Tag:New Orleans Hornets
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:44 pm
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Friday 5 with KB: Back in the habit

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we ask KB about what the Hornets and Magic should do, what the Bulls are looking for, and when things will pick up for free agency. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. Good gravy we started fast, didn't we? If you were going to tell the Hornets and Magic one thing that you learned from the Melo Debacle, what would it be?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com:  Don't panic. Nuggets VP Masai Ujiri's best trait during the Melodrama was patience. He surveyed the landscape, recognized what cards he was dealt, and let everything play out until he extracted the best deal he could get under the circumstances. He also cultivated a positive relationship with Anthony so there was mutual trust. Otis Smith must do this with Dwight Howard, and Dell Demps with Chris Paul. But having said all this, the time pressure on the Magic and Hornets will be exponentially greater than it was on the Nuggets, who always knew they held the key to Anthony getting a max extension with the team of his choice. My reading of the new rules is that Orlando and New Orleans can't risk their stars playing this out and getting to free agency. If they do, there will be considerable angst and even more considerable risk that their stars will leave and they'll get nothing in return. One more thing, while we're on the subject: The Magic and Hornets have the benefit of a shortened season, which would make the short-term ramifications of a blow-it-up-and-start-over trade fairly fleeting. Plus, cap space in a better free-agent market next summer and a superb draft could speed the reloading process.

2. What are the Bulls looking for in a two-guard?

KB:  They're looking for more offensive production, but aren't willing to break the bank to get it. They'd like to upgrade, but they did win 62 games with Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer at the two. Not a catastrophe if they don't make a major upgrade, and they're definitely not going to overpay. Jason Richardson is the best fit basketball-wise, but not sure how he'd otherwise fit -- and the Bulls may want someone younger who can grow with Derrick Rose.

3. Nene's clearly the biggest name out there. But sussing out his motivations has been tricky. Is he looking for the money? The ring? Some combination of the two?

KB:  Well, if he pushes for a trade to Miami (no assets) or Dallas (some), he'd be signaling that he wants to win. But this might be the only chance he'll get in his career to get a max deal. Only in this free-agent class could a guy who averages 14 points and seven rebounds get a deal starting at more than $17 million.

4. Players are reportedly going to vote on the deal on December 8th, with training camps starting December 9th. Do we always have to cut these things so damn close? (Marty McFly'd)

KB:  Yeah, it's going to go down to the wire. It's going to be a marathon for the lawyers to get this deal in shape and resolve all the B-list issues in time to vote. Same thing happened after NFL lockout, when players essentially voted as they reported to camp. Once all the heavy lifting is done over the next few days, the voting process for both sides should be a formality -- with one exception. Do dissident agents have enough support from clients to get Billy Hunter ousted as executive director of the NBPA as a condition of ratification? My overwhelming opinion is no, but the way this process has gone, expect another flareup of drama before it's over.

5. How much of a scramble are front office executives in to try and figure out this deal which isn't even done yet?

KB:  That's why there's been so little real activity; agents and teams are trying to digest what players are worth under the new rules, what the new rules are, and what impact they will have on their books/strategy for the next few years. I think you'll begin to see teams begin to make firm offers over the weekend, and the activity will pick up starting Monday.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 12:52 pm
 

CP3 knows Knicks aren't a realistic possibility?

Posted by Royce Young

It's good to know Chris Paul doesn't live in a dream world. Because everyone pretty much understands that there's absolutely no way he can force a trade to the Knicks, unless for some reason Hornets general manager Dell Demps is just enthralled with Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields.

According to ESPN.com, Paul "knows being dealt to the Knicks is not a realistic possibility."

Thursday, there was a report saying that CP3 had requested a trade to the Knicks. Already there's one report refuting that, but this one does the same.

"He has not asked for a trade to the Knicks because he knows the Knicks don't have anything to offer," a source said. "He wouldn't insult the Hornets by doing that."

But also this: "The source did not confirm or deny reports that a representative for Paul has told the Hornets their point guard wants to be traded to the Knicks, but league sources say team general manager Dell Demps will not take any action until he hears directly from Paul regarding his intentions."

This is how it works though. There's a back-and-forth, a lot of stuff being done in the dark and a lot of whispers one way and not the other. It's all a PR game. CP3 doesn't want to stay in New Orleans, especially if that roster isn't going to be built to contend. So he's trying to plan the best exit he can possible. Where it looks like he wanted to be there but just couldn't refuse the offer he got.

