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The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 10:36 am

By Matt Moore

Here we are, once again. A small market team reportedly held hostage by their franchise player All-Star and his desire to be traded to the specific team he wants, or else he'll simply depart the home team in free agency, leaving them with nothing. Carmelo Anthony hijacked Denver's season last year, and now Chris Paul is reportedly in a position to do the same to New Orleans. Except when Anthony applied extortion to get his way to Broadway, the Knicks actually had assets to trade to Denver, including Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and Raymond Felton (who eventually became Andre Miller and a pick).

The Knicks now? Not so much.

The Hornets face an impossible position shold they elect to trade Paul. The teams that have the kind of assets to make the trade worth it if Paul elects to state he will only sign with the Knicks (which as Ken Berger notes, he has not done yet) have the kind of market cache to not need to make such a desperate move, or have no shot at a championship and therefore no reason to risk it all.

A team with young players and picks won't waste them to rent Chris Paul for a season, only to watch him walk out the door. After all, there's only one New Jersey Nets out there. (Kidding, Nets fans! D-Will says you're still under consideration!) And teams with superstar talent like Boston or Los Angeles don't have to gamble to win a title. They can just wait on the next superstar available (or just go after Dwight Howard).

So as it stands, the Hornets have no alternative. They'll just have to take whatever the Knicks are offering. There's talk of just letting Paul walk to avoid the embarrassment of taking on the Knicks' garbage heap, but that's nonsense. You don't accept a loss when you can have a gain. Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas and a pick in 2045 is better than nothing at all.

But... there is another option. It's outside the box. You're going to think I'm nuts. And I'm not prone to posting about trade ideas. There's another site with a trade machine. You can fill your day with moving every player in the league. Everyone partakes from time to time. But this concept? It's the best possible move for both teams.

Orlando needs to trade for Chris Paul.

Hear me out before you close this browser as fast as humanly possible.

The Magic have every reason to trade for Chris Paul without the promise of an extension. With no consideration of the extension, there's nothing to hold up a deal. The Magic are facing the same cliff the Hornets are, staring down the barrell of Dwight Howard's big-market shotgun. They are burdened with pieces which hold no value once Howard is traded. If Howard leaves, they will wind up with a huge amount of salary and no superstar, a terrible team with a supporting structure holding up nothing. They have two options. Win a championship this year or give up and trade Howard for nothing now. Even a move for Andrew Bogut as Berger has said will be discussed won't keep them in title contention. That's what Howard means to a team. That's what an MVP candidate means.

So the only thing left, as the movie quote goes, is to win the whole friggin' thing. (OK, that's not the line, but it's a family site.)

The Magic would trade some combination of Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, Daniel Orton, and Jameer Nelson to the Hornets for Paul, along with a first-round pick in 2012. That's right. The Magic could lose both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul for 2013 and have no first-round pick. Disastrous-sounding, I know. Here's why they do the deal.

Here's the best case scenario. Howard and Paul,playing with another star, the best at their position, along with the supporting pieces in Orlando which would still be better than what the Knicks are likely to trot out onto the court (I'd like to remind you that Jared Jeffries started at center in the playoffs for the Knicks), would likely have the best seasons of their careers if healthy. Versus the trio in Miami or the duet in New York, Howard and Paul are a combination of players who actually mesh together. The best pick and roll center in the league with the best pick and roll point guard. A hyper-efficient perimeter shooter with a center who draws doubles every time on the block. A ball-hawking point guard who can create steals and the best defensive presence in the league. It may not be better than Miami or L.A., but it would be a force to be reckoned with. One season to make a run at the title.

This is the reality of the new NBA. If you want to win a title as a small-market, you have to find lightning in a bottle. Maybe there's no way to even that gap thanks to the inherent draws of bigger markets with more flashbulbs, television appearances, parties and endorsement offers. But if you don't have a once-in-his-lifetime talent and get absurdly lucky along the way, this is your best shot. Mortgage everything on one season.

If it works, and the Magic take home the title, the Paul and Howard will have gone through the transformitive process of winning a title together. Fans in Orlando will worship them. Howard will have done what Shaq never has. And they'll be staring at the possibility of not playing together next year. Even if that's not enough to get them to stay, it'll make them think twice. It's Orlando's best shot. There can be no more "really, Dwight, we'll get it right next time" with Howard. His patience has run out. If they don't win the title, there's no chance he returns. There's little chance even if they do, but it's their best shot, and if they win the title, they get that forever. You can't take that title away from the fans, away from the franchise, away from the team.

