Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:33 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The surfacing trade talk surrounding Chris Paul just seems crazy . How could the Hornets just let go of their franchise player? How could they give up one of the best players in the league? How could they give a potential all-time great?
Sometimes, it's not about what the team wants. It's about what the players demands. In some cases, there's just no way to stop a runaway train. And regardless of how things go down in New Orleans, the Hornets aren't going to let Paul go for free. They want, they need , something worthwhile in return.
Not only do the Hornets need to make a substantial deal just in basketball sense to replace Paul, but they're at risk of completely losing their fanbase as well. Chris Paul is the New Orleans Hornets. They have to make some sort of deal that can be somewhat justified to the fanbase, otherwise this may be the second death of basketball in New Orleans.
Take Minnesota for example. Kevin Garnett was the face of the franchise for 12 years before finally asking for a way out that led to him landing in Boston. The Wolves received Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, a top-three protected draft pick (which turned into Wayne Ellington) and cash. How many of those players are still with Minnesota? Just Ellington who was taken in 2009. The Wolves still haven't recovered from the deal and honestly, no resurrection is currently within sight.
Another example of how things worked out better for a team departaing with their man was Toronto trading Vince Carter to New Jersey. In exchange, the Raptors received Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and two first-round draft picks (turned into Joey Graham and the second one was traded to New York) for their franchise player. The Raptors went the rebuilding route instead of trying to receive talent and though it took a little time, they recovered. Of course having Chris Bosh helped, but the point remains.
The thing is, the Hornets aren't going to be completely left floating aimlessly in the ocean if they trade CP3. Darren Collison had one of the most impressive rookie campaigns for a point guard in a while, and that was in a limited number of games filling in for the injured Paul. Last season Collison started only 37 games but averaged 12.4 points per game and 5.7 assists per game. He had 14 games with 10 or more assists and even dished out 20, 18 and 15 helpers in three games. For a rookie, that's quality stuff.
So the Hornets aren't looking to grab a point guard back in a deal. They need help on the inside since as Ken Berger mentioned, Emeka Okafor is going to most likely be included in the deal. New Orleans is a franchise that's always search for financial relief, so of course a hefty non-guaranteed contract (Erick Dampier cough cough) or at least a few expiring deals might suffice.
But they also want assets. Draft picks, and high ones at that. The Hornets are going to be left in rebuilding mode and likely can't sell their fanbase on a few expiring contracts and a a late first round pick. But they also need interior help and a scorer. Marcus Thornton has emerged as a candidate to potentially remedy the latter, but who can play inside for NOLA? David West? Julian Wright?
Even with Paul, the Hornets need help. The key in any deal sending the franchise somewhere else is that the returning package is the short road to rebuilding. A deal like what Matt Moore constructed involving Orlando is ideal . Some assets, an expiring contract and a couple quality players that can actually help on the floor in the near future.
The Hornets have two ways to go in a deal involving Paul. They can either be left the way Minnesota was, in shambles trying to find the new face of the team and scrambling to rebuild or grab assets and flexibility like Toronto and trust they'll find their way back.
Otherwise, the Hornets might not just be trading away Chris Paul, but basketball in their city as well.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:37 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:25 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
With Ken Berger's report that Chris Paul is adamantly requesting a trade , we need to start exploring the possibilities. The odds are substantially low that Paul gets moved despite his feelings, simply based on the extreme difficulty in packaging the necessary assets to convince Hornets management to pull the trigger. But with a player of Paul's stature on the market (whether his team likes it or not), we need to examine the possibilities. So who's a realistic candidate to make a move for CP3?
Orlando Magic: This one's been out there for a while. The Magic have the right combination of talent, contracts, and assets to maneuver into position for Paul. They can send back a versatile shooting point guard to help with the transition of Darren Collison. They can send Vince Carter and his expiring contract, along with a significant player at shooting guard to pair with Marcus Thornton. They still have draft picks in the can, have expendable players with talent like Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass. It puts an elite player next to Dwight Howard and matches the upgrade the Heat have made, and potentially gives them an advantage over the Celtics in terms of talent. The question would be if Paul could function inside the unique spacing the Magic employ, which primarily functions on a series of swing passes. There's no question he'd be dominant in the pick and roll with Howard.
