NBA / Jul 26, 2010 / 2:30 pm

Why The Hornets Should Trade Chris Paul

Chris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

Chris Paul said on Twitter today that he wants to represent the Hornets and New Orleans for years. While Paul said that immediately after his meeting with the Hornets’ brass, his frustration with the team is clearly growing, and I think his comments recently have set the wheels in motion for him being traded. Paul is arguably a top-five player in the League, and although loved by teammates and fans alike, New Orleans would be smart to trade the face of their franchise.

As you could imagine, the move would be incredibly unpopular. “I think trading a star is always a terrible idea because you can never get equal value,” says Sarah Tolcser of HornetsHype.com. “I have yet to see a trade I would say yes to. They’re all junk. This is a top-five star we’re talking about, and if teams want to send their expiring scrubs, I doubt the Hornets will give them a callback.”

However, despite the backlash that would result from a trade, moving CP3 (for the right package of players) is something that needs to be done for the long-term prospects of the franchise. Here are the reasons why the Hornets need to pull the trigger on a deal:

1. Having Paul around will damage chemistry and undermine new coach Monty Williams
Paul is one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA, and it is his unrelenting will to win that is at the root of his desire to be traded to a contender. With Paul making headlines about his request, and clearly doing nothing substantive to show he wants to stick around any longer, it does not bode well for the collective psyche of the team. If your star player doesn’t want to be there, it has a trickledown effect into the locker room. As a Nets fan, I had to suffer through Jason Kidd‘s trade requests which sabotaged our 2007-08 season, and the Hornets will suffer the same fate. Also, with a new coach on hand – especially a first-time head coach – Paul’s lack of interest in playing for the Hornets will undermine Monty Williams and damage the credibility and authority he looks to build in the locker room. While I suspect that if Paul sticks around in N.O. he will play his hardest when on the floor, but for a young team with a young coach, having a disgruntled star around is not an ideal situation.

2. The Hornets can’t win with their current roster, even with Paul
This incarnation of the Hornets roster peaked in 2008 with their Western Conference Semifinals loss to the Spurs. That team was on a mission, playing their first full season in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and had young, healthy players who played with energy that could match Paul’s. While many of the players on today’s roster are the same from that season, their abilities on the court have significantly declined. David West appears overmatched as a number two option, Peja Stojakovic‘s body is falling apart more by the day and Julian Wright has yet to prove he can do anything other than leap. Add that to Emeka Okafor and an aging James Posey and you have a very meek supporting cast. While Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison have emerged as guys that can play, their presence can only get the Hornets so far (i.e. maybe sneak into the playoffs as the eight seed). This team has no chance at an NBA title and Paul knows it, and winning matters so much to him that this roster won’t cut it anymore.

3. The ownership limbo limits the Hornets’ potential for moves
George Shinn is notoriously one of the worst owners in professional sports. He single-handedly destroyed the Hornets’ tenure in Charlotte, and has a reputation for being cheap and hard to deal with. Shinn is trying to sell the team, but complications with his sale to oil magnate Gary Chouest limit the front-office’s ability to make moves. With the ownership situation in limbo, and Shinn trying to keep costs low to better his chances at getting the sale done the Hornets can’t bring in salary (meaning they can’t get the star players Paul wants). Evidence of the crippling effect that Shinn’s current status has on the team is his reneging on a deal the team had with Luther Head. The team says Head failed a physical, but multiple sources have reported that was a cop-out so the Hornets didn’t have to add his salary.

