At this point, everyone knows that Chris Paul wants out of New Orleans, and the Hornets are currently exploring trade options before the 2011-12 NBA season begins. Many teams have been involved in trade rumors, including the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, and even the Boston Celtics. While these teams all do have valuable assets, I believe the 76ers, if interested (they’d be crazy not to be), could present one of the best offers to the Hornets.
The proposal: Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, 2012 and 2013 first-round picks for Chris Paul.
After trading away Darren Collison after the 2009-10 season, the Hornets will need someone to fill the void Paul would leave. Who better than the 21-year-old Jrue Holiday? Holiday is entering his third NBA season and is one of the rising stars in the league. He averaged 14 points and 6.5 assists per game last season, and has shown a lot of growth on both sides of the ball over his first two years in the league. Add on top of that the league’s best wing defender and a great veteran, Andre Iguodala, and you have two very good players heading back to New Orleans, along with two first-round draft picks to help build the team for the future.
The most important aspect of this deal would be getting Chris Paul to agree to sign a contract extension with the 76ers. While at first the challenge may seem tough, it’s possible for the Sixers to have a lot of cap room come the summer of 2012, when many big names will hit the free agent market. If the team does not use their amnesty clause this year, they will be able to cut Elton Brand after this season, and get approximately $25 million below the salary cap according to ESPN. While some of that money would be eaten up by Paul’s contract extension and Thaddeus Young’s new deal (if he re-signs with Philly this year), they will still have plenty of money to bring in another star.
It has been five years now since the Sixers traded Allen Iverson away to the Denver Nuggets. Since December of 2006, the team has been without a superstar or go-to player, despite trying to mold Andre Iguodala into that player. Bringing in a player like Chris Paul would not only generate excitement in the Wells Fargo Center, but fans would start to pay attention again before March or April, when they slowly hop on the bandwagon and come down to South Philly to witness a playoff series loss. When the stadium does sell out (once or twice a season), the atmosphere is truly incredible. But nothing will compare to the years of Allen Iverson taking this team to the playoffs with a sold-out crowd fueling every moment.
This Sixers team and the city of Philadelphia is in need of a star, and Chris Paul would be an incredible fit with the young Sixers team that is a go-to player away from contending in the Eastern Conference. Bringing in Paul alongside Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young would truly bring back the excitement that was sadly traded away with Allen Iverson five years ago.
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