New York Knicks: I know. I'm nuts. Hear me out. The deal could in no-way be cemented until December 15th, but the Knicks have Raymond Felton, Kelenna Azubuike, and a handful of prospects. They lack the ability to send draft picks thanks to the desperate firesale move they pulled with the Rockets, but the right combination of players might work. Wilson Chandler next to Marcus Thornton would give the Hornets flexibility on the wing, especially if the Knicks are willing to take on Peja Stojakovic's poison pill. That may be the Knicks' biggest asset: financial flexibility to take on the rest of the Hornets' ill-advised veteran figures. The pull for Paul? If the New York toast rumors were true, this would get him with the best player he's ever played alongside in Amar'e Stoudemire (with apologies to David West), in a major market, and would likely convince Carmelo Anthony to hold off on that contract extension. It's a pretty perfect scenario, which of course means it won't happen.
Portland Trail Blazers: If the Blazers want to get back into talk of being a title contender immediately, this could be their path to salvation. They have picks to move, a ton of flexible players at multiple positions, and Paul in Portland would be ridiculous. Paul, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge, with those centers down low? All of a sudden the Blazers would be within range of the title. The numbers, however, might be too much, especially with the massive amount of money they just tossed at Wesley Matthews. The Blazers would have to surrender most of the depth they've worked to acquire, along with at least one of their two top centers in order to facilitate a deal. But it would also mean a tremendous coup for the new regime.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Here's a stretch. Trying to convince Paul to go to the Ruins of NBA Pompei would be a tricky feat. But if you look at the roster, it might not be impossible. The Cavs do feature a team with depth, with Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson still on roster. They have some flexibility in the coming years. They need a hero, and they've shown they're willing to commit to spending. With Byron Scott on roster, who Paul has gone on record in support of multiple times, the Cavs could conceivably replace LeBron James with a new savior. They'd have to give up most of their most attractive assets and nearly everything they got from Miami. But somehow, if New Orleans was at all interested, I don't think they'd mind.
Los Angeles Lakers: Tremble, and be afraid, ye mortals of Earth. This is plausible, possible, and according to KB, one of the teams on Paul's list. The Lakers can send Andrew Bynum, a young stud center, and a handful of short-term contracts for Paul. Paul gets to play alongside the best team in the NBA in the most attractive market in the NBA. He takes the reins from Kobe and helps lead that team into what, three more titles? More? It's a terrifying possibility that would give the Lakers the one-up over the Miami-three. He and Gasol could work the two-man game, and in the triangle, well, okay, that's a downside. Chris Paul in the triangle is like binding a horse's legs. They're not meant to be constrained that way. Shooting corner threes is a waste of Paul's potential, and most of the ball handling isn't done by a point in the triangle. But somehow, playing next to Kobe and Gasol, Paul may not mind.
New Orleans Hornets: No, they won't be trading Paul to themselves. But you have to think this is still the most likely scenario (yes, we said that about LeBron James, too). Paul has been a major force in the community. That's going to tug at him. The Hornets just hired two representatives from the Spurs organization, who clearly have been part of winning environments. He can make the most money there, and has teammates he's gone to battle with. Mostly, though, it's hard to see new GM Dell Demps or head coach Monty Williams being willing to put themselves in a deep dark hole to start their run with the franchise. And trading Paul means a complete rebuild. Not the situation you want to embark on before you've even put your pictures up in your office.
But with the way Paul sounds according to KB, we may see the unlikely become reality once again this year.
So what is it that the Hronets need to get back? Royce Young tells us more on that one .