That starts by making sure everyone knows that he's not "requesting" a trade to New York, even if he really is.

With Paul very likely not re-signing with the Hornets, Demps would prefer to get max value out of him and that would happen by dealing him before the season. If CP3 has decided it's Knicks or bust, another team might think it could sway CP3 into re-signing there with a season in their city. As Matt Moore of CBSSports.com points out, Orlando could be that perfect one-year destination.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 10:36 am
 

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul



By Matt Moore
  

Here we are, once again. A small market team reportedly held hostage by their franchise player All-Star and his desire to be traded to the specific team he wants, or else he'll simply depart the home team in free agency, leaving them with nothing. Carmelo Anthony hijacked Denver's season last year, and now Chris Paul is reportedly in a position to do the same to New Orleans. Except when Anthony applied extortion to get his way to Broadway, the Knicks actually had assets to trade to Denver, including Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and Raymond Felton (who eventually became Andre Miller and a pick).

The Knicks now? Not so much.

The Hornets face an impossible position shold they elect to trade Paul. The teams that have the kind of assets to make the trade worth it if Paul elects to state he will only sign with the Knicks (which as Ken Berger notes, he has not done yet) have the kind of market cache to not need to make such a desperate move, or have no shot at a championship and therefore no reason to risk it all.

A team with young players and picks won't waste them to rent Chris Paul for a season, only to watch him walk out the door. After all, there's only one New Jersey Nets out there. (Kidding, Nets fans! D-Will says you're still under consideration!) And teams with superstar talent like Boston or Los Angeles don't have to gamble to win a title. They can just wait on the next superstar available (or just go after Dwight Howard).

So as it stands, the Hornets have no alternative. They'll just have to take whatever the Knicks are offering. There's talk of just letting Paul walk to avoid the embarrassment of taking on the Knicks' garbage heap, but that's nonsense. You don't accept a loss when you can have a gain. Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas and a pick in 2045 is better than nothing at all.

But... there is another option. It's outside the box. You're going to think I'm nuts. And I'm not prone to posting about trade ideas. There's another site with a trade machine. You can fill your day with moving every player in the league. Everyone partakes from time to time. But this concept? It's the best possible move for both teams.

Orlando needs to trade for Chris Paul.

Hear me out before you close this browser as fast as humanly possible.

The Magic have every reason to trade for Chris Paul without the promise of an extension. With no consideration of the extension, there's nothing to hold up a deal. The Magic are facing the same cliff the Hornets are, staring down the barrell of Dwight Howard's big-market shotgun. They are burdened with pieces which hold no value once Howard is traded. If Howard leaves, they will wind up with a huge amount of salary and no superstar, a terrible team with a supporting structure holding up nothing. They have two options. Win a championship this year or give up and trade Howard for nothing now. Even a move for Andrew Bogut as Berger has said will be discussed won't keep them in title contention. That's what Howard means to a team. That's what an MVP candidate means.

So the only thing left, as the movie quote goes, is to win the whole friggin' thing. (OK, that's not the line, but it's a family site.)

The Magic would trade some combination of Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, Daniel Orton, and Jameer Nelson to the Hornets for Paul, along with a first-round pick in 2012. That's right. The Magic could lose both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul for 2013 and have no first-round pick. Disastrous-sounding, I know. Here's why they do the deal.

Here's the best case scenario. Howard and Paul,playing with another star, the best at their position, along with the supporting pieces in Orlando which would still be better than what the Knicks are likely to trot out onto the court (I'd like to remind you that Jared Jeffries started at center in the playoffs for the Knicks), would likely have the best seasons of their careers if healthy. Versus the trio in Miami or the duet in New York, Howard and Paul are a combination of players who actually mesh together. The best pick and roll center in the league with the best pick and roll point guard. A hyper-efficient perimeter shooter with a center who draws doubles every time on the block. A ball-hawking point guard who can create steals and the best defensive presence in the league. It may not be better than Miami or L.A., but it would be a force to be reckoned with. One season to make a run at the title.