4. Paul’s value will never be higher
Paul is 25 years old, and entering the prime of his career. He also happens to be healthy at this time, which is something the star has struggled with during his career. Paul is very small, and always goes at full-speed, so there is a decent chance of injury if the Hornets decide to keep him. Many times you can never get equal value for a player of Paul’s skills, but in this case most NBA teams will be willing to develop a package of any type to get Paul. I can realistically see the Hornets getting two first-rounders, an up-and-coming young player (i.e. Jerryd Bayless or Jameer Nelson), and a solid starter for Paul. With the Hornets being unable to meet his demands for a championship team, they should hoard assets that help them for the future, which brings me to my next point…

5. The Hornets can’t realistically compete in the Western Conference for the next three years
Not only can’t the Hornets compete this season in the West, but they won’t be able to compete for the next few seasons either. Sure, the Hornets can get in to the playoffs as a low-seed and have an unceremonious first-round exit like they had against the Nuggets in 2009, but is that what you want as an NBA team? The Lakers are still top-dog in the West, the Thunder, and Blazers are young teams on the rise, and teams like Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, and Denver are way ahead of the Hornets in talent and resources. With their current roster, and inability to bring in high caliber stars, the Hornets will remain on the periphery of Western Conference playoff contention for the next couple of seasons.

6. They have Darren Collison
Obviously, Collison is not Chris Paul but he has the makings of a very good NBA point guard. He was very impressive when he had to fill in for Paul last year, and is an excellent defender with quickness like Paul. Collison needs to be an NBA starter to maximize his potential, last year he proved that. Having Collison play 10-15 minutes a game backing up Paul would be a waste of his talents, and I’m sure the Hornets know that. Maybe the Hornets can try playing both together but I don’t see that combination working too well. The Hornets could trade Collison but it likely would only net them another promising young player, which wouldn’t be nearly enough to satisfy CP3′s demands.

7. Trading Paul means getting rid of Emeka Okafor
I still don’t understand why the Hornets traded for Okafor last year. Tyson Chandler was a better fit for them, and for less money. Now the Hornets are stuck with Okafor’s massive contract (four years and $52 million), and a player who appears to have reached his maximum potential in this league. By trading Paul, the Hornets can force another team to take on Okafor’s contract (some teams may be willing to do so, as he is a player who can help winning teams), and gives the team more flexibility moving forward.

What do you think? Should the Hornets trade Chris Paul?

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  • NTstateOFmind

    they shouldn’t trade him just to set an example to the league that these players dont control the organizations that they play for …they make an obligation (sign the contract) and now want to back out- F that.

  • OneZero

    blake + bynum + sasha = Paul + Okafor

    is it possible??

  • That’s What’s Up

    If your girlfriend is a whiny, pain in the ass are you going ask her to marry you and commit long term, or would you just start looking for a new one?

    This bitch needs to go.

  • NTstateOFmind

    LOL @ #3

    good point.

  • http://hornetshype.com ticktock6

    To clarify on why I believe expiring contracts won’t interest the Hornets as much as people seem to think they will:

    Hornets have $20M at least in expirings for next year already. What would they want with more? Imagine having $35+M in expiring contracts and being way under the cap, but with no star in New Orleans who wants to come there? Hornets will want young pieces more than expiring contracts. For the reason I just mention I doubt they plan to build through free agency, being a small market team. They are always forced to overpay.

    If you look at their current salaries you’ll see why I say this. Their overpaying free agents in the past is what has limited their roster moves for 3 years. Small markets just can’t build effectively through free agency.

  • JZ

    agree with basically everything on here – great write up

    the most important points being: his value will never be higher, and they have no shot of beating a Kobe-led Lakers team. period. so start over, wait for Kobe and Dirk to begin to drop off, then try to be an elite team in the west.

  • Foom DIzzle

    My questions are as follows:

    1)How the hell did the Hornets convince CP3 that this craptacular team they put together is headed in the right direction in just one meeting (we’re talking about a 180 degree about-face in less than 24hrs)?

    2) How the hell did the franchise convince CP3 to stay in what can now be considered America’s armpit of a city that is New Orleans, over cities like NYC and Orlando?

  • IE

    To the Knicks: Paul + Okafor for 5 expiring contracts (E.Curry, R.Turiaf, K.Azubuikie, W.Chandler, T.Douglas).

