New Orleans point guard Chris Paul is a great player.
When he is healthy, he is easily in the debate for the best point guard in the NBA. He is the type of player that every team in the NBA would love to have.
Even though he released a statement that he wants to help build the Hornets into contenders, few really believe that he will want to stay there.
With Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh creating a new paradigm of three stars playing together, there is the thought that other stars will need to team up in order to have a chance to beat the Miami Heat.
Chris Paul hinted as much at Carmelo Anthony's wedding when he made a toast that he hoped that he, Carmelo and Amar'e Stoudimire would be able to team up in New York to compete with Miami.
Paul can do everything that a team would want from a point guard.
He is a great passer, defender, and scorer. He has the rare ability to create scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates at the same time.
However, any team trying to trade for him should think twice. He is not the "no brainer" that most are claiming.
The NBA is not baseball where a team can just acquire players with little regard for payroll.
The Knicks would spend $200 million on players if it could just like the Yankees. Because of the salary cap, which restricts player movement, NBA teams have to think about whether it is worth spending.
Allegedly, Chris Paul is interested in being traded to either the Orldando Magic, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, or Portland Trail Blazers. However, each of these teams has reason to be wary.
First, Paul is coming off an injury plagued season. Historically, small point guards that score a lot of points in the paint do not last much beyond the age of 32.
Paul had surgery to repair a torn meniscus last year. While this is minor surgery, it does indicate that Paul's body is starting to break down.
So, even though he is only 25, there is a buyer beware aspect to him.
Second, a superstar point guard has not won a NBA championship since Isiah Thomas. Starting in 1991, the best point guard to win a title has been either Chauncey Billups or Tony Parker.
Both are very good players, but neither was a superstar when they won.
Championship teams in the modern salary cap era need at least one elite big man, one solid big man, and at least one elite wing scorer. Competent point guards who can play defense are more important than superstar scoring points.
The evidence suggests that height is still the most important quality in the NBA and an off-the-ball scorer who can create his own shot is more important than a point guard who creates his own shot.
The third reason goes back to the salary cap.
Because teams have to be careful as to how they allocate their money, it is important that the resources are spent wisely.
The reality is that there are more quality players who are 6'3" and under than 6'9" and over. So, it is easier to find a decent point guard than it is to find a quality big man or even a wing scorer who is 6'4" or taller.
Generally, teams usually can only have two max contracts on the roster unless the team is lucky in the draft (or gets three "friends" to decide to play for you for less).
So, because size is still the most important quality on a basketball team, a wise team spends its scarce dollars on the best big men and wing scorers it can find because there are fewer such players than quality point guards.
So, unless a team already has its big men and a scoring wing, then trading for Chris Paul is a mistake, because in the end, that NBA team will not have enough size to win.