Trader’s Market: CP3 to… ?, Pt. 1
Mr. Paul as a Maverick? CP3 in Forum blue?
Chris Paul’s been envious, hasn’t he? I mean, really, who can blame the man? That New Orleans Hornets team from 2008 really seemed to be on the verge of something special, and then CP signed that nice, optimistic contract and the Hornets started collapsing soon after. The losing, the knee injury and then seeing the Miami Thrice Superfriends join up enticed Mr. Paul further. While he hasn’t said anything officially to anyone about any trade, it’s obvious that he is less than pleased, whether he is to stay around southern Louisiana or not. I’ve been thinking about where Paul would be best to go in the previous two weeks and while Henry sort of beat me to the punch (great minds think alike, perhaps?), I think still think I can expound on the idea. Let’s see how Paul might fit with four of the top teams in the Western Conference (and entire NBA).
I’ll be the ultimate GM here, with the help of ESPN’s Trade Machine.
Chris Paul, Nenad Krstic and Julian Wright go to the Los Angeles Lakers;
Andrew Bynum, Sasha Vujacic, Nick Collison and Kyle Weaver go to the New Orleans Hornets;
David West and Kevin Garnett go to the Oklahoma City Thunder;
Emeka Okafor, Jeff Green and James Harden go the Boston Celtics.
WHY IT WORKS
For the Lakers, getting a top-10 player in the League next to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest in Chris Paul would absolutely keep the prime winning years in Forum Blue and gold. Even though Paul would be transitioning into a new offense and would be undersized for coach Phil Jackson’s taste, it would be a dynamic backcourt that could present new challenges for teams looking to wear KB24 out in the backcourt and wing. Getting Nenad Krstic would provide a more healthy post presence that could be counted on to play decently alongside Gasol without losing much other than talent potential in Bynum. Julian Wright would also get a chance to play point guard, something that he probably is best at when he’s focused and cognizant of the on-court play (Jackson would love to have another 6-8 guard/forward, if Wright were to flourish).
New Orleans trading away CP3 will officially signal another rebuilding stage, but outside of losing their unhappy lone star, they would achieve some future cap relief dumping Okafor and his contract, be able to further nourish potential future All-Stars in Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, and start over with the new front office and coaching staff. Also getting another potential All-Star in Bynum would substantiate such a trade. Nick Collison is sturdy, durable and productive, and Sasha Vujacic and Kyle Weaver would be able to spell the backcourt as reserves who can really bring a charge to the offense.
OKC would be taking another giant (albeit risky) step to NBA dominance in the acquisitions of David West and Kevin “The Big Ticket” Garnett…but these players would be able to teach the young guys and provide much needed All-Star scoring and defense to make the Thunder into an elite team in the present, being interchangable at power forward and center. Losing some of their valued young assets would be a true risk, but gaining championship level experience and size would counteract those losses (and besides, Oklahoma City would still be deep in all positions)…and getting two experienced big men who are unafraid of standing up to nonsense on the court would be all the protection that Durant could ever want in the frontcourt.
Not unlike the Thunder, Boston would also be taking an enormous risk in giving up the heart and soul of the team in Garnett, but considering his questionable health, dipping production and huge salary, the Celtics could be stifling themselves keeping him for another year than in trading him. In his place, getting back Emeka Okafor alone would be a disappointment, but he’s not so with Jeff Green and James Harden in Celtic green. The Celtics would take on a longer contract for Okafor, but his yearly salary would be less and his relative youth could insure a suitable post presence for the foreseeable future. Getting “Uncle Jeff” and Harden would be golden for Boston; in Green’s case, he’d be joining the team he was originally drafted by and reunite with the player whom he was traded for (Ray Allen) when his rights were still property of the Seattle SuperSonics–his versatility and continuing growth as an inside-outside player would serve the team greatly as Paul Pierce would continue to play into his 30s. Harden, on the other hand, can spell Ray Allen or play next to him, as well as join Rajon Rondo as the team’s backcourt of the future (not to mention that JH can a little point guard as well). Essentially, Boston would be upgrading their bench and building a new version of the next generation of the team in an epic win of a trade.
All of the teams would win, relative to their future.
WHY IT WORKS
CP3 going to Dallas does a few great things–first, he would be able to keep Dirk Nowitzki fed well on the court and do so efficiently, because of Paul’s own scoring prowess; secondly, his game would allow for Jason Kidd to either start next to him or be a reserve, either of which would be very good options for refreshing Kidd’s legs as a defender; thirdly, the Mavericks wouldn’t have to wait on Rodrigue Beaubois to develop as the Mavs push forward to win a championship ASAP, and the added bonus of reuniting Paul with center Tyson Chandler would also have its own weight in gold in good chemistry. The Mavs would immediately become title contenders.
Again, losing a franchise player is usually always a hard pill to swallow, but it doesn’t help when the team of said star isn’t good enough to win anything of particular substance (like a conference or league championship). The return in trading away CP3 would be, of course, more minutes for young Hornets Collison and Thornton, but the added bonus of Beaubois with Collison would be like getting the opportunity to have two Speed Racers compete for your NASCAR team–and it only looks better considering that both players can play off of the ball. Caron Butler would still be able to give very good production and keep the team in playoff contention as the starting small forward–DeShawn Stevenson can back Butler up and continue to look crazy in the meantime.
(Look for Part 2 in the very near future…)
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist and fitness enthusiast, as well as an unyielding Prince fan (for real). You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook, Associated Content and Twitter.