And we thought the fireworks would be over once LeBron James signed.
The last few days, the rumor mill has been lit up with talk of Chris Paul's desire to be traded to a team that can contend for a championship. Hard to blame him when it is apparent that New Orleans is showing no signs of wanting to build a contender around their All-NBA point guard at the time being.
The rumors started when Paul apparently made reference to playing with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks during a toast at Anthony's wedding a few weeks back.
That undoubtedly got Knicks fans drooling over the possibility of having a "Big Three North" to compete with the new trifecta established in South Beach. However, the logistics make a straight up deal nearly impossible. Not to mention the latest rumor—that Paul wants to go to Orlando first and foremost .
New Orleans has been rumored to want to include Emeka Okafor and possibly James Posey in any Paul deal. This essentially amounts to a salary dump, but one would expect the Hornets to want to take back young, cheap talent in return as well.
Although the Knicks could fit the criteria of involving young talent, and the Magic could help to fill positions of need, both would almost certainly need a third team to make a deal work.
This is where Joe Dumars can finally assert himself into the summer dealing season. A three-team deal with New Orleans, Detroit, and Orlando could almost certainly help each team achieve its own personal objectives and work under NBA salary cap rules. Let's give it a shot:
Jameer Nelson, PG; Emeka Okafor, C.
Chris Paul, PG; Richard Hamilton, SG; James Posey, SF.
New Orleans Gets:
Vince Carter, SG; Austin Daye, SF; Chris Wilcox, PF; Marcin Gortat, C; Future first round picks from both Orlando and Detroit.
Why it works for Detroit:
The Pistons unload Hamilton and loosen up the logjam they have at shooting guard, get a point guard who can take the pressure off Rodney Stuckey, and get a center who should fit in well with Greg Monroe.
The rotation becomes Nelson, Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell, Charlie Vaillanueva, Monroe, Ben Wallace, and Okafor.
All of a sudden, the Pistons are a very balanced team in terms of position and experience. This team can distribute, shoot, rebound, and defend—and do all four pretty well.
They have to give up Daye and a future first to do it, but they have a solid group that can get them back to being competitive in the East.
Why it works for Orlando:
Does this question really need an answer? Orlando unloads the over-the-hill Carter, gets the best point guard in the NBA, and gets a perfect complement at the shooting guard position for Paul in Hamilton. They'd be a little thin at center, but how much depth do you really need when you have Dwight Howard as your starter?
I'd have to think that with time this could become the best team in the NBA (yes, even better than you, Miami).
Why it works for New Orleans:
Trading Chris Paul never really "works," but if he demands a trade, then you might as well make it fit your agenda in return. Every player the Hornets get has one year left on their deal with the exception of Gortat (Carter has a team option for 2011-12), and he fills a position of need quite nicely.
They would have a solid young core of Darren Collison, Marcus Thorton, Daye, David West, and Gortat, as well as two future first rounders (possibly three if they forced Orlando to up the ante...which they would in a heartbeat).
With a new coach and GM and a traditionally fiscally conservative owner, all agendas are met and the page is officially turned. They wouldn't be good any time soon, but how good were they with Paul when he wasn't disgruntled? And more importantly, how good would they be with him now that he is?
Pistons fans have been waiting for Joe Dumars to make his splash this summer after promises to do so in the spring. I can't think of a better way to do it than with a deal like this.