Take one insane free agent year. Add in a disgruntled superstar asking for a trade. And the finishing touch is a team that is willing to sit down with said superstar and discuss their options. Yes, you have all the ingredients for the Chris Paul “get me the hell out of New Orleans” saga.*
The rumors about Chris Paul and his trade demands have spread across the internet with the speed and veracity of a California wildfire. As reported by The Associated Press, “Chris Paul has requested to be traded and the New Orleans Hornets have scheduled a meeting with the star guard on Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation.”
Paul has provided the team a short list of teams that he would prefer to be traded to, including the Knicks, Magic, Dallas, Portland and possibly the Lakers.
So, how would each of those trade scenarios work? And what are the fantasy implications of a Chris Paul move out of New Orleans? Keep in mind that almost any deal from the Hornets perspective would have to include Emeka Okafor and his $52 million contract. One of the main points of moving Paul would be to clear cap space and give the Hornets financial flexibility for 2011-2012.**
New York Knicks
CP3 to the Knicks would be the easiest trade to accomplish financially. Since the Knicks are still under the cap, the trade does not have to match dollar-for-dollar. Donny Walsh has publicly stated that everyone on the team except for Amare is available (that must be great for team morale), however, most trade scenarios involve some combination of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph and the walking expiring contract known as Eddy Curry. On the other side, the Knicks could take on Emeka Okafor’s long term contract. The only constraints the Knicks have is that per league rules new addition Raymond Felton can’t be traded until December 15th and they cannot include more than one of their recent Warriors’ acquisitions in any single trade until December 15th.
Fantasy Impact: Paul joining the Knicks and D’Antoni would be a fantasy boon to his stats, if is possible for something that’s already awesome to actually get awesomer. In fact I’d say it would make him the number 1 overall fantasy pick again this year. He wouldn’t have much to work with on the Knicks other than Amare and possibly Okafor, which actually sounds a lot like his life now on the Hornets. But the up tempo style of play would mesh will Paul perfectly and he’d have the chance to work the pick and roll to death with Amare.
GMTR Rates this trade: 5 out of 5 Van Horns
The Magic might now be Paul’s destination of choice because they have a better chance of winning a title than the Knicks. But think about the horrible repercussions of this trade: The NBA would have two superpowers in the state of Florida. And does Florida really deserve that?
Orlando is not as flexible as the New York in terms of salary, so most of trade scenarios revolve around trying to match salaries and salary cap relief rather than swapping young talent. Vince Carter and his expiring contract would probably be involved, along with Brandon Bass, Marcin Gortat and draft picks. The Magic would try to involve Jameer Nelson in a deal since he would become expendable with Paul around, but Nelson has 3 years left on his contract and the Hornets already have a PG who would likely be better than Nelson in Darren Collison.
While Paul may prefer the Magic, I really don’t see how this would be the best haul for the Hornets. Expiring contracts, Brandon Bass and crappy fist round picks? Come on Orlando, you’ll have to do better than that.
Fantasy Impact: Paul and Dwight Howard would be good for half a dozen alley-oops per night alone. Everyone else on the team – including Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus, Q-Rich and Ryan Anderson – would benefit from Paul distributing the ball. It’s a lateral move for Paul in terms of his stats. He probably is asked to do a little less scoring and more distributing on the three-happy Magic.
GMTR Rates this trade: 3.5 out of 5 Van Horns
Mark Cuban is already all over this, not surprisingly. The Mavs unsuccessfully tried prying Paul away from the Hornets earlier this summer using Erick Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract. With that contract now gone in a trade for Tyson Chandler, Dallas is going to find it tougher to work out a trade. According to the Bleacher Report, the Magic still have “more than $20 million in expiring contracts, young talent, cash, trade exceptions, and first-round picks to offer.”
Those expiring contracts include Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, DeShawn Stevenson, and JJ Barea. However, Chandler couldn’t be traded until December. The only real young talent the Mavs have to offer is Rodrigue Beaubois. A trade involving these players would be an epic haul for the Mavs, but it would be pathetic for the Hornets. CP3 for Rodrigue Beaubois and cap space? Nice dream.
Fantasy Implications: I guess Jason Kidd is supposed to move to the bench in this scenario? I’m sure he’d love that. But Paul would have plenty of weapons to work with, including Dirk, Terry, Marion and Haywood. Paul would probably be asked to take less of a scoring role on the Mavs, but the assists would be great.
GMTR Rates this trade: 3 out of 5 Van Horns
Portland Trail Blazers
Before it fell apart at the last minute, the Blazers almost worked out a trade for Paul before the draft which included Joel Przybilla, Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless and the Blazers first round draft pick. Now with additional teams joining the bidding for Paul, the Blazers might have to sweeten the deal a little by including LaMarcus Aldridge or Greg Oden or Marcus Camby. The Blazers definitely have the young talent to make this trade happen; it’s just a matter of how much they are willing to give up for Paul.
Fantasy Impact: Paul running alongside Brandon Roy and possibly Aldridge, Batum, Camby and Oden? Yes please.
GMTR Rates this trade: 4 out of 5 Van Horns
The Lakers are in a position to offer up some high quality talent in return for Paul. However, it would likely be a tough sell since they would have to fundamentally alter a team that just won a championship. But to quote the great movie Tommy Boy, “you’re either growing or you’re dying, there ain’t no third direction.”
A Laker trade for CP3 would most likely involve Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic. Unforunately that means the Lakers would be trading away their great height advantage, which is a big reason they won the title this season. They also weaken their bench a good amount with the departure of Odom and to a lesser extent, Vujacic.
The Fantasy Implications: A lot of unknowns here. Paul doesn’t seem to be a great fit with the triangle offense and how much would Kobe be willing to play off the ball and let Paul control the game? The Lakers’ offensive scheme doesn’t seem like it would do Paul any favors, but people who know things think it would work.
GMTR Rates this trade: 1.5 out of 5 Van Horns
Just because your team is not on Chris Paul’s short list does not mean you can’t have some fun. Cue insane trade scenarios (c/o At the Hive for compiling much of this list)
Boston Celtics – Rajon Rondo straight up?
Cleveland Cavaliers – JJ Hickson, Mo Williams and picks for Paul and Okafor? Cavs fans are so defeated right now, they can’t even imagine it.
New Jersey Nets – Derek Favors for Paul and Okafor?
Los Angeles Clippers – In true Clippers’ spirit, Baron Davis for Paul, straight-up.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Ricky Rubio, Corey Brewer and picks? David Kahn would never do that, he probably thinks Rubio is better than Paul.
* Remember shortly after Katrina when Chris Paul and the Hornets were the feel good story of the NBA? Yeah, that love faded quickly.
** About a year after acquiring Okafor and the team is already trying to desperately move him. Well done Hornets.
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