Posted on: July 21, 2010 1:23 am
Edited on: July 21, 2010 9:39 am
Posted by Matt Moore
After our own Ken Berger reported this afternoon , the Hornets have been dancing with San Antonio Spurs VP and Austin Toros GM Dell Demps for the majority of the weekend to fill their GM position. Marc Stein reports tonight that the dancing is done, and Dell will be hired for the Hornets' management position .
Demps brings a different perspective, combining pro experience with a development background, and having gotten his MBA to compete in the business aspects. He'll join Monty Williams in N'Awlins, a fellow Popovich-tree disciple. Demps is a strong believer in development, and has been part of a tremendous drafting and development program in Texas. The Spurs have consistently drafted well, regardless of position, and their D-Legue team has not only performed well record-wise, but has consistently produced call-up worthy talent, including Alonzo Gee, who was signed last season and lit up summer league.
Demps will have his hands full with a discontent Chris Paul, a roster that needs uprades at multiple positions, and young players that need to be kept on track. That's before we bring up the touchy subject of Julian Wright. The Hornets looked like a wreck two months ago, but with solid hires at the key positions in the front office, Hornets fans have a lot to be hopeful about.
Assuming Demps and company can convince Paul to stay, that is.
Posted on: July 19, 2010 6:00 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 6:02 pm
Posted by Royce Young
A quick rundown in video form of what's happening around the league:
Posted on: July 19, 2010 9:57 am
Edited on: July 19, 2010 9:59 am
Posted by Royce Young
Former Hornets general manager Jeff Bower lost his job because his shopping of Chris Paul reportedly caused some strain with ownership. But as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes , Paul is "open" to a trade and Bonnell sees Charlotte as a prime destination.
Besides citing the fact that Charlotte is near home for Paul who grew up in nearby Winston-Salem, Bonnell sees it as doable because of the Bobcats ability to offer both financial relief in Erick Dampier's unguaranteed $13 million salary, along with actual talent in Gerald Wallace, Gerald Henderson and D.J. Augustin.
If Paul sours on the Hornets and wants out, Charlotte definitely appears like it could be a prime destination. There's the Michael Jordan connection (CP3 is on the Jordan Brand and grew up in North Carolina), it's close to home and the Bobcats can reconcile the trade by giving the Hornets assets and cap relief.
New Orleans appears to be a mess right now with Bower recently being fired, team president Hugh Weber rescinding a contract to Luther Head for apparently no reason and oh yeah, the roster isn't very good either. So picturing CP3 demanding a way out isn't that hard to do. Owner George Shinn absolutely loves Paul and would probably fight to keep him, but with Shinn selling the team to Gary Chouest, things could change there. It's obviously all wild speculation at this point, but it certainly could become reality.
Hornets new head coach Monty Williams is planning to meet with Paul in the near future to discuss his status with the team. I'm thinking Williams will say something like, "Please don't ever leave me."
Posted on: July 13, 2010 6:55 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2010 7:08 pm
Posted by Royce Young
New Orleans GM Jeff Bower has been released by the Hornets, the team announced Tuesday afternoon . The team said Bower and the Hornets "mutually" parted ways.
Multiple others have put out more details with Adrian Wojnarowski mentioning that the team made the decision 7-10 days ago , but have waited on announcing it because the Hornets have used that time ot identify replacements. As far as early leading contenders, obviously Kevin Pritchard, Danny Ferry and Thunder assistant GMs Troy Weaver and Rich Cho will likely be in the discussion.
But Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman mentions one other candidate. George Shinn's son Chad.
"Chad Shinn, son of owner George, also has been grooming 4 a prominent pos. in the org," Mayberry tweeted . "Chad loves the basketball side & would love GM title. "
So what brought this on? Early indications are that Bower's willingness to shop franchise player Chris Paul caused tension between Bower and George Shinn.
The Hornets have been a franchise in an odd state of transition for the past few years. First, Katrina made them homeless until Oklahoma City temporarily housed them. Then they got really good and made a serious run in the postseason. Then Bower spent a lot of money on guys like James Posey and Peja Stojakovic and NOLA found themselves in some financial distress. Then they fired former Coach of the Year Byron Scott, Bower appointed himself coach and the team missed the playoffs. Which catches us up to today, where Bower is let go.
