Chris Paul Trade Wish List: Evaluating Each Trade Suitor

Ryan VirginCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2010

Yeah, I know.

This thing has been talked to death and I promise you that the subject won't go away until Chris Paul is no longer in a Hornets uniform.

This is just how these things work.

He averaged 18.7 points, 10.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in a "down year," and recently decided upon four teams he would like to be traded to.

Via SB Nation

"The New York Knicks are the first team on point guard Chris Paul's wish list of clubs he'd like New Orleans to trade him to, according to sources. Orlando, where he could team with superstar center Dwight Howard , is the second team on Paul's list, which includes Dallas and then Portland, according to sources."

So who wants him?


So now that is out of the way, who can offer the Hornets the best package?


Hornets (Just for Fun)

They have a starting lineup of Paul, Darren Collison, Peja Stojakovic, David West, and Emeka Okafor.

It's not the worst, but it is definitely not the best, and they won't be making the playoffs anytime soon in a tight Western Conference. So when Chris meets with the coaching staff and management team, what will they tell him?

"We are trying our best to be mediocre, while being cheap."

Yeah, Chris will understand that.

The bad thing for Paul and good thing for New Orleans is that he is under contract for two years with a player option for the third. So he may have to wait to force himself out until he has more leverage.


New York Knicks

The Knicks have put themselves in position to be in the headlines every single week of this offseason. First, it was "The Decision," something that worked out poorly for them.

They were hoping to come out with a top-tier player, but ended up with a 1B option, if you will. Amar'e is a very good player, but he isn't Chris Bosh. And he sure isn't LeBron, leaving the Knicks next to empty-handed with a limited roster.

Since the Knicks went into free agency with their roster in single digits, they have little room to maneuver because of how the rules surrounding the free agency period are structured.

The rule forces teams to keep recently signed free agents on their roster until December 15th. After that, they may trade anyone.

So in terms of the Knicks taking Chris Paul from the Hornets, New York must convince New Orleans that the deal would be addition by subtraction.

A (hypothetical) deal outlined by CBS Sports would send Raymond Felton, Kelenna Azubuike, and Wilson Chandler in exchange for Paul, but the deal would not be able to happen until December 15th because Felton was recently signed and Azubuike was recently traded to New York in exchange for David Lee.

The Knicks have a tremendous amount of cap space remaining and could take on some of bad contracts, which makes them an interesting trade partner.

The Knicks have around $14 million of cap flexibility right now.

With the earlier proposal, Raymond Felton ($15.8 million over three years, $5 million yearly), Kelenna Azubuike ($3,100,000 expiring), and Wilson Chandler ($2,130,482 with a qualifying offer after that for $3,099,851) add up to $10,230,482, so a trade for Chris Paul, who makes $14,940,152, would only use up around $4 million of their cap space. The Knicks could then afford to take on the contract of Emeka Okafor ($10,797,500).

If the Knicks took on both those salaries, they would have exhausted every dollar of their cap freedom, but gained the best point guard in the league and a very serviceable center to rebound alongside Amar'e.

What do the Hornets gain? Young players with reasonable contracts and cap space relief.

The players the Knicks would send over have short contracts.

But would the Hornets pull the trigger? They'd have to be pretty desperate.

It looks as if the Knicks would have to provide the Hornets with a more attractive offer to pry away a player like Chris Paul.

I don't think the organization or Chris Paul would wait until December 15th to pull the trigger.


Orlando Magic

Although the Orlando Magic do not have a lot of cap room to work with, they do have a few expendable pieces that would fill a need for the Hornets.

From reports out of CBS Sports, Yahoo, and ESPN, the deal would have to include Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter.

The deal in in its entirety would work financially, but would it be worth it for both parties?

Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Brandon Bass, and Marcin Gortat (along with some draft picks) would be going to New Orleans, so in my opinion, the Hornets would be getting enough to please both their owner and fans.

