It’s easy to understand why Chris Paul would want to play for the Orlando Magic. Stan Van Gundy may be more demanding than most coaches, but he produces winning teams that dominate defensively. There’s also a guy there named Dwight Howard, and most online forum commenters seem to think he’s pretty good. The Magic could offer Paul a worthy superstar partner, an established core, a top-notch coach, and a chance to throw down with the new-look Miami Heat for what could be one of the most incredible rivalries the NBA has ever seen.
There’s a lot to like there, and making the move from New Orleans to Orlando would make a ton of sense for Paul.
It just may not make sense for New Orleans. Or Orlando.
According to Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse, The Magic aren’t sold on the notion that Chris Paul can actually be acquired at all. Even then, Povtak insists that Orlando isn’t willing to take on Emeka Okafor’s contract, which is thought to be a necessary part of any trade involving Paul:
They are not convinced that New Orleans will be bullied into trading their franchise player, not with two years remaining on his contract. And they still are not interested in taking the bloated contract of teammate Emeka Okafor to make it happen because it would sentence them to long-term payroll disaster.
A desperate team with more salary cap flexibility — like the New York Knicks, for example – would be more accommodating for the Hornets, if they decide there is no choice but to trade Paul. “Much ado about nothing,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy Saturday told the Orlando Sentinel when asked about reports linking his team to Paul.
“We are only involved in this story because someone said he wants to be traded and someone said he wants to come to Orlando,” Van Gundy told FanHouse Sunday. “It’s a New Orleans and Chris Paul story.”
The thought of Paul and Howard playing together for an entire season was so delightfully dream-like to begin with, but now it seems that Paul’s preferred destination really is more dream than reality. If the Magic really are resolved not to take Okafor back in return, then the already slim possibility of landing Paul slides even closer to zero.