It was the first question out of a lot of people’s mouths after it became official that the NBA was purchasing and taking control of the New Orleans Hornets (until they can find another owner to take it off their hands):
What does that mean for Chris Paul? That was quickly followed by Knicks fans asking if he is available in a trade?
The answer is really a two parts — short term he is going nowhere, but long term is anybody’s guess.
Both Chris Paul and David Stern dodged questions about the sale and its impacts in the last 48 hours. So we’re left to speculate a little.
In the short term, there is no way the league allows CP3 to be traded. Those rumors are now DOA. The league — meaning the other owners — just shelled out $300 million to make George Shinn go away and the goal now is to sell the team and maybe turn a little profit. You can’t do that without Paul under contract — he is the gate draw, the face of marketing for the team, the best player and the guy others want to play with.
As Tom Ziller notes at SBNation, you can sell an NBA team without Chris Paul on it — look at the bargain basement prices Mikhail Prokhorov got for the Nets and Michael Jordan got for the Bobcats. But the NBA is looking to make a big score on this sale, and to do that Paul has to be part of the package.
In the long term? Nobody knows. Chris Paul has the remainder of this season and next on his current deal. He wants to play for a winner, because he knows he’ll get max contract money (whatever that is under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement) wherever he goes.
Could this sale and the limbo it leaves the team in lead Chris Paul to go Carmelo Anthony next summer and push for a trade? Yes. Could he play out his contract and go the New York after it? Yes. Does what David West do when he becomes a free agent this summer play into it? Yes. Could a deep-pocketed owner come in and look to change the culture of this franchise, start spending to win and keep CP3 a happy Hornet with a new deal? Yes. Could a new owner plan to move the team to a new market that will provide revenue to spend to win, so Paul stays? Yes. Are there about 243 other scenarios that could play out I’m not listing here? Yes.
Which is to say long term anything can happen. But for now, for the remainder of this season and into the summer at least, Chris Paul is a Hornet and that is not changing.
We reached the middle of the NBA season, which is a good time to consider where things stand for the end-of-season awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. We have made our picks and even broken them down in a podcast.
Now it was time to ask you who you thought should win awards.
I put it out there on Twitter in some polls, and I cover your responses in this PBT Extra. I’m with you on Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year, although I think it’s close. Did you choose LeBron James or James Harden for MVP? Watch and find out.
Jason Smith pushed down Michael Carter-Williams while going for a rebound. Carter-Williams pulled Smith to the floor. Tim Frazier flew in heated.
It was more than a typical NBA altercation – Carter-Williams clenched his fist, though never swung – but it wasn’t quite a fight. It was just reserves getting feisty late in a blowout, the Hornets’ 133-109 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Carter-Williams and Frazier were given double technical fouls and ejected.
One catch: Smith was called for personally fouling Carter-Williams, who was due free throws. With Carter-Williams unavailable, Washington could pick his replacement at the line.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks chose Dwight Howard, a poor free-throw shooter who’d been resting the entire fourth quarter and surely figured his night was over. Maybe it was only about Howard’s team-worst 53% shooting from the line, but it’s also possible Brooks was trying to make an opponent uncomfortable.
The Charlotte crowd went wild, and Howard only added to the fervor.
He sunk both free throws – padding his stats (18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals) – and blew Brooks a kiss. Howard might appreciate the extra points Brooks afforded him, but they’ll likely come at a cost. Howard celebrated with the Sam Cassell/big-balls dance, which usually draws a fine from the NBA.
Just when it seemed as if the Pelicans were rolling… they lose to the lowly Hawks.
This was the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in overtime, and New Orleans looked the part, blowing a 15-point lead in the final 19 minutes.
Kent Bazemore‘s jumper with 2.1 seconds left stood as the game-winner when DeMarcus Cousins missed a rushed post-up on the other end.
Paul Pierce is being petty about Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video.
And that’s from someone who empathizes with Pierce’s point of view.
When retiring a player’s number, teams tastefully use stoppages to show highlights and tributes to the player. The whole night, not just the moment of raising a number into the rafters, can be about celebrating the player. It’s reasonable for Pierce to want the entire package.
But to go on television and advocate for not showing Thomas’ video? To continue the campaign after Thomas made clear how important his video was to him? To tell the Celtics not to show a short video for Thomas during introductions?
It’s way too far.
Too many people around Pierce enabled his flawed approach. Jalen Rose put that to a pointed stop.
Rose on ESPN:
I’ve got say a word for you, fam. I think it was petty.
On Paul Pierce’s part.
I love Paul. This is my brother. Because to me, there are going to be all type of announcements that happen in the 48 minutes during that game. All types. Including Isaiah Thomas could be one of them. It does not take away from your situation. Like Kobe’s, it happened during the game. Because they’re doing yours post-game.
The look on Pierce’s face while Rose was talking!