Chris Paul wants out of New Orleans. I don’t know whether to be happy that there is an NBA story not circling around the Miami franchise or to be sad that CP3 wants away from New Orleans.
Chris Paul has been the New Orleans franchise since they moved back after their brief stint in OKC during his rookie season. He has played great, worthy of that best point guard in the game honor he earned before Deron Williams showed people he can also ball a little bit. He was nearly MVP a couple of seasons ago (do that Deron) and led the Hornets, coached by Byron Scott, to a playoff level they had no right to be at.
Now, he feels he can’t do it. Approached by his own realization of mortality given the weakened state of his knee, he knows he needs to win as soon as possible. This Miami deal, although not directly involved, is directly involved. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh (along with Sir Riley) have started an arms race. Now, contenders are going to stockpile as many “superstars” (really? Amar’e and Bosh are on that level?) in order to compete.
Paul now knows that he can’t expect a championship level team in New Orleans, and certainly not in the next couple of seasons. Why waste his prime years bumbling around in the Big Easy when there will ultimately be no payoff. This isn’t LeBron wanting out of Cleveland, who were legitimate title contenders. This is a superstar, legitimately one, trying to get the most wins he can while he can. With that knee, Paul may not have as many seasons left as we all presumed just last season.
(Seriously, how is this not an arms race? Does that make Pat Riley the USA, or USSR?)
Anyway, I can’t blame CP3 for this action. He, no doubt, would prefer to win in NO. However, it’s not likely when David West is the only other viable player (other than Collison) who you can count on when it counts.
Ok, so now what? He wants to go to either Orlando, New York, or LA (which is now being doubted, instead he is thinking Dallas or Portland according to Chris Broussard).
Orlando would be straight fun, since Dwight Howard is like Tyson Chandler if Chandler was a god. I don’t know what that trade would include, but I don’t know how Jameer Nelson fits in. I would assume he has to leave, since he can’t play the 2 at his size and he can’t play the backup at this point. He is too talented to sit the bench, but that doesn’t solve the Hornets’ problem of having two point guards.
LA has an obvious attraction, and by attraction I mean Kobe, Pau, and an almost guaranteed championship if Paul comes. LA would probably have to give up Bynum, who has worse knee issues than Paul does, along with some other quality pieces. I don’t know, especially when the truth behind this request is somewhat in doubt.
New York has Amar’e and D’Antoni, and apostrophes aside, that isn’t all that much. The missing piece is clearly Carmelo, who still has a lot in Denver right now (though that window may be closing). If Carmelo comes than this sparks an obvious and epic rivalry with Miami. This would be the ultimate in terms of the arms race, two teams with great players slugging it out.
The Dallas and Portland scenarios are interesting. Dallas could have really used solid point guard play against San Antonio last playoffs and Paul would love to pass to Dirk whenever he feels like it. Portland has Brandon Roy, which is good and bad. Roy didn’t like Andre Miller coming to Portland, and Miller prefers passing to shooting. Sure, Paul also distributes like a man possessed, but he has the ball infinitely more than Miller does.
See, this may well be the true legacy of the Miami trio. It goes well beyond Toronto, Cleveland, and Miami. Beyond who they suit up against on any particular night. This affects every team in the league. Now teams like New Orleans, who might have had a shot otherwise, given the right amount of luck and intelligent roster moves, are completely out of contention. Players like Chris Paul, who by all rights is a top 8 player, doesn’t feel like he has a realistic chance to compete on the highest level possible without another couple of stars around him.
All that being said, nothing is for sure. This is just a report from Paul’s inner circle. He may have a change of heart in the next couple of weeks. Or not. Maybe he does go through with this demand and makes one of these teams much better.