  • Anon

    ^
    Thats an awful trade

  • JBaller

    I like IE’s trade scenario, but it doesn’t look like the hornets are gonna pick up all of our trash just to please CP3. I think if they make a trade it will be for what’s best for them, not what’s best for CP3 or NY. They may well send him to some junk team for their expiring contracts – oh wait that describes NY perfectly! Ouch, as a NY fan it hurts when I think of how badly we’ve sucked for so long! Come on CP3 and Melo; bring NY back to relevance!

  • Dagger

    Trading Paul would be a financial disaster for the Hornets. He gets fans to games, and let’s face it superstars aren’t exactly lining up to go to New Orleans. They will not and should not let him go.

  • Yooo

    I’m a 100% sure Jameer Nelson is older than Chris Paul…

  • http://abouthalftime.blogspot.com/ jace

    yes trading Paul will be a financial disaster for the hornets. but trading paul would probably be best for value right now.

    like he said.. collison looks like he can already start for any other team in the nba. the more paul is unhappy, the more people will slowly start tuning out. its better to treat it like a bandaid. rip it off fast or else itll hurt slowly.

    unless they can make a trade RIGHT NOW that puts them back up as playoff contender, i dont see why they shouldnt trade him.

    every point D.M. made makes total sense.

    oh and i still like emeka okafor.. but lets face it.. hes a natural 4. i kno he plays like a 5 but hes built as a 4. if you could find a team with a finesse type center. a center who plays high post, i think emeka would really shine.

    maybe toronto is a good spot for emeka. bargnani can resume playing center as a scorer, high post, perimeter player.. but emeka will immediately bring some toughness and D to that frontcourt.

  • hewhorocks

    The Hornets dont need “up and comming guards” for CP3 (Collison and Thortan would be within reason of anything we get at either position – if undersized backcourt.) First round picks of are maginal value comming from a Portland or Orlando with Paul in any case. The Hornets would need a stud 3 or 5. But what team is going to give up an “up and comming center” plus a starter and picks and expect that CP would then solve their problems? Just because Paul commands more now than later doesnt mean that any team out there can provide a trade that makes sense from ?New Orleans point of view. A creative GM might get 3 teams involved but barring that I dont see the resources out there to trade for a recent “runner-up MVP.”

  • Heckler

    the Hornets are in the drivers seat on this. Chris Paul has absolutely NO LEVERAGE.

    chris paul: “this roster sucks. I demand a trade”
    Hornets: “ummm. NO”

    what can chris paul come back with to say or do?

  • Heckler

    new orleans should trade chris paul to the indiana pacers. the deal would look like this:

    Indy gets chris paul, emeka okafor, julian wright
    Hornets get: danny granger, roy hibbert, tj ford, mike dunleavy jr

    everybody wins. Indy gets the point guard they’ve wanted. new orleans gets cap relief, an allstar and a new bigman.

    INDY
    chris paul
    brandon rush
    paul george
    troy murphy
    emeka okafor

    HORNETS
    darren collison/tj ford
    mike dunleavy jr
    danny granger
    davd west
    roy hibbert

  • Scott

    A deal with the Magic, if worked right, could really help them long term.

    If they could get Gortat, Bass, Nelson, and picks for a Paul/Okafor duo. That would sure up their frontcourt with a couple decently young enough that they could run with Thornton and Collison. They could flip Nelson for something good if they feel Collison can handle the starting job.

  • IE

    I like my trade my trade above (Paul + Okafor for 5 expiring contracts (E.Curry, R.Turiaf, K.Azubuikie, W.Chandler, T.Douglas)). I’m neither a Hornets nor Knicks btw. As trashy as Curry, Turiaf, Azubuike, Chandler, Douglas are, at least New Orleans can rid of Okafor with 4 yrs remaining at 10+ mil a year. Are the Hornets going to make the playoffs during the duration of Okafor’s contract (next 4 years)? Besides, like DM pointed above, CP3 with Monty at the helm may be problematic.

  • http://midtownexception.com/ Noah

    “He also happens to be healthy at this time, which is something the star has struggled with during his career.”

