A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Sorting out the Chris Paul mess: I’ll take the Los Angeles Lakers for $2000, Alex

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Chris PaulSo Yahoosports reported this morning that Chris Paul has requested to be traded to the Knicks. I’m sure we’ll get the customary denials and so forth from the Paul camp, but the blood is in the water like it was for Carmelo’s desire to play for New York a year ago.

The problem for the Knicks is they have nothing to offer. We’re talking about a trade along the lines of Chauncey Billups’ expiring contract, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas and a 2014 1st. There’s no reason for the Hornets to take this trade. They can get that much out of a S&T for the Knicks next summer, since New York will need their help to pay Paul a full max contract (Remember how the Heat gave the Cavaliers and Raptors 2 1st round picks each to pay Lebron and Bosh a little more). I’m sure wannabe contenders around the league would pay more than that offer for 1 year of Paul’s play.

On top of this, one of the major differences between this and the Carmelo trade is the lack of financial savings the Knicks can give New Orleans. Last year Denver was at an 83 million payroll, meaning that when New York slashed 15 million in payroll off, they were able to add overall 25 million in total savings between approximately 7 million in paycheques, plus 13 million and 2-3 million dividend as a result of eliminating their luxury tax fees, to go along with 3 million added in the trade. But the Knicks can’t save the Hornets anything this time. They’re sitting at a 42 million payroll right now, which means that because of a 49 million salary floor, the Hornets have to add payroll and not contract it before next year. Even if the Knicks can take Emeka Okafor’s huge contract away from them, the Hornets have so little salary commitment in the following seasons that they’ll be clearing up salary that has to be spent again.

You know who I like instead to trade for Chris Paul? That’s right. Ugh. The LA Lakers. The Lakers of course have been long rumored for Dwight Howard’s destination – the thought is Andrew Bynum would go back to Orlando. I don’t like this deal’s chances as much as Howard being dealt to New Jersey for Brook Lopez. The big reason is that trading Howard for Bynum gives Orlando no cash savings (as opposed to the 30 million+ I approximated yesterday that the Nets can save the Magic right now, and 15-20 million at midseason), and I question whether Bynum is even that much more desirable than Lopez, because of the former’s injury history. Furthermore, 15 years ago the Magic had their franchise center Shaq bolt to the LA Lakers. The Magic shutting down a Howard to the Lakers trade could be as much about pride and oweing it to their fanbase to not put them through that again, as anything else.

But for the Hornets? You’ve got a situation where it appears Paul is pushing HARD for a destination he wants. Ultimately this news about Paul and New York puts their backs absolutely against a wall, there’s a chance Paul is so set on making the next big 3 in New York that they’ll have no chance but to take the Fields, etc. package back. But I have to think the Lakers are the other extremely enticing place for Paul, for the same reasons Dwight wants to go there. He gets to contend for a title immediately with Kobe, Pau and Odom still on the team and then takes over as the man when Bryant retires in the most legendarily big market. It’s a great situation for him.

Furthermore, unlike the Magic, the cost of taking Bynum 15.1 million contract next year isn’t a factor. Again, the Hornets presently need to spend more and not less. I could also see Okafor and his large contract being packaged with Paul to LA considering he plays the same position as Bynum, if the Hornets want to clear up long term salary for a sale anyways. Considering the Hornets may be choosing between this and the Knicks disgusting trade offer, getting a young C as talented as Andrew Bynum is nothing to complain about. It’s not a franchise killing disaster like the Jarrett Jack, Landry Fields and Emeka Okafor post Knicks trade Hornets would be.

I said yesterday that Howard could be traded before Christmas. Now it looks like Paul may be even more likely to be dealt.

My official prediction for this “Stars FU their franchises”-apoolooza: Dwight Howard goes to the New Jersey/soon to be Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez, 2 1sts and cash savings – While Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor ends up on the Lakers for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Buckle your seatbelts. Or if you’re a Hornets or Magic fan, pray for a miracle.

Written by jr.

December 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Basketball

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