During possibly the most interesting NBA offseason ever, we saw massive contracts handed out to various players, we saw a great draft class lead by John Wall, and we heard rumors of potential blockbuster trades. One name involved in many of these trade rumors was Chris Paul.
Chris Paul seemed to be unhappy in New Orleans when he saw his good friends LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh team up in Miami. The guard explained that his main goal was to win and the current roster in The Big Easy does not seem like a team fit for playoffs, never mind playoff contention.
Rumors swirled that NO could send Paul to Orlando to team up with Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and company, or up to Portland to team up with Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge, and crew. With the emergence of young point guard Darren Collison, trading Paul wouldn't seem too bad for New Orleans, if they could dump bad contracts and get young talent in return.
All in all, it looks like Chris Paul will remain a Hornet for now. But ESPN reporters have announced a four team trade involving the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and New Jersey Nets that could send Paul's backup out of town.
Other big names are included in this four team deal are Trevor Ariza and Troy Murphy. Let's take a look at what each team will acquire.
Darren Collison (from NO)
James Posey (from NO)
Courtney Lee (from NJ)
New Orleans Hornets
Trevor Ariza (from HOU)
New Jersey Nets
Troy Murphy (from IND)
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, the teams are on the verge of completing the deal and are working out minor details such as cash considerations.
The trade works according to NBA trade machine.
Let's see how it will effect each team.
The Pacers have been in searching for a starting point guard and have young talent in Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, and Paul George. Acquiring Collison would give them a starting point guard with high potential and Posey will give them depth at the wing.
Indiana would be sending out veteran Troy Murphy and his expiring contract, which could have been useful during this years trade deadline, but the team would benefit more from the young talent in Collison.
The Pacers could be looking at a depth chart consisting of the following:
C: Roy Hibbert, Jeff Foster
PF: Danny Granger, Tyler Hansborough, Josh McRoberts, Solomon Jones
SF: Mike Dunleavy, Paul George
SG: Brandon Rush, Dahntay Jones, Lance Stephenson
PG: Darren Collison, T.J. Ford, A.J. Price
This roster shows some promise. The future of the team can be revolved around Hibbert, Granger, George, Stephenson, and Collison, with role players like Hansborough, S. Jones, and D. Jones. The team has expiring contracts in Dunleavy, Foster, and Ford and would be in a good position for rebuilding.
Out of all four teams involved in this trade, the deal makes the least sense for the Rockets. They will be trading their starting small forward in Ariza for a backup shooting guard in Courtney Lee. The only possible explanation that makes sense to me is if they were unhappy with Ariza's production last season and wanted to dump his contract.
In Lee, the Rockets will be acquiring a gritty defender and winger who has a good ability to score. Lee is talented, young, and could mesh well with point guard Aaron Brooks. With Lee, the Rockets depth chart would look like this:
C: Yao Ming, Brad Miller, Chuck Hayes
PF: Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill
SF: Shane Battier, Chase Budinger, Jared Jeffries
SG: Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee
PG: Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry
On paper the Rockets look very talented and very deep, but the x-factor will be if Yao Ming recovers from injury. If Yao recovers, the Rockets have two seven footers running the center position in Yao and Miller. They have young talent in Scola and Patterson at the four, and defensive-minded players Battier and Jeffries playing the three. They will rely on guards Martin, Lee, Brooks, and Lowry for a lot of scoring, but when healthy, this team is considered a contender.
With the rumors of this trade, it seems that New Orleans is really trying to keep Chris Paul happy. As a result, they are losing a young point guard with a lot of potential (Collison) and a bad contract (James Posey).
They would be acquiring Trevor Ariza, who is a hustle player who averaged roughly 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists last season. Ariza still has some young legs and would be a good fit offensively and defensively with the Hornets new look roster:
C: Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gray
PF: David West, Darius Songaila, Craig Brackins
SF: Trevor Ariza, Peja Stojakovic, Julian Wright
SG: Marcus Thornton, Quincy Poindexter
PG: Chris Paul
The starting five looks promising for New Orleans as well, as Brackins and Poindexter entered the NBA during the draft this year. Stojakovic and his large contract will be expiring this season giving the Hornets about $15 million to work with. The Hornets improve with this trade despite losing Collison but is it enough to keep Paul happy?
The Hornets are keeping busy today and going to send Julian Wright to the Toronto Raptors for Marco Belinelli.
The New Jersey Nets struck out in terms of signing a marquee free agent this offseason, but did acquire young talent in Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, etc. In this deal they ship out Courtney Lee in a crowded backcourt and acquire veteran Troy Murphy. Murphy will be the oldest player on the team and has the most experience on the very young Nets roster. Murphy will most likely start until Favors is ready.
C: Brook Lopez, Johan Petro
PF: Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors, Kris Humphries
SF: Terrence Williams, Travis Outlaw
SG: Anthony Morrow
PG: Devin Harris, Jordan Farmar
The Nets have tons of talent and great depth, but will be too young and inexperienced to make the playoffs. The Nets won't be the worst team in the East this season and will win more games than last season. The future looks bright for the Nets, but they are not going to contend this season.
If this trade goes through, it will most likely be the final major transaction of the offseason.
The obvious winners are the Indiana Pacers who filled a major void and added a vital piece to their young roster.
All four of these teams will feel impact from this trade.
Will Collison help the young, talented Pacers improve? Will the Rockets end up missing their starting forward in Ariza? Will Troy Murphy use his experience and become a leader in New Jersey while Derrick Favors develops? Will Ariza and expiring contracts keep Chris Paul happy?
Answers to all these questions and more during the upcoming NBA season.