    Tell that to his meniscus.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Wow, it only took the second post for some Lakers fan to create the “there’s an All-Star player trade rumor, so let’s create a lop-sided trade scenario that sends him to the Lakers for our worst players/contracts”.
    I swear, Laker fans, you people are unbelievable. You’ve won the last 2 years, and you still want more.

  • Stunnaboy09

    As much as I hate bitchy players, the Hornets should trade Chris Paul for the reasons you said. This team has peaked, and they are just gonna waste CP’s prime in N.O. if they don’t trade him now for a stud 3 or 5 and a SHITLOAD of draft picks. If there is one thing the Hornets can do its draft and NOONE on the Hornets roster is going to be involved in a trade unless CP is included. Trade CP + Okafor for A decent wing (Collison + Thornton are guaranteed stars) and develop them. Build the team around the draft. Hope for a home run and draft the next big thing. Rebuilding is hard but its better than scraping for the 8th seed and first round exits.

  • Stunnaboy09

    @Mike Mihalow

    So your saying teams don’t want the Lakers scrubs for their star players? I mean the Grizzlies did.

    So I guess my Yao Ming for Bynum + Walton trade doesn’t fly with you?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Royal

    @Mike: True Lakers fans know that we don’t need Chris Paul. It’s only these dumbass Faker fans who always come on here hoping for non-realistic trades lol…

  • Kevin Nacpil

    Chris Paul to the NY Knicks!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kevin Nacpil

    ECurry and K.Azubuikie for Chris Paul.

  • http://twitter.com/allisaalloju Allisa Alloju

    Do they really think trading him is a good option? I don’t think so.. It’s not and never will..

    -Allisa Alloju
    http://twitter.com/allisaalloju

  • Chise

    @Heckler

    The only problem with your trade is that CP3 wants to be traded to a contender. That Indy team you just described fucking sucks. Everyone would be happy EXCEPT Chris Paul, and his happiness, or lack thereof, is the only reason we’re even talking about this.

  • Daniel Marks

    While fans would be disgruntled (and understandably so) if they traded Paul, I don’t think it does much in terms of fan support. They ranked 23rd in attendance with just over 15,000 fans per game, and Paul leaving would decrease that number, but if they aren’t competitive even with Paul the fan support goes down anyway.

    Can’t see Paul to Indiana, another team in flux with lack of resources and if they traded Granger Paul would have about equal or maybe worse cast than in NO.

    I think agree Hornets should get a 3 or 5. I like Q Pondexter but I see him as a role player of the bench, not long term answer at the three

  • dhdh

    chris paul and okafor to la for bynum and odom

  • OneZero

    @Mike

    the reason I put up this:
    blake + bynum + sasha = Paul + Okafor

    because I think it is possible if not realistic.

    Sasha has an expiring contract, NO wants to dump Okafor and get someone big in return (Bynum), Blake will be the backup of Collison, thats what I thought

    personally, he will be best in Orlando

    the only problem is that they probably dont want Bynum’s injury risk or giving LA Cp3

    besides, every player wants to go to big market team like LA, so of course there will be rumours and possibilities.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Thank you, Royal. You couldn’t be more correct. Thanks for putting OneZero and dhdh in their places.
    Its not just Paul, its EVERY All-Star calibur trade rumor always has some Laker fan having them traded to their team. And its almost always includes their poor players/contracts like Sasha, Bynum, Walton, and/or Odom. Stunnaboy09 is right though, they are probably spoiled by the Gasols trade. While I am a Rockets fan, there’s just no way in hell they’d trade their best player either for poor players/contracts.

  • MojoJojo

    @alissa – it is not up to the team as everyone is saying. The team already knows a disgruntled star will only be a cancer in the locker room and know they must try to move him with as little drama playing out in the news, which would hurt his value. On Paper, the Hornets call the shots, but in an actual trade, what team is going to send their right arm to the Hornets for a player that doesn’t want to play in the new city, and who will have the ability of leaving within 2 seasons unrestricted, leaving the new team with NOTHING.

    @everyone else – IF, and thats a big IF, he is traded, it will be to the Magic. They are the only team able to give enough back to NO to give them value while retaining championship form AND also at the same time take a big contract off NO hands (Okafor).

