NBA. Paul would also have a plethora of out side shooters with J.J Redick, Rashard Lewis, and Quentin Richardson to find on drives and kicks. Add in Okaford, while over paid, playing with Howard would give Orlando a terrifying front line defensively. In my mind, the move would make the Magic the clear favorites to come out of the East. Assuming that Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson would be part of the package sent to New Orleans the Magic starting five would be Howard, Okaford, Lewis, Redick and Paul. You are now free to pee your pants.
The New York Knicks
The Knicks want Paul and Paul wants to play for the Knicks and make his own super team with Amer’e Stoudemire and eventually Carmelo Anthony. That would be a hell of a team, but I don’t see how the Knicks can make this trade. The Knicks don’t have the assets to get Paul and take Okaford and the Knicks don’t have a good draft pick to trade. That means a third team would have to get involved. When a bunch a teams are going to be interested in Paul given how difficult three team trades can be, I just don’t see it happening.
The Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have the young talent that the Hornets would want back for sure, but I don’t know if they really have the salaries to make a good match. Plus, when Paul says he want to play with another superstar I don’t think he’s talking about Brandon Roy. Roy is great for sure, but it seems Paul might want to play with a bigger name.
The Los Angles Lakers
The Lakers with Kobe, Gasol and Paul might be a Celtics fan worst nightmare, but I’m really not sure if the Lakers make the deal. First, the Lakers would probably have to give up Bynum and Odom to make it work. That gives up a lot of the size that makes the Lakers so difficult to match up with. Second, when I imagine Paul, Kobe and Gasol playing in the triangle together, I just don’t like the combination. I think the Lakers are pretty much built as well as they could be and if you are not getting a great front line player for Bynum, I don’t see why you would trade him.
The Cleveland Cavilers
I’m sure Cleveland wants Chris Paul. I’m sure Chris Paul doesn’t want Cleveland… Moving on.
I’ll throw in two more teams ….
The New Jersey Nets
I’m sure Mikhail Prokhorov will be aggressive in trying to get Paul after missing out on all of the big name free agents. The Nets could work out a deal revolving around Derrick Favors and Devin Harris, you still run into the lack of a superstar issue that might keep the Trailblazers and Cavilers from being seriously involved. Brooks Lopez is up and coming, but not there yet. It would take a hell of sell from Prokhorov to bring in Paul.
The Oklahoma City Thunder
This one is just for me to day dream about. Paul and Durant are my two favorite non-Celtics and thinking about them tearing up the court on the same team makes me giddy. The Thunder has the assets to make the deal and the superstar in Kevin Durant. Add in that the great fans in Oklahoma City already have a connection to Paul from when the Hornets had to play a bunch of home games there after Katrina and you’ve got a pretty great story line. The Thunder might not be that interested breaking up their young core, but if you wanted to go all in, teaming Chris Paul up with Kevin Durant is one of the situations you would have to think about.