Chris Paul To Lakers In 3-Way Trade?
According to numerous sources, the Los Angeles Lakers are in discussions with the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets in a bid to land Chris Paul.
The bait would be Pau Gasol, the primary piece the Lakers have been offering to the Hornets over the past couple of weeks for their available All-Star point guard.
The Lakers have not been willing to give up Andrew Bynum, a less-established player than Gasol, but one (based on age, potential and salary) with dramatically greater trade value.
LA is either saving Bynum for themselves or for a bid at Dwight Howard, should the Orlando Magic decide to put him on the market.
The Rockets have been collecting assets for multiple years, trying to land the right pieces. With the ins and outs of Yao Ming, now finally out, moving ahead wasn’t easy but General Manager Daryl Morey needs to make his stamp on the organization.
With assets ranging from Kevin Martin and Luis Scola to younger players like Hasheem Thabeet, Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson, Terrence Williams, Jonny Flynn and multiple draft picks, Morey has a lot to throw into a deal.
Word is he’d prefer to keep Chase Budinger and Courtney Lee along with draft pick Marcus Morris. Kyle Lowry is also a player the Rockets are very fond of.
It’s certain HOOPSWORLD editor Bill Ingram can and will shed further light on the Rockets’ situation.
The Hornets have found a shrinking market for Paul, who has no financial incentive to extend his contract before opting out and entering free agency next year. Due to the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), expected to be ratified shortly, Paul would lock in more years on his deal (and thus a greater dollar figure) next summer than in any other scenario.
Teams like the Lakers and Boston Celtics would enter a deal with optimism that Paul would re-sign. Even though Chris has indicated to the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Celtics that there wouldn’t be any promises, Boston would bank on the charisma of Doc Rivers and the weight of Bird Rights for a long-term Paul deal.
The Warriors, without any assurances, pulled Stephen Curry out of talks. The Clippers were never open to the inclusion of Eric Gordon, offered Chris Kaman instead of DeAndre Jordan and without any sort of guarantees may have had second thoughts as well on including their Minnesota 2012 pick which is unprotected.
While the situation is still in flux and multi-team trades very rare, the Lakers and Celtics would be the front-runners although the Hornets may wait for better offers.
New Orleans is said to be looking for a quicker exit and a head start on the rebuilding efforts. General Manager Dell Demps has been given the green light by ownership (the NBA itself) to pursue the best deals possible.
Paul has been direct with his intentions, having spent the last few months involved with the bargaining process as part of the Players Association. If the business end of the NBA wasn’t clear to Paul before this experience, they’re wide open now.
So while Howard in Orlando hasn’t tried to force anyone’s hand just yet, Chris has been ruthless to date in pushing his agenda. Given the tools he has to work with within the CBA, that’s his right.
Paul is loyal to the fanbase in New Orleans but not to the organization itself, given the NBA – to the players’ perspective – was not loyal to them this summer.
Of course now that an agreement is near, let bygones be bygones.
And soon Chris Paul will be gone . . .