This is the reality of the new NBA. If you want to win a title as a small-market, you have to find lightning in a bottle. Maybe there's no way to even that gap thanks to the inherent draws of bigger markets with more flashbulbs, television appearances, parties and endorsement offers. But if you don't have a once-in-his-lifetime talent and get absurdly lucky along the way, this is your best shot. Mortgage everything on one season.

If it works, and the Magic take home the title, the Paul and Howard will have gone through the transformitive process of winning a title together. Fans in Orlando will worship them. Howard will have done what Shaq never has. And they'll be staring at the possibility of not playing together next year. Even if that's not enough to get them to stay, it'll make them think twice. It's Orlando's best shot. There can be no more "really, Dwight, we'll get it right next time" with Howard. His patience has run out. If they don't win the title, there's no chance he returns. There's little chance even if they do, but it's their best shot, and if they win the title, they get that forever. You can't take that title away from the fans, away from the franchise, away from the team.

And if it doesn't work, if they don't win the title? That's over $34 million in cap space expiring for Orlando. Along with the amnesty of Gilbert Arenas, that's $54 million. That's nearly the NBA salary cap they would be gaining in cap space. The typical response to that is "what does it matter, no one will sign there." From that point on, the objective is not to bring in free agents, it's to rebuild through the draft. That 2012 pick missing is a problem? Not really, because Paul and Howard could give 50 percent effort (something they would never do) and still win 40 games, even in the East. The Magic won't have a lottery pick regardless. Which means the pick holds no value to them, but quite a bit to New Orleans. The Magic would be in premium position to tank in 2013, then rebuild through the draft. It's not appealing. You know what's less appealing? Trying to rebuild with Andrew Bynum's decision making, knees, contract, and nothing else. The key when your title run is over is to start over as completely as possible, as quickly as possible. This plan lets them out.

But what about New Orleans? Jameer Nelson, with $15.6 million remaining over two years? Brandon Bass with $8 million? J.J. Redick with over $12 million? What's the upside for them, along with a pick that won't be good? For starters, it's better than what they'll get from New York. It lets them avoid being bullied by the Knicks for nothing. And it's not about what those players give the Hornets, it's what they bring individually on the market. A team in need of a power forward who can score? Bass is a great pickup for a cheap draft pick and an expiring. Teams in desperate need of a shooter? J.J. Redick. Starting point guard gone down with an injury? Call up the Hornets. Jameer Nelson is on the block. It's a flip project. You don't get the pieces to start over, you get the pieces you can use to get the pieces to start over. It's the best way to do exactly the same thing the Magic would be doing. Tanking to start over and hopefully get that All-Star Hall of Famer who doesn't adore the bright lights.

This lets them both out of the pain, it gets the gun off of them. It gives them the dignity. Orlando gets to contend for one more year, the Hornets get to start moving forward now. The Magic go all-in, the Hornets fold and save their chips for a time when the flop doesn't come down so wretched.

Big markets are squeezing the talent out of small markets. But those small markets get to decide how it goes down.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:31 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Report: Chris Paul wants to be traded to New York

Posted by Royce Young



And... it's on. Again. Last year it was Melodrama, now it's CP3-drama. According to Yahoo! Sports, Chris Paul's agent informed the New Orleans Hornets that his client will not sign an extension and wants to be traded to the New York Knicks.

Later Thursday, The Times-Picayune reported that "two league sources" issued a denial of the report, saying that Paul "has not demanded a trade" to the Knicks.

The frustration in New Orleans isn't exactly new news, except for the part that Paul wants a trade. A few days ago there was word CP3 wanted to play in New York. Then there was the stuff about Carmelo Anthony wanting him in New York. And then there was the stuff about Isiah Thomas working behind the scenes to get him to the Big Apple. Also, don't forget CP3 toasted at Melo's wedding last summer to a "new Big 3" in New York.

And this won't be the last we hear of it either. Until he's dealt, it'll be this stuff day in, and day out.

This comes just a day after Paul said, "Right now, my heart is in New Orleans." Mmmhmm. Sure it is. Doesn't mean his basketball playing body will be in a few weeks though.

This whole thing is complicated. First, the NBA owns the Hornets still. They very desperately want to keep them in New Orleans. But without Chris Paul, that prospect becomes a lot more difficult. It's hard to imagine the NBA bailing on CP3 and therefore, the Hornets. I mean, how incredible is it that all that competitive balance stuff the league supposedly was battling for is hitting them right in the face as the star of the team they own wants to leave. Unreal.