And if it doesn't work, if they don't win the title? That's over $34 million in cap space expiring for Orlando. Along with the amnesty of Gilbert Arenas, that's $54 million. That's nearly the NBA salary cap they would be gaining in cap space. The typical response to that is "what does it matter, no one will sign there." From that point on, the objective is not to bring in free agents, it's to rebuild through the draft. That 2012 pick missing is a problem? Not really, because Paul and Howard could give 50 percent effort (something they would never do) and still win 40 games, even in the East. The Magic won't have a lottery pick regardless. Which means the pick holds no value to them, but quite a bit to New Orleans. The Magic would be in premium position to tank in 2013, then rebuild through the draft. It's not appealing. You know what's less appealing? Trying to rebuild with Andrew Bynum's decision making, knees, contract, and nothing else. The key when your title run is over is to start over as completely as possible, as quickly as possible. This plan lets them out.

But what about New Orleans? Jameer Nelson, with $15.6 million remaining over two years? Brandon Bass with $8 million? J.J. Redick with over $12 million? What's the upside for them, along with a pick that won't be good? For starters, it's better than what they'll get from New York. It lets them avoid being bullied by the Knicks for nothing. And it's not about what those players give the Hornets, it's what they bring individually on the market. A team in need of a power forward who can score? Bass is a great pickup for a cheap draft pick and an expiring. Teams in desperate need of a shooter? J.J. Redick. Starting point guard gone down with an injury? Call up the Hornets. Jameer Nelson is on the block. It's a flip project. You don't get the pieces to start over, you get the pieces you can use to get the pieces to start over. It's the best way to do exactly the same thing the Magic would be doing. Tanking to start over and hopefully get that All-Star Hall of Famer who doesn't adore the bright lights.

This lets them both out of the pain, it gets the gun off of them. It gives them the dignity. Orlando gets to contend for one more year, the Hornets get to start moving forward now. The Magic go all-in, the Hornets fold and save their chips for a time when the flop doesn't come down so wretched.

Big markets are squeezing the talent out of small markets. But those small markets get to decide how it goes down.

Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:48 pm

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

Why does allow this hawking message to go on a serious website about the NBA? What about bad messages being blocked?

Since: Nov 16, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 2:55 pm

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

Who cares !!!!! Owners should have kept the lock out on. ... the Nba Sucks and is only going to get worse

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 2:32 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Oct 24, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2011 2:06 pm

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

A) I would love to see something like this happen. It could be a wild ride that would make the Miami 3 look even worse. Even if it blew up, it would be a wreck worth seeing and, therefore, be a big revenue generator. B) Probably won't happen cause they won't have the balls to make this kind of bet. But it would be fun to see.

Since: Sep 27, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 12:15 pm

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

You mean no state income tax, there is sales tax.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:48 am

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

D Rose+Howard+Doesn't matter= Multiple championships. Man, I would love it.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:12 am

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

Paul to Howard......... Reminds me of the Penny to Shaq days. I think I would roll the dice on it. But being a Bulls fan, I would love for them to take Boozer off our hands, even if it means losing Noah and Gibson.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:38 am

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

Totally agree with this article with one exception. Free agents WILL come to Orlando. They have in the past. Tracy Mcgrady, Grant Hill, Rashard Lewis. At the time, alll of these players were in the top 2 or 3 free agents coveted by all teams, and they chose Orlando. And they almost got Tim Duncan. Great weather, no sales tax, new building, ownership willing to spend. They will continue to get the free agents.

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:31 am

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

People talk about blowing up the team, as in the case of the Orlando experiment if Paul and Howard were both to walk.

I don't understand how you could tank and rebuild with the new 90% cap floor. If you were to field a team costing you $50M in the eastern conference, you could probably have a good chance of making the playoffs. So what are you gonna do, put a bunch of players on 1 year deals and overpay the crap out of them?

Okay, so Jameer Nelson $8M, Kwame Brown $10M, Kenyon Martin $10M, Nazr Muhammad $10M, etc. etc. The free agency class of 2012 is going to be a good one, even without Paul/Howard. Cap space is a good thing to have regardless, but I would like to know how a team can make a salary floor while trying to nuke the season and get high lottery picks.

Since: Nov 30, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:31 pm

Magic should trade Howard to Bullls for Noah

Howard to Bulls for Noah, Gibson, (2) 1st round picks
Magic start young with 2 front count players

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