New Orleans Hornets: Is Chris Paul Actually Better Off...In Seattle?

Rich FernandesCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets competes in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge apart of NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets can’t trade Chris Paul because doing so would essentially rip the heart out of this struggling franchise.  But what’s to stop Paul from leaving once he becomes a free agent?

All eyes and ears will be focused on the negotiations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement this summer, and there will be an emphasis on any possibilities subtracting NBA teams. 

And, willingly or not, Paul’s next move will be at the forefront of these discussions, primarily because he is the superstar that represents the first franchise (New Orleans Hornets) that would fold under such a scenario.

Paul is one of the most talented point guards to have ever played in the NBA and arguably the second-best of all-time behind only Magic Johnson.

CP3 is a gifted athlete who displays a hard work ethic that is recognized from his admission to laboring over Steve Nash film footage in order to improve his game.

He is the ultimate point guard; the tenacious quarterback of the New Orleans Hornets who is averaging almost 20 points and at least 10 assists per game for his career. 

Paul runs the offense and puts the plays in motion and like Nash or Magic, Paul feeds his teammates and makes them better.

This past offseason NBA fans were treated to the “summer of LeBron affair,” followed by the “Chris Paul affair” that didn’t quite get off the ground despite the media blitz.

New Orleans fans are happy that CP3 is still in town, despite his controversial trade demand, but is Paul really happy with his situation as "King Bee" of the Hive?

Probably not.    

In New Orleans, it has been a constant struggle for the team to fill the Hive as the Hornets fall a distant third behind the Saints and LSU football.

Now that football season is over, the bee hive is buzzing, but that is simply not good enough for an NBA team.

It seems obvious that New Orleans, as a city, is not working out in the NBA’s grand scheme of things, and the fact that the league has temporarily stepped in and assumed control of the struggling franchise only confirms this fact.

But a shaky NBA team in the Big Easy is nothing new, as the Jazz had previously discovered before uprooting their ties in New Orleans in favor of Utah.

It’s an unfortunate conclusion to draw, especially for those devoted Cajun fans, but the Hornets do not have a favorable future in New Orleans. 

In order to keep Paul and flourish as a franchise, the Hornets need to follow the Jazz’s lead and get the heck out of town.

And Seattle represents the Hornets best chance of flourishing as a franchise.

The recent hijacking of the Seattle Supersonics (now the OKC Thunder) has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Seattle sports community, where most feel they were duped by the shady dealings of both the new team ownership as well as David Stern.

By moving the Hornets to the Emerald City with Paul wrapped up in a bow, the NBA would be correcting a wrong that should never have occurred in the first place. 

It would represent a win-win situation for both the franchise and for Paul because in both economic and marketing terms, “the Chris Paul brand” faces diminishing returns in the Big Easy, but that would not be the case in Seattle.

While Seattle is not New York, L.A., Boston or Chicago on several fronts, it does have the demographics in place to support a superstar like Paul at a high level.

That means a supportable fan base with a dream of putting a winning team on the court.

There is little doubt that several top market NBA teams will continue to try to pilfer Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.

But that won’t to happen because new provisions in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will likely prevent superstars from teaming up in major markets—simply because the NBA is thinking expansion and not contraction.

Paul in Seattle?  Why not?