    It would be one of these scenarios:

    Scenario 1
    Magic Send:Gortat, Nelson, Bass, Pietrus, (pos. 2 picks)
    NO sends: Paul, Okafor, (pos. Posey)

    Scenario 2
    Magic send: Carter, Anderson, Pietrus
    NO sends: Paul, Okafor

    Or any number of possibilities with a 3 team trade. I tend to think Scenario 1 is more likely, much much more likely, unless NO didn’t have any interest except to eliminate contracts, in which scenario 2 is more likely. Giving the new owner a clean slate and no debt to absorb in buying the team.

    I think Scenario 1 is more value for NO, but only if they are looking for value with the trade, which I think they are. Especially if they were to include Posey in that scenario and the Magic sending draft picks just to make it a legal trade and allow NO out of Posey’s contract while giving them some picks, albeit Magic picks. In the end, this would make New Orleans happy to get a solid center in Gortat, an outside shooter in Pietrus, someone to play the 4 in Bass, Nelson as an interim PG while taking on contracts that will free up an enormous amount of money for them, while also sending Paul to eastern conference.

    Orlando would get Paul, and as a side possibility, the #4 they were so in need of in Okafor, teaming up with Howard in the post. It might be too much of a loss for the Magic to lose Pietrus, but they would not hesitate to trade him.

    I just don’t see Charlotte being able to convince Paul to stay with them by dismantling their team to get him. Even if they did not need to include Wallace I still don’t see Paul and Wallace being much better than what he has now.

    New Jersey is a possibility, due to the owners deep pockets and that they will be playing in Brooklyn has to be somewhat attractive, but would they really be able to pull together a championship team within 1 year? There are no more “unrestricted” free agents this year, but his dream of playing with Melo would be a possibility next year (IF Melo doesnt sign the extension, which many think he will). Paul would surely have to endure 1 year of misery to be able to get the shot of playing with melo, and New Jersey would be one of the only teams able to do this next year.

    New York, IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. They would simply be able to offer Paul the chance to play with Amare, and that really is not enough to make a championship team. They would have no chance of signing Melo next year as they would have to absorb too much to be in play next year (only the Nets and Magic could absorb that amount and still allow the Nets to play in Free Agency next year while the Magic would not need Free Agency next year). Yes the Knicks would still be good, but as good as the Suns were. Thats still good, but the Suns from last year had years to mesh into that team, I don’t see NY being able to morph that quickly. Even though the lure of playing in NY seems like an opportunity many would jump at, it’s NYC, who in their right mind wants to play in a city that has a history of making terrible basketball decisions, fans that will boo it’s own team for losing by 2 points and newspapers that will crucify you daily, UNLESS the player was ONLY interested in making buckets of cash WHILE losing. I LOVE NYC, dont get me wrong, but the atmosphere created by the media handicaps teams into much more safe, much more boring ball playing. If you just dont do anything wrong they cant crucify you, so many players forfeit competitiveness for safety in NY. The value NO would get back would be trash and not worth it to the Hornets when they could still make Paul happy and get plenty from Orlando, this is probably why NY is no longer in the running per Hornets insiders.

    Just my LONG WINDED humble Opinion

  • MojoJojo

    One more point on NY, no trade will happen as well, because NY, Paul and Melo, would all be better off waiting for the contracts to expire, then teaming up at will, Melo next year and Paul the year after.

    It just doesn’t seem to make much sense for NO, as well as for Paul to orchestrate a trade when either he is on the team 1 year earlier than Melo, or Melo is on the team one year prior to him, either way one of them is going to have to wait, and a trade would only handicap NY to not be able to land Melo next year, so the only way Paul would get his dream of the 3 of them playing together would be to wait it out. But if Paul was willing to wait 2 years to pull a Lebron, he wouldn’t be demanding a trade this year.

  • Kevin Nacpil

    Big 3 in New York!!!!!! Melo, STAT, and Paul!!! Go KNICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!