You know, it wouldn't surprise me if David Stern and Adam Silver said, "Screw it," and blew this tentative CBA up to get rid of this sign-and-trade nonsense. (That's just a joke, everybody. I hope.)

Secondly, the Knicks don't really have the assets necessary to pull off this deal. What's left to offer after the Carmelo Anthony trade gutted them? Ronny Turiaf, Chauncey Billups and cash considerations probably isn't really doing it for Dell Demps and the Hornets. Especially there are other reported deals on the table like Rajon Rondo and whatever the Clippers might be offering (Eric Gordon?).

The Hornets clearly don't want to be left empty-handed as they watch Paul walk about in 2012. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com was the first to report Paul's interest in leaving the Hornets last summer, with him looking at destinations like Los Angeles, New York and Orlando. Paul said last summer that he would like to be traded if the Hornets weren't committed to building a championship squad. With David West likely leaving in free agency and the financial situation in New Orleans fairly dire, it's hard ot imagine the Hornets building a roster that would please CP3. The earlier the Hornets deal CP3, the more they can get back. But if Paul limits his options to just New York, that sort of handcuffs the Hornets.

What it would come down to is the Hornets evaluating whether or not dealing Paul to someone for a season would be worth it. As in, a team would give up assets and young players for Paul for a season without the guarantee he would re-sign. Probably better than what the Hornets would get from the Knicks.

According to the report, CP3 has also reached out to Dwight Howard about figuring a way for the two to play together. In New York, that's impossible. Really, the best opportunity for that might be for Paul to wait until 2012 and just sign with the Magic. But the Hornets won't wait that long. And the Magic don't really have the assets to pull off a worthy deal. Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick fire you up, New Orleans?

If CP3 were to opt out of the last year of his contract and become a free agent in 2012, he could sign a max four-year, $74 million deal with another team. The Knicks currently would have enough salary-cap room to offer him a four-year, $55.5 million contract with a starting salary of $13 million. Would he be willing to take that kind of paycut? Obviously a sign-and-trade is what he really wants, but again, who do the Knicks have to deal?

Paul may want a deal to the Knicks, but the Knicks gave everything away to get Carmelo. New York wouldn't have much room to sign anything other than veteran minimum players and a mid-level guy if CP3 were to go to the Knicks, but it sure would be an interesting team.

Paul said Thursday at the Hornets practice facility, "I don’t think about it to tell you the truth." He might not be thinking about it, but he's making a whole lot of others do that.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 5:25 pm
 

Pop Quiz: What's the value of Chris Paul?

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... Wait, we're almost to winter. What happened? Who cares, there's a season! The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a couple weeks. To get you ready for the season, we've put together some pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We start our Pop Quizzes with this question... 

What's the value of Chris Paul?

By Matt Moore 
Over the next... however long it takes for the question of Chris Paul and where he plays next season to ge answered, there's going to be a common reaction to people regarding trade proposals. It goes something like this.

"What? They can't trade Chris Paul for (X player, X player, Y pick)! That's not nearly as good as Chris Paul!"

And all of these measures miss the point.

Should the New Orleans Hornets decide that the battle is lost and it's time to start over by trading Chris Paul, there is nothing they can get back that will be of equal value to him. There is nothing they can get in return that will eventually be better than him. There will be no offer that will result in analysts, fans, and bloggers, including those that work here saying the Hornets won the deal. It is impossible. You never win trading a star. You never come close to winning by trading Chris Paul.

Which is why so many will advocate against trading Paul. But the only reason to make such a deal is if the game is already over. At that point you can't be looking to compete, to make the playoffs, to keep your season ticket holders happy or to keep them at all. You are looking to restart. It's a reset button on the franchise, and it could cost the city of New Orleans its team. But if that's the decision you reach, that means you've explored every option, considered every trade, made every attempt at acquiring a free agent, done all you can. It's over, Paul will be headed to a bigger market, and you simply have to evaluate what you can get.

There's a misconception that in a trade, you have to get back equal value to justify it. But that's a little bit absurd. Stick Chris Paul with a series of offensive weapons and you're going to have one of the best scoring machines in the league thanks to his vision, skill, and ability. Stick him on the Milwaukee Bucks and you have a great defensive team that's better on offense but still not good because it doesn't matter if Paul is dishing to people who still can't hit the shot. More importantly, getting back Derrick Rose doesn't help your franchise much (and no, Bulls fans, no one is saying the Bulls would trade the MVP, just roll with me here) if you have no one to help him out. The lesson is that bringing back talent does not equal talent lost. There's a plan to a franchise, or at least there should be, and a decision like this means you start completely over. That's how the NBA works.

