NBA: 5 Possible Destinations for All-Star Chris Paul
Does Chris Paul want out of New Orleans? If he does or doesn't, it could easily happen.
The Hornets, who are currently owned by the NBA, won't make a trade for the point guard unless it means a bright future for the franchise in turmoil. The city of New Orleans actually went as far to buying tickets to home games just to avoid the franchise's escape clause due to low attendance.
While a lot of guards like Steve Nash and Monta Ellis have been inquired about, none of these names are more enticing than Chris Paul.
So what does the four-time All-Star bring to the table?
Paul is an elite passer and defender, and not a shabby defender either. He has amazing court vision and has cut down his turnovers the last few years. He could be the most complete point guard in the NBA. Oh, and he is a triple-double threat any night.
There are plenty of teams that could use the help of Chris Paul to make them championship-caliber.
A trade for him is highly likely this year, especially if the Hornets aren't in serious playoff contention come All-Star break.
So with the Hornets looking for a new owner and possibly a new city, let's look at some possible destinations for Paul...
Jameer Nelson has been a good point guard for Orlando, but truth be told he's not an elite player. Averaging just six assists a game, he's not really the game manager that could make Dwight Howard even more dangerous.
Paul might have the best court vision in basketball, and has never struggled to get the ball inside.
While Orlando lacked a great second scoring option last year, Paul could also fill that role averaging 18.7 points over his career.
New Orleans would have to be willing to take the heavy contract of Gilbert Arenas or Hedo Turkoglu. Odds are they wouldn't be interested in that because it wouldn't secure a bright future they would want.
But if they can get it done look for Orlando to be in championship contention for years to come.
Los Angeles Lakers
Chris Paul helped propel the Hornets to a Game 1 upset over the favored Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Chances are he could end up in the city that knocked him out.
One thing Kobe Bryant has never played with is a great point guard in his prime. While Kobe demands a lot of shots, Chris Paul could be a perfect option to fill those needs.
With Bryant getting older he has shown no signs of slowing down. But keeping the ball out of his hands a little more could help him stay fresh over the next few seasons.
Even better for the Lakers, it gives them a star player to build around once Kobe does decide to end his hall of fame career.
Always in the top of the league in assists, Paul is a pass first guard who has the ability to find anyone and make smart plays on the court.
Putting a compelling package together could actually be quite hard for Los Angeles however.
Jerry Buss would have to be willing to give up either Pau Gasol, or the more likely candidate Andrew Bynum.
Bynum is young, has great size, and a lot of potential. If Bynum stays healthy for a full season he could be a All-Star selection any year.
Another key player like Lamar Odom or Ron Artest might be requested, but two years worth of first round picks might be an option too.
Los Angeles Clippers
Don't count the other Los Angles team out either. While Clippers owner Donald Sterling is infamous for making terrible moves, this could be a great one for him.
While having one of the best power forwards in the game in Blake Griffin, just like most teams on this list he is in use of an elite point guard.Griffin, along with rising star Eric Gordon, can go for 20+ points a night and Paul would be the perfect contributor.
Chris Paul is known as a great defender, and while the Clippers perimeter defense was lackluster, CP3 can provide that help.
Putting Paul, Griffin, and Gordon would put Los Angeles in the playoffs and give them great seasons for years to come.
The Clippers would be willing to make this trade if they didn't have to give up Gordon, but there isn't much trade bait here either.
The young, improving DeAndre Jordan, cash, and some picks could be an interesting option but would not provide the star power needed in New Orleans. Mo Williams could easily be traded along with the likes of Chris Kaman, but would New Orleans really want to take on two decent sized contracts that would be great for their future?
New York Knicks
A favorite to sign Chris Paul once he is a free agent, the Knicks could get him even earlier.
Looking to acquire a third member to make their own Big Three, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire could use a great point guard like Chris Paul. A true run and gun offense could always use a great point guard like Paul feeding the ball whenever necessary.
While Chauncey Billups is a nice option for a point guard, his best years are behind him. Like Melo and Amar'e, CP3 is still in his prime.
The Knicks aren't going to be a great defensive team, but Paul could be a huge boost to the perimeter defense causing turnovers.
New York traded most of their role players to acquire Melo, so a deal for Paul would have to include many future picks and maybe a few expiring contracts.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City simply fell apart in the Western Conference Finals last year. Westbrook took questionable shots and was sat out in key moments and Durant just struggled down the stretch. While I consider them the favorites in the West already, a trade for Chris Paul would make them better.
A combination of arguably the best passing point guard in the game and the best scorer in the game, think about that. That's what could be with Paul and Durant in OKC.
Durant has been near the top of my MVP list for a few years now, and his stock could rise with Paul at the point. Durant is dangerous wherever he has the ball on the floor, but with Paul taking the majority as the ball handling duty, it would allow Durant to open up for better shots.
James Harden is a player on the Thunder with a lot of potential. He can score the ball when given the chance, and is an above average defender.
With Westbrook and Durant rightfully taking up most of the team's shot attempts, Harden has never really had a chance to shine. Paul could bring out that potential in in former Arizona State guard. With Durant as the first scoring option, Harden could get the shots needed to prove he can be a great shooting guard.
Westbrook is the best point guard in the NBA at getting to the rim and is an elite scorer. A Paul for Westbrook trade makes a lot of sense for New Orleans.
Westbrook would give the Hornets a big name player to build around no question about it.
To put it simple: Chris Paul is a top-three point guard in the league.
If the Hornets want to trade him, it's going to have to be to a contender with a lot to offer. I think Oklahoma City could be the favorite to do it. But some of these other teams are also intriguing.
One other team I didn't mention as a possibility would be Memphis. A trade for Rudy Gay or O.J. Mayo could always be a possibility. That of course depends on how content the Grizzlies are with current point guard Mike Conley.
No matter where CP3 lands, he will make them an instant contender.
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