But why should the Magic blow up a team that has done so well? I understand that the fans would like Vince Carter gone, but is that enough?

Jameer Nelson was playing out of his mind in the playoffs, so Magic fans shouldn't be upset with him.

You should allow a team to mesh and build chemistry, not blow them up every time something isn't perfect.

The Magic have a very good team and, subsequently, could put together a very good proposal for the Hornets, but how much would it impact their already successful team?

The Hornets pull the trigger if they are able to get that much out of the Magic.


Dallas Mavericks

Mark Cuban can do anything he wants with his money, so why not chase Chris Paul?

The Mavericks would be an excellent suitor for the Hornets because of their variety of talent with reasonable, expiring contracts. Dallas currently has more than $30 million in expiring contracts to give away.

In a deal that has been floating around the blogs, the Mavericks could send Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Alex Ajinca, Jose Barea or Roddy Beaubois, Tyson Chandler, and future draft picks for Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, and James Posey.

In this deal, the Mavs would be sending the Hornets just about $31 million in expiring deals and would be receiving a little under that in incoming salary (Chris Paul, $14.9 million; Emeka Okafor, $11.54 million; James Posey, $6.478 million).

So if the Hornets wanted to cut salary and nothing else, this would be the way to go, but other than salary, the Mavericks are giving up sub-par talent.

I don't think that the Hornets would pull the trigger.

And the Dallas Mavericks would give up half their team for three players, two they don't want.

Quality not quantity.

A bunch of B-level players in exchange for a premier player? I don't think so.


Portland Trail Blazers

This would be interesting. If Chris Paul joined Brandon Roy, Nic Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Greg Oden, the Blazers would be immediate favorites to knock off the Lakers.

But how much would Portland have to give up to get Paul?

There are a few factors that make Portland a favorite.

First, they have a bunch of large expiring contracts with team options.

Second, they have reasonably contracted and replaceable young talent.

Third, the Blazers have the richest owner in the league in Paul Allen. This is a guy who is worth around $13.5 billion.

$13.5 b... b... billion

This guy could toss around max contracts like chump change, but he doesn't... and that's why he's rich.

But back to the point. The fourth and final reason why Portland should be a favorite is that they were a very good team with championship aspirations before half their team fell victim to injuries.

Paul said he wants to win. Portland knows how to win.

Paul said he wants an owner who is willing to spend money to make the team better. Paul Allen has a lot of money to spend.

Paul would probably like a fanbase that would appreciate him as much as New Orleans fans. Portland fans love their players (example number two ).

Portland has many things that Paul wants... except a large market.

So what would it take to get him into a Blazers uniform?

If the Hornets are only worried about cutting costs, which is the feeling I get, Andre Miller ($6,730,800 expiring), Joel Przybilla ($6,857,725 expiring), Rudy Fernandez ($1,165,320 expiring), Jeff Pendergraph or whichever role player ($457,588), and Jerryd Bayless ($2,143,080 with team option for the last two years) seems possible.

That's more than $17 million in expiring contracts with the flexibility to keep a prospect like Jerryd Bayless around.

But since Paul makes $14.94 million (difference of $3 million), the Blazers would most likely have to take on a bad contract and give up one of their prospects.

They can possibly take on James Posey ($6.5 million) or just work out some sort of trade exception with the Hornets.

All in all, both parties get what they want. Portland gets Chris Paul and rids themselves of Rudy Fernandez.

What sets the Portland deal apart from the rest is that the Hornets get prospects with affordable contracts like Bayless, Pendergraph, and Fernandez to rebuild with.  They also get a very good and also affordable point guard in return (Andre Miller) and someone they could possibly pair with Collison in the future (Bayless).  And they've dumped a bad contract!

The Hornets may be looking to cut cap space, but they wouldn't scoff at the opportunity to grab a quality package of prospects, draft picks, and expiring contracts, while at least dropping Posey.

This is going to be interesting!

Article Courtesy Of Rip City Report



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