New Orleans is surely an intriguing place for a high-profile candidate like Pritchard, assuming the Hornets pay up. Any time Chris Paul is already in place as the cornerstone, the job of rebuilding gets a lot easier and more attractive. Just don't try and trade him I guess.
Posted on: July 12, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 1:16 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Typically wedding toasts include a funny story about the groom, some crude comment, some marriage advice or all of the above. Most times however, they don't include proclamations about new NBA superteams.
The NY Post's Marc Berman reports that at Carmelo Anthony's wedding this past weekend, Chris Paul grabbed the mic and started tossing around talk of a new Big 3, this one in the Big Apple.
Berman writes: "According to a person who spoke with wedding attendee Amar'e Stoudemire, Paul made the reference during a speech of a potential union of himself, Stoudemire and Anthony, saying, 'We'll form our own Big 3,' Paul allegedly said."
Of course "our own Big 3" refers to Paul, Anthony and newly signed Knickerbocker, Amare Stoudemire. And it goes without saying, some random wedding toast that may or may not have happened doesn't actually mean the Knicks can plan on their own Super Trio. But then again, who would've thought free agent summits and a supposed handshake deal in Beijing would give the Heat theirs?
A strange and unpredictable world, this NBA free agency is.
Posted on: July 2, 2010 1:58 am
All of the little free-agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.
Lot of little things going on.
As Ken Berger reported earlier , the Raptors came to an agreement with Amir Johnson for five years at $34 million. Johnson's super-young, super-athletic, and a defensive stalwart. He can't hit the broad side of a barn with a 12-guage, but it's not like offense is what the Raptors need to improve on. Considering the other moves made today, you have to wonder if Johnson's deal wasn't one of the shrewdest.
CSN New England is reporting that the Celtics are taking a good long look at free-agent Brendan Haywood as a replacement for Kendrick Perkins, who is out till December after knee surgery. After Doc Rivers came back to the fold, the Celtics turned their attention to upgrading their roster. Turning to Haywood is an interesting idea. Haywood is an older veteran, but still younger than most of the Celtics at 30, and fits their profile at what is probably a reasonable price. Of course, the Celts' biggest priority is getting Paul Pierce re-signed, as KB informed you they've begun work on .
The Nets are feeling pretty good about themselves after this morning's presentation to LeBron James. The sticking point? James will want help, and right now all of the other max guys have different ideas. Wade clearly wants to stay in Miami, Amar'e likes that idea as well, and who knows what Chris Bosh is thinking.
Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Suns are considering Hakim Warrick, which makes about as much sense as any signing you'll hear about. Warrick is a veteran with length and athleticism, with some years left in front of him. He doesn't play defense but can dunk pretty well. Sounds like just about your average Phoenix Sun, no?
Be sure to check back every thirty seconds, because that's about how long it takes for the pendulum to swing back and forth from "Dirk Nowitzki is totally looking at New York!" to "Dirk Nowitzki is going nowhere ."
ESPN's Chad Ford reports teams are still looking to try and nab Chris Paul. But the interesting aspect of this is that no one is talking about the Hornets' side. After trading Mo Peterson's rottting corpse last week to OKC, the Hornets areout of the tax. The biggest reason to trade CP3 is gone, and they have not said they'e considering trading Paul. Your crazy Chris Paul rumor of the moment? The Knicks may take a swing if they strike out on LeBron or one of the other max free agents. Good luck with that.
Rusty Simmons of the San Franciso Chronicle reports that the Warriors are in the market for a small forward after dealing Corey Maggette to the Bucks. Apparently Marvin Williams, Trevor Ariza, and Shane Battier are on the lists. Shane Battier on the Warriors is not only weird, but would be a tragedy to see his defensive prowess on the ole' Dubs.