*This post was written last night before the Marquis Daniels signing and the Matt Barnes signing.
So it was a slow news day for the Boston Celtics. All signs point to Matt Barnes signing with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Celtics appear to be countering that move with taking a look at….Jarvis Hayes?
Did I say it was a slow news day for the Celtics? I’m pretty sure I meant to say “awful” instead of “slow”. In lieu of a blockbuster event involving a drastic improvement of the Celtics bench happening today, let’s manufacture one using Chris Paul!
By now, most of you have read the Chris Broussard story about Chris Paul wanting out of New Orleans. So the question becomes, how can we fantasize create a way to involve the Celtics in this trade that brings back some serious value to the Green?
In order to do this, let’s first cut to the chase. If there is one team in the NBA who needs a point guard, it is the Minnesota Timberwolves Indiana Pacers. The Pacers have been trying to secure a point guard this entire offseason, considering guys like Johnny Flynn, Luke Ridnour, and Jordan Farmar. Given that list of names, I’d say they would be more than happy with Chris Paul manning their backcourt. Paul may be hoping to go to New York but the Knicks have virtually nothing the Hornets would want- especially if the salaries were to match. If the Hornets are going to trade Chris Paul, they want two things: value/talent and salary cap relief.
The Celtics need to bolster their bench with a Big Man and a Wing.
So without further adieu, allow me to show you how every team gets what they want (sort of) in one fell swoop:
Depending upon your internet browser, you may or may not be able to tell that I am proposing something crazy. The crazier thing is that this trade is not without precedence. To summarize:
New Orleans Gets Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, and Rasheed Wallace.
Indiana Gets Chris Paul and Oliver Lafayette (or any other player whose contract would work)
Boston Gets David West
Would this ever happen? Probably not.
The New Orleans Hornets have little incentive to trade Chris Paul but if they felt they needed to for fear they’d ultimately lose him for nothing, they could do far worse than Danny Granger. Using Danny Granger to get Chris Paul may appear to be a little like running in place for Indiana but the Pacers have a ton of young talent at the wing position. Additionally, it wasn’t too long ago that the Pacers at least entertained the idea of a straight up trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves that would have sent Johnny Flynn to Indiana in exchange for Danny Granger. The Hornets also get cap relief for this year and next with Rasheed Wallace’s expected (buy-out) and Mike Dunleavy’s expiring contract.
If Granger is worth Flynn than he’s most certainly worth Paul, right?
Chris Paul is infinitely better than Johnny Flynn, but the Pacers run the risk of having Paul walk when his contract expires at the end of the 2011/2012 season. At least Flynn has the potential to flourish and grow with the rest of the young Pacer talent instead of bolt after two years.
None of these ideas would have ever been considered if Paul’s intentions/desires hadn’t been made public, the Hornets didn’t have a young point guard in Darren Collison ready (or seemingly ready) to start, and the Pacers didn’t have an excess of young talent at the wing position. All of these factors happen to be true.
Still, the idea of the Hornets giving up their two best players for Danny Granger and cap relief may be a tough pill to swallow for both the Hornets’ fans and new GM Dell Demps. The Hornets want cap relief, but in the form of dumping a salary like Peja Stojakovich and/or Emeka Okafor. A guy like West- who’s cheaper, more productive, and is under contract through next season (with a player option for 2011/2012)- is not likely to go anywhere. The Hornets don’t trade West (and his Bird Rights) unless A) they really want Granger, B) they think Craig Brackins is their Power Forward of the future, and C) the Hornets are DESPERATE to get under the cap.
I would say the Hornets don’t want any of those things at the expense of Chris Paul and David West.
Earlier I wrote that the Hornets want talent and cap space in return for Chris Paul. Could they also want to stick it to Chris Paul for being a factor in former GM Jeff Bower’s dismissal and then wanting out? It’s plausible. A team does not try and appease their star player by making a big front office change just to trade him. This situation could strangely mirror the recent semi-forced resignation of U.S. General Stanley McChrystal. If this analogy holds true- if Chris Paul really does want out of New Orleans- don’t the Hornets have to do something like this deal?
The anti-”The Decision” basketball fan in me wants to see this happen. No one is bigger than the game and no one should be able to force their way out of a situation only to force their way into another.
At the end of the day, the Hornets hold all the cards when it comes to where Chris Paul plays next season.
Will the above trade happen? Not likely.
But hey, it was fun while it lasted.