Currently, the New Orleans Hornets are one of the best five teams in the Western Conference. Chris Paul's team could become a title contender if they can pull off a trade for Carmelo Anthony.
The New Orleans Hornets are currently tied with the San Antonio Spurs for first place in the Southwest Division with a record of 8-1.
New Orleans' success this season has been an all-around team effort. PG Chris Paul is the leading scorer on the team, yet he is only averaging 17.6 points per game.
However, the Hornets are currently the best defense in the NBA, having only allowed an average of 90.7 points through nine games. Their defense deserves most of the credit and has enabled the Hornets to defeat teams like the Miami Heat.
The question surrounding the Hornets is whether or not their lack of scoring will eventually catch up to them and hurt their chances of making a deep run in the NBA playoffs.
In order to become a serious threat to the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans should make a serious move before the trade deadline.
That big move should be trading for Carmelo Anthony.
Can the New Orleans Hornets pull it off?
Of course this is always the most difficult part of a trade to predict. The Denver Nuggets are going to want some young talent in return for Anthony, as well as one or two draft picks.
Here are some possible players than could be involved in the deal:
SF Peja Stojakovic: $14.3 Million (2010/11), free agent in 2011
SF Trevor Ariza: $6.3 Million (2010/11), he is signed through the 2013-2014 season (highest salary = $7.7 Million)
2012 first-round draft pick (And maybe a 2013 second-round pick)
SF Carmelo Anthony: $17.2 Million (2010/11), free agent in 2011
PF Renaldo Balkman: $1.7 Million (2010/11), he is signed through the 2012-2013 season
PG Anthony Carter: $854,389, free agent in 2011
C Melvin Ely: $854,389, free agent in 2011
Will the Hornets Take Risk of Losing Carmelo Anthony to Free Agency?
In the ideal scenario, Carmelo Anthony would want to play with Chris Paul for the next several years.
The Hornets should be able to afford Anthony's new contract, but there are some concerns.
- Hornets would lose PF David West to free agency
- Chris Paul has a player option after the 2012 season and could become a free agent
- New Orleans has not been on Anthony's "list" of teams
- Would lose possibly two draft picks over the next two years
Why Would the Denver Nuggets Accept This Trade?
The Denver Nuggets are not going to resign Carmelo and they are also going to lose half of their team.
- J.R. Smith, Nene Hilario, and Kenyon Martin are all free agents after this season
- The team needs to completely rebuild
- Completing the trade with Peja Stojakovic involved will clear cap space for next year
- Trevor Ariza is a talented, young small forward who is locked up through the 2013-2014 season
Is this scenario really possible?
The money involved with these players basically works out. One team may have to cough up some cash.
If Chris Paul can convince Carmelo Anthony to sign an extension with the Hornets, New Orleans should definitely make the trade.
The Hornets are playing well this season, but they will not knock off the Lakers with the current roster.
If New Orleans is focused on becoming a serious championship contender in the NBA, this trade for Carmelo Anthony is the right thing to do.