Chris Paul is the most coveted free agent and it is not even 2012 yet. Players like Tyson Chandler and Nene Hilario sit on the FA block while Paul gets his name hurled around a circle like a sadistic hot potato game. Paul is intent on making all of us believe that his heart is in New Orleans.
We would be more inclined to believe him if the Hornets were not well on their way to making him the only option surfacing in N’Oleans.
Paul is a competitor first, Hornets teammate second. This order of priorities will be exposed when after a hard fought season, NO still does not make it to the place he feel he deserves to be.
Then the offers will come rolling in.
However, which franchises actually have the best chance has yet to be decided. With all of the insider information leaking from Chris Broussard and players negating each rumor being released, it is hard to tell what’s real and what should be left to conversations of unicorns, tooth fairies and economic equality.
Let’s attempt to narrow things down, shall we?
Let the reported sources say this is where Paul’s heart truly is. Ever since it was reported that he and Dwight Howard would be free agents in 2012, the rumor mill started churning out instances as if the deal were already done. Sort of like how the trio met up in Miami, but that’s for an entirely different post.
This would be a great move for Paul and for the Knicks organization. CP3 is an great all-around player, offensively and defensively sound, who would be able to add a needed dimension to help NY’s playoff dreams. With Chauncey Billups’ injury last postseason during the Boston series, the Knicks understand that they need someone to adequately fill that position full-time.
Who better than arguably the most talented point guard in the league?
Where did this rumor come from? I’m not entirely too sure, but it would be ludicrous for Boston to trade away another fraction of chemistry they have for what looks good on paper. Rajon Rondo has grown in Doc Rivers’ system and functions well with the group of men in place.
If anything, Rondo should be the last piece in the organization that the franchise looks to get rid of. A trade for Chris Paul may not play out on the court as they wish it did and they will be left with the same sour grapes’ face they had when they washed away Kendrick Perkins to bring in Jeff Green. But, maybe this was the plan all along.
Everyone knew that Chris Paul was going to be a free agent soon and a brisk move to move Perkins and bring in Green just to turn around and unload him as well would clear up cap space for Paul. Then again, Broussard came up with this from his “sources," subsequently turning around and saying that CP3 would not sign an extension in Beantown.
His sources also told him that the Celtics were trying to deal Green and Rondo for Westbrook and Perk. It doesn’t make sense to me either.
Let’s just say the Lakers’ plan on giving up on Derek Fisher sometime soon. That is the only way that this type of union would work. Fisher is Kobe Bryant’s main man, but given the opportunity to play alongside Chris Paul against the stacked teams forming around the league, I wonder how long that loyalty would last.
Still, The Lakers are not budging on Andrew Bynum, or so it seems, and they do not appear ready to relieve Pau Gasol of his Lakers duties. Shannon Brown is testing the waters as an unrestricted free agent, which will probably lead him out of Los Angeles. Not because he does not appreciate his situation, but there may be a more defined role elsewhere for the shooting guard where he could get more playing time and develop as a player.
The Lakers are well over the soft cap with a $90 million payroll from last season and will only really have hopes of bringing someone under the mid-level exception. Grabbing CP3 would force a lot of movement that I’m not sure the Lakers are willing to do.
"Everybody knows my heart is here in New Orleans," Paul said. "I want to win. I want to win now. I'm sure we're going to continue going in that right direction."
If you believe this, you are either a New Orleans fan or convinced that Chris Paul will choose loyalty towards the franchise who drafted him over winning a championship ring. This quote was taken early in July as CP3 was on-site during some community service on behalf of his foundation.
But, there may have been other things swirling around in his head like the fact that the Hornets may just lose David West to free agency. This is one less piece in place that the organization has to figure into the equation of how to keep Paul happy enough to stay. As we all have witnessed in previous situations, you cannot always take the superstar’s word for it.
What is most likely to happen is that with a possible refusal to sign an extension with New Orleans, the team will be forced to trade him this season or lose him anyway. The Hornets have had plenty of time to surround him with the right components and thus far have yet to do so.
We may see the star point guard leave town sooner than later.