n. 1. a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts
n. 2. unconfirmed gossip.
These are all, in my view, plain speculation fueled by a free agent frenzy that the beloved ESPN media has created. Fact is, this free agent period has been quite anti-climactic. And with only four viable big name free agents, many teams looking to contend look elsewhere and that is where Chris Paul comes in. All these Magic, Trail Blazers, Knicks, Nets and other fans really need a reality check when proposing any trade for Chris Paul.
For many teams and their fans there is a generalization that is reached and a certain false perception on New Orleans.
"The team is in a small market, therefore they cannot win championships."
That's pretty false. We've seen it a lot in football, and we've seen it happen some in basketball as well (Spurs and Pistons, anyone?). Just because certain NBA teams are always at the top doesn't mean that we shouldn't hold out hope that our own basketball team can crack the system and make it eventually. If that's the case, why even have a 30 team league? And if that's the case, wouldn't there be a problem with the NBA system if the same teams are always winning? Not to David Stern, I guess, but that's a different argument for a different time. Furthermore, if you're arguing that the Hornets need to trade Chris Paul because they can't win, what sense does it make to trade him to the Nets and Knicks, who have two championships between them (both from New York) and that was in 1973, and who had a combined 41 wins between them, just above the Hornets 37, which they won with Chris Paul only playing in 45 games this season?
"The Hornets are bleeding money."
Again, that's false. It's true that the ownership transition has reached a stand still, mainly because of prospective owner Gary Chouest's financial revenue coming from the oil industry in the gulf while we all know that's not very profitable at the moment, but by no means does that mean the organization is scrambling to make ends meet. I figured the Morris Peterson trade would shut up a lot of those meaningless trade rumors but I guess I was wrong. The Hornets are, at this very moment, at the luxury tax line, so it kind of puts to rest these implications of the so called "Hornets salary debacle."
"The Hornets need expiring contracts."
Wrong again. The Hornets already have several expiring deals in Peja Stojakovic (15.3 million), Darius Songaila (4.8 million) and David West's opt out clause could be considered one as well (8.3 million). The free agent clear out by teams like the Knicks, Heat, Nets, etc. has already been done well before this offseason so if the Hornets want expirings for a free agent class next year that's very less promising, it makes little sense.
"The Hornets are going to be in trouble with the new CBA."
False again. If you look at point 3, the Hornets salary will be below the estimated 61 million hard cap in upcoming seasons so that puts those theories to rest. A hard cap is most certainly going to be instituted and will raise the salary cap from 58 million but will lower the soft cap from 70 odd million.
"Chris Paul doesn't want to be in New Orleans. He wants to play with his best friend LeBron James."
False about Chris Paul wanting out of New Orleans. He has never said he wants to leave New Orleans. The only time he mentioned the possibility of him leaving was if the Hornets organizational direction was not one headed for a championship. As for Paul wanting to play with LeBron, I'm sure it's true. However, who's to say LeBron doesn't resign with the Cavaliers and keeps plugging along with them? As well, I don't necessarily think Paul and LeBron would work well together as both demand the ball.
"Take Jameer Nelson, this pack of pokemon cards and a 30 dollar wal mart gift card for Chris Paul! It's entirely fair!"
Sorry, guys. You're not going to severely short change the Hornets in a deal like that. There's no chance the Hornets get equal value for a top five player in this league. Therefore, it's not only a dumb business move to do so when he still has two years, at least, committed to the Hornets, it's a dumb basketball move as well.
Chris Paul is the best poitn guard in the game and it seems to me that many fans are severely undervaluing Paul's worth if they believe they can get rid of a bunch of old, no potential, expiring players. Going into this offseason, I thought there would be more Darren Collison rumors than Chris Paul, but the devine and infinite wisdom of ESPN has intervened and cited no sources to back up any of their information in their wheelings and dealings.
Unfortunately, it's their audience that buys into any of the speculation they spew out and it becomes a snowball effect where it just gets bigger and bigger. The only way to stop it is one of three things:
1. The front office plainly states they are not trading Chris Paul.
2. The ownership of Gary Chouest is officially announced.
Point one has already kind of happened with Shinn coming out and saying in plain Englisih that the Hornets are not trading Paul. This hasn't deterred any of the large media outlets from continuing to dribble out their own false rumors that they have not cited, effectively negating any official statement the team makes.
But it's point 2 that I believe will finally shut all these things up. If Chouest comes up, is introduced, makes a statement saying he wants to bring championships to New Orleans now, as well as keeping Chris Paul for the long term then maybe, just maybe, people might realize that Chris Paul isn't leaving New Orleans for cheap, crappy players.
Point three really addresses the media directly. Winning solves everything. I know it's far too early to reach expectations and make predictions but if the Hornets just play winning basketball this season (with Chris Paul), then ESPN, TNT, yahoo.com and others will all shut up. Yes this is a business, but many need to be reminded that this is a basketball business and if your team is winning then I can guarantee your team will be profittable.
I guess at times like this, all you can do is laugh.