That's the hard part, really. It's not figuring out what assets, because you only have so many partners, because no one will trade for a player who doesn't want to play for them. From there it's just details. The odds are very high that most of the players the Hornets would trade Paul for will be gone within three years. It's also highly likely that both the GM and coach who help orchestrate the trade will also be gone. That's how the NBA works.

So if you want to capitalize on this as an opportunity, as damaging as the effects are, you don't try and determine what Chris Paul means to your franchise, because it can't be calculated. You don't try and measure his impact on the team, because you can't. You don't try and formulate how to return even 50 percent of what he provides the Hornets, because there is no such math. You simply try and put yourself in the best position to draft the next Hall of Famer that comes your way, to be able to add talented players around him immediately, and to hope the next time that player doesn't feel like those streets will make him feel brand new or that the big lights will inspire him.

What's the value you look for in trading Chris Paul?

The quickest way to forget you lost him.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 30, 2011 10:59 am
 

Report: Paul won't sign extension with Celtics

By Matt Moore 

And just like that, another swing in the momentum. As rumors of Rajon Rondo being traded from the Boston Celtics in their pursuit of acquiring Chris Paul hit a fever pitch, ESPN.com is reporting that Paul will not sign a long-term extension with the Celtics, which is supposed to shut off any further discussion of a trade. 

Except that under the terms of the new CBA, this gets a bit more complicated. If Paul were to agree to an extend-and-trade with the Celtics, he would be limited to just a three-year extension, only two after his option year next year. That's a remarkably short contract for a player battling a knee issue looking for the big pay-off contract. If he were to be traded to Boston, he would have to wait six months to sign the full extension, which is only for four years. Conversely, if Paul were to enter free agency, whatever team he was playing for athe end of the season would have his Bird rights and could re-sign him to a five-year contract, the most he can get. Any other team, like, say, the New York Knicks (since their acquisition of him during the season is unlikely), would be able to sign him to a four-year deal. In short. signing an extension now makes zero sense.

But at the same time, we have a precedent set, and that precedent does not bode well for the Celtics. When Carmelo Anthony launched his covert (OK, it was louder than a C-130) plan to get to New York last year, the Nets were interested. And maintained interest. And kept pitching. But early on, reports surfaced that Anthony would not sign an extension with the Nets. They kept trying and trying, but Anthony maintained that the only team he'd sign an extension with was the Knicks. Eventually, that's where he was traded. 

Now we have reports saying Paul wants to go to New York, and the Celtics trying to talk him into coming to Boston, including trying to acquire more assets to help a deal along. And now there's a report early on that Paul won't sign an extension there. Boston is, in no way, New Jersey, but the pattern is still alarmingly similar. Might be time for the Celtics to go back to their usual line of "We love Rondo, we'd never trade him," despite all indications to the contrary.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 9:38 am
Edited on: November 30, 2011 10:56 am
 

Report: Pacers and Celtics talk Rondo swap

By Matt Moore 

This is starting to get out of hand. Teams are officially allowed to contact agents only starting Wednesday (though they've been talking back-channel for days), and already the rumor mill is spiraling out of control at full speed. On Tuesday it was the Lakers wanting to pursue Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, the Celtics wanting Paul, whether or not the Knicks can pull off grabbing Paul, the Nets pursuing Dwight Howard via trade. And now we can throw another one on the fire.

The Celtics are serious about getting Chris Paul. And since their straight-up offers didn't work, they're now trying to acquire pieces the Hornets do want in order to turn around and move for Paul. Boston's biggest trade chip is Rajon Rondo, and suddenly the new team interested in acquiring the All-Star point guard is... the Indiana Pacers

From Yahoo Sports:  
As Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge aggressively pursues possible deals for Rajon Rondonotes, the Indiana Pacers have emerged as an intriguing suitor for the point guard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

For the past few days, Pacers officials – and third-party surrogates – have been making calls and gathering information and insight into Rondo’s reputation as a teammate and leader, sources said.

