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NBA Trade Rumors: Ranking the Odds for Top Teams to Land Chris Paul

NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 24:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets looks to shoot in front of Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at New Orleans Arena on April 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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 Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2011

While no one expected there to be a shortage of interested in Chris Paul, the hype surrounding the New Orleans Hornets' point guard has reached an unpredictable level.

Numerous teams have emerged as major players for the all-star, and each one seems willing to allow the Hornets to pillage through their roster in hopes that they find acceptable value in return for Paul.

With so many teams in play for Paul, it can be somewhat difficult to discern which one he will wind up with. That being said, based on Paul's preferences and the current offers on the table, we are able to at least see which teams have the edge in negotiations.

 

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have an edge in the sense that they are Paul's destination of choice, but are at a severe disadvantage considering they have very little assets to offer.

While New York is likely to allow the Hornets to ravage their roster—aside from Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire—it may not matter. After the Anthony saga, the Knicks may have envisioned such madness ensuing, but nothing could have prepared them for the offers that have already poured in.

New York's best chance at acquiring Paul lies with getting a third team involved. That team must have an expendable star in its possession, leaving less than a handful of candidates.

In fact, the Golden State Warriors would have proved to be one of those candidates, but now that they too are in the hunt for Paul's services that seems impossible. Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies could be an option, but again, who do the Knicks give up in order to make the deal work for all parties involved?

Apart from finding a third team to facilitate a deal, the Knicks can only hope that Paul makes it public knowledge that he will only re-sign with them. Doing so would drastically diminish any offers from other teams already on the table.

Based off the current spectrum though, Paul seems unlikely to do that. If this comes down to a game of who has the most assets, New York has already lost.

Odds of New York Landing Chris Paul: 100:1

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 01:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics against Kirk Hinrich #6 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 

Boston Celtics

The Celtics are reportedly prepared to offer Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and two future first-round picks in exchange for Paul, which is a fairly solid offer.

That being said, it has been noted that the Hornets prefer the offers of the Los Angeles Clippers and Warriors. Both those offers are not latent with draft picks, which indicates the New Orleans is more keen on acquiring budding young players, and not draft picks.

This is bad news for the Celtics as those two first-round draft picks are the highlight of their offer, as the Hornets aren't sold on the idea of acquiring Rajon Rondo. It also doesn't help that Chris Broussard of ESPN tweeted Paul would not sign an extension with Celtics either.

Paul's stance could change if Boston makes a pitch about going after Howard next summer, but for now, the Celtics aren't as likely a destination as the team would hope to be.

Odds of Boston Celtics Landing Chris Paul: 80: 1

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 24:  Emeka Okafor #50 of the New Orleans Hornets guards Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at New Orleans Arena on April 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Lo
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

 

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers received some good news when it became known that New Orleans was not opposed to accepting a package headlined by Pau Gasol.

While this allows Los Angeles to potentially hold onto Andrew Bynum and make a play for Dwight Howard as well, there could be a very real chance the Hornets insists on taking the rest of the Lakers assets. New Orleans could also insist on the Lakers including Bynum as well, which would be a nightmare.

Shipping both Bynum and Gasol to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Howard would be a risk worth taking, but the same cannot be said Paul. Los Angeles cannot justify relinquishing too much size in exchange for a point guard, even if it is one of the best.

Furthermore, while Howard reportedly prefers the Lakers, we have not seen the same desire expressed by Paul. The possibility of playing alongside Kobe Bryant will certainly be intriguing, but he doesn't seem poised to make negotiations any easier on the Lakers.

Odds of Los Angeles Lakers Landing Chris Paul: 40:1

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  Eric Bledsoe #12 of the Los Angeles Clippers controls the ball against Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 100-88.  NOTE TO USER: User
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

 

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers have an offer on the table that headlines the expiring contract of Chris Kaman, and the likes of Eric Bledose, Al-Farouq Aminu and the Minnesota Timberwolves' 2012 first-round draft pick.

It is a strong offer to say the least as it helps the Hornets fill the void left by Paul, add a weapon to their perimeter arsenal and sure up the middle at the same time. However, the exclusions of Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan are notable, as the Clippers are not prepared to deal either without a guarantee Paul signs an extension.

Since Paul stands to earn more money by opting out at the end of the season and re-signing with the team that acquires him, an immediate extension may be out of the question, and a verbal agreement may not be good enough.

Make no mistake that the Clippers are major players for Paul, but Donald Sterling isn't the risk taking type. Especially when it comes to matters of the wallet.

Don't be surprised if this is a deal that falls apart.

Odds of Los Angeles Clippers Landing Chris Paul: 15:1

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 19:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors walks back down the court after the Warriors were called for a offensive foul during their game against the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena on January 19, 2011 in Oakland, California
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

 

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have arguably the best replacement for Paul in Stephen Curry.

Curry is an incredibly versatile guard who excels when playing at either guard positions. If Monta Ellis was viewed as a floor general, it would not have been surprising to see Golden State dangle him instead of Curry.

The Warriors' offer for Paul also includes rookie Klay Thompson and sophomore Ekpe Udoh, both of whom were lottery picks.

While Golden State's offer is a strong one, it is perhaps the best they can do. The Clippers have the potential to throw Jordan or Gordon into the mix, though they aren't likely to. However, in terms of standing offers, the Warriors' is the best. Curry would keep the Hornets competitive and entice future free agents to sign with the team.

This saga could very well come down to the Warriors and Clippers, and from there it could come down to who is willing to relinquish more assets without a guarantee Paul would re-up.

If it gets to that point, look for Paul to be playing alongside Monta Ellis sometime in the near future.

Odds of Golden State Warriors Landing Chris Paul: 5:1

 

You can follow Dan Favale on Twitter here @Dan_Favale. 

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