NBA PM: Chris Paul Demands A Trade?
It’s always interesting to watch the fireworks when an NBA player and his agent offer up opposing points of view in the same news cycle, which is exactly what has happened today regarding the future of New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Together with Orlando’s Dwight Howard and New Jersey’s Deron Williams, Paul is set to be one of the three big names in free agency next summer. The question becomes whether the Hornets keep him and sign him to an extension, or trade him before the NBA trade deadline.
“You can’t control it,” Paul said of the trade rumors. “It’s always going to happen. It’s part of the game. I’m just happy to be back with my team. …I don’t think about (being traded), to tell you the truth. I’m just ready to get out here and compete and hoop. This is what I do. I love it. … I have a very tight circle and they know this whole lockout thing’s been driving me nuts, so I’m just happy to get out on the court and compete. This is the way that I express myself, by playing basketball, so I can’t wait to get out there.”
Paul has been very consistent in saying that his heart is in New Orleans, but his message was undermined today when his agent reportedly told Yahoo! Sports that Paul is demanding a trade to the New York Knicks.
Hornets GM Dell Demps is waiting for the lockout to officially end so that he can set about his job of signing Paul to a contract extension, something Paul was more than willing to do before the lockout ensued. Paul has even been talking about how important it is for the Hornets to re-sign David West.
“That’s like a brother to me,” Paul told the Associated Press recently. “I’ve never played a season without him.”
So which is it? “Trade me to New York,” or “Make sure you get my brother back in town for the season”?
The reality is that the Hornets are highly unlikely to trade Paul to the Knicks, one way or the other. Paul makes north of $16 million this season, so unless the Hornets are willing to take back Chauncey Billups … which makes no sense whatsoever … the Knicks don’t have any package they could present to the Hornets that lands Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire on the same team.
What’s more likely is that the Hornets would find another trade partner if Paul refuses to sign an extension. The Orlando Magic, in particular, would love to have a discussion about Paul as a means to keep their own superstar happy and in town long-term. It also seems likely that Paul would agree to an extension if it meant playing with the premier big man in the NBA. Of course, if the Hornets do decide to trade Chris Paul they will have to hire someone just to answer the trade proposal phone.
The Knicks will have plenty of competition from teams with much more attractive pieces to offer.
Carlisle: “Greatness Starts With Championships”Rick Carlisle may not be destined for the Hall of Fame any time soon, but there are few NBA head coaches who have played with and for so many who either have been inducted or will be in the future. He spent his playing days as a Boston Celtic, winning a championship alongside Larry Bird and Kevin McHale during an era when he played against legends like Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. In this exclusive interview, Carlisle talks with HOOPSWORLD about the bizarre meeting that lead to his first coaching job, the coach who had the most influence on his own coaching style, what it means to be “truly” great, and more . . .
Josh Smith The Key To Dwight Howard?
You haven’t forgotten about Josh Smith have you?
In all the fuss over Marc Gasol, Nene, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams one name has been more or less brushed under the rug, and yet that name may have much to do with the future of the biggest name in trade rumors and free agency.
Sources close to the situation in Orlando told HOOPSWORLD recently that Dwight Howard had composed a list of players he would like to play with going forward, and included on that list were New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams . . .and Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith.
Smith, you may recall, seemed to come to a parting of the ways with the Hawks at the end of last season. Tired of seeing his name closely associated with excuses for why the team never seems to be able to get past the second round of the playoffs, Smith made it known that he would welcome a trade.
And then the lockout commenced.
Now, with free agency finally set to begin, the Hawks are prepared to explore moving Josh Smith, who would seem to be a hot commodity even if it weren’t for the Dwight Howard connection. He is, after all, one of the more electrifying players in the NBA. Not only is he one of the best above-the-rim finishers in the league, he is also a mainstay among the NBA’s leaders in blocked shots.
Can you imagine him playing alongside Dwight Howard? Opposing players would think twice before even looking at the rim with Howard and Smith patrolling the front court together.
The Magic have already had a preliminary conversation with the Hawks about what it might take to bring Smith to Orlando, though the pieces the Magic are most willing to offer – Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson – are of little interest to the Hawks.
The real question may be: How long before the New Jersey Nets recognize acquiring Smith as a means to an end with regard to luring Dwight Howard to town?
The Nets have some appealing pieces to offer via trade, but more importantly they have more than $10 million in cap space. They could easily ask the Hawks which free agent they covet and work out a sign-and-trade that lands the Hawks the pieces they desire and sends Smith to New Jersey. If the Nets had both Williams and Smith in town, it would be a cinch that Dwight Howard would have a strong incentive to want to be there, as well.
We have yet to see reports linking the Nets to Josh Smith, but don’t be surprised if such reports start to surface. It could be their best avenue to acquiring Howard, and it would also prevent the Magic from trying a similar approach.
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NBA Chats: There are two chats on the schedule today. Joel Brigham is set to run the point at 1:30PM EST. Joel covers the Chicago Bulls and Eastern Conference. Be sure to get your questions in early. Next, HOOPSWORLD’s publisher Steve Kyler will host his chat at 3:30PM EST. Steve has the latest news regarding free agency, trade rumors and offseason buzz. Submit your question here. You can always find the upcoming chats here.