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Will Chris Paul Be the Next Star to Be Traded Before Thursday's Deadline?

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets and the Western Conference moves the ball in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on February 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Jason KarlAnalyst IIIFebruary 23, 2011

With the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams on new teams, one has to wonder if Chris Paul, star point guard of the New Orleans Hornets, will soon be traded too.

While the trade for Anthony was expected, Deron Williams' move to New Jersey was surprising to say the least, since he is only a free agent after next season.

Paul, too, is a free agent after the 2012 season. Now, he could be the target of several teams in the next 24 hours.

In fact, trading Chris Paul would simply re-open what was already an old rumor from last summer. At that time, Paul asked to be traded from the Hornets, and other teams were interested. Once the season started, those rumors gradually faded from attention.

Now they're back on the radar.

Even though the Hornets are 33-25 and poised to make a run in the playoffs, a good record isn't necessarily indicative of a franchise's relationship with its star. The Utah Jazz, for instance, were 31-26 when they traded their point guard.

There would be many teams targeting the 25 year-old point guard, including the Orlando Magic, who are looking for a star to pair up with Dwight Howard, and the Los Angeles Lakers, who have Andrew Bynum as a valuable trade chip. The Lakers could use a player with ball handling skills to keep Kobe Bryant fresh throughout the rest of the year. 

Working against a possible trade, however, is the fact that the NBA currently runs the franchise. NBA Commissioner David Stern is looking for a buyer, so trading the Hornets' best player and most recognizable asset would not make much sense.

Who knows? With this crazy trading season, anything could happen. 

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