The Pacers and Celtics have discussed the preliminary framework of a deal, but two sources said Indiana would need a third team to provide Boston with the talent it wants to do a deal. The Celtics are likely trying to gather the necessary pieces to make a bid for Ainge’s ultimate target: New Orleans point guard Chris Paulnotes, sources said.
via Pacers talk with Celtics about Rondo deal - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Um... what? 

The Pacers are not kidding about wanting to upgrade and make a run. Darren Collison is a young, versatile point guard with a world of upside and ability, who coincidentally (or not) learned under Chris Paul his rookie season. But Rondo is obviously an upgrade. The Pacers have Danny Granger to move as well, who has been on the block for years. A young center in Roy Hibbert, their own picks to move, and Paul George are also among the assets the Pacers have to offer in some combination for the mercurial Rondo.

The Pacers may have a package of assets the Celtics would want, or more accurately, the Hornets would want. But for this to go anywhere, the Hornets have to be open to the trade of Chris Paul, and there's been no indication that's the case. Dell Demps and Monty Williams will have to establish whthe they're willing to give up on the franchise player and if so, at what price. 

But it's painfully clear that the Pacers want to upgrade, and that the Celtics want Paul. Training camp hasn't even started and already the player movement talks are running in the red.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:46 am
 

Report: Lakers want Chris Paul AND Dwight Howard



By Matt Moore
 


The Los Angeles Lakers have a championship core. This same group of players were responsible for two out of the past three titles, and even without the services of Phil Jackson, there's every reason to believe that this team as-is can win another title with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum as its engine. But what comes after? The Lakers have begun looking to the future. They don't just want to stay competitive towards the end of Kobe Bryant's career, they want to transition seamlessly into their next phase of dominance.

And that means acquiring one of the big free agents in 2012, Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Except they don't want one of those two. They reportedly want both.

From Mark Heisler, who covered the Lakers as a beat writer before taking up with SheridanHoops.com:
When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison.

If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa.

Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both.

Oh, and Dwight likes the Lakers. Asked which All-Star he would most like to play with last season, he answered “Kobe Bryant.”
via Lakers will look to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Just to review. We just had a five-month lockout because teams were upset about large market teams acquiring multiple stars, scavenging small markets and leaving them with nothing. And the Los Angeles Lakers and their 17 professional basketball championships are aiming for both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Glad we lost those 16 games over this.

There are a large numbrer of reasons why this is unlikely to happen. For starters, Chris Paul reportedly has New York as his first choice. Secondly, the biggest advantage the Lakers have is the assets to trade for Paul which the Knicks don't have. But the new CBA does have one new stipulation to prevent such dealings, the extend-and-trade adjustments. While sign-and-trade restrictions don't take effect until 2013, early reports indicate that extend-and-trade restrictions are immediate. The changes say that the same setup that Carmelo Anthony used to get his way to New York and get the extra year on his deal via Bird Rights is different.

The changes to the CBA suggest that teams that extend-and-trade a player can only extend him for three, versus the maximum four-year extension or five year re-sign he gets for staying with the home team. The only way around that is a six-month waiting period. The Hornets could re-sign Paul to the full Bird rights extension and then trade him, but they would have to wait six months. But a more likely scenario would see the following scenario: the Lakers can trade for Paul in the final year of his contract and then extend him, but that must be done after six months. Which means, they have to acquire him six months prior to his free agency beginning on July 1. Which means they have to acquire him by... January 1. With a season starting on the 25th. Not exactly a lot of time to pull that off.

All of these elements are in place for Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams (should the Nets just give up for some reason) as well.



The most likely scenario involves Paul entering free agency, and then signing a four year contract with Los Angeles or New York. But if the Lakers were to acquire Paul prior to free agency, it would give them an extra year to offer Paul, and it's hard to imagine him passing that up. Max contracts with bird-rights are five years, as opposed to the four-year counting option-year of an extension.

But if the Lakers want to acquire either player (or both, if we like fantasies), then they're going to need to trade some of that core. Specifically, Jim Buss would have to give up on his pet project, Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom and pieces might be able to acquire Chris Paul, but there's no sense in bringing in Howard and pairing him with Bynum. Either playing power forward would be clunky and awkward. Where this leaves Pau Gasol is yet to be seen.

Hornets fans have to love all this. LOVE IT.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com