For the owners, pretty much half the reason for the lockout last year was to put in place an economic system that prevents stars from doing what the Miami Heat did with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. (Technically they still could have done that because they stripped the roster all the way down and those guys took less money, but you get the idea).
So when you hear things about superstars talking about teaming up right now, take it with a grain of salt. Actually, more like the entire Bonneville Salt Flats.
That’s my lead in to the latest rumor from Chris Broussard of ESPN.
Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have been in consistent contact recently about the possibility of becoming teammates next season, according to league sources. Paul and Howard will be the biggest free agents on the market this summer, and their desire is to play together, the sources said.
“They would love to play together if somebody can make it happen,” one of the sources said.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
I have no doubt that the two have texted about this. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are friends, they get along, and no doubt the tandem would be a force.
But back to that whole lockout and logistics thing.
Broussard says Atlanta can do it.
The Atlanta Hawks could make it happen. Atlanta, which is Howard’s hometown, has the cap room to sign both players to maximum-salaried contracts.
Howard is not particularly fond of the idea of returning to Atlanta, but he would do so to team up with Paul, the sources said.
Actually, no Atlanta does not have the room to make it happen. Teams have a lot less money to spend than you think because of cap holds and other restrictions..
Atlanta could have up to $35 million in cap space, which is not enough to give max deals to both players, but maybe you could convince them both to take paycuts (ala Miami). But to get that $35 million they have to renounce/let sign elsewhere Josh Smith (he’s gone, but until he signs elsewhere there is a cap hold on the Hawks salary space). Then they have to renounce every other free agent on their roster — Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro, Ivan Johnson, Jeff Teague, Dahntay Jones, Hilton Armstrong, Erick Dampier, Etan Thomas, Randolph Morris and Anthony Tolliver. Then they have to waive DeShawn Stevenson, Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott. Or they could amnesty Al Horford.
You really think Danny Ferry is going to play that game?
Besides, Chris Paul isn’t leaving the Clippers. So for Howard to team up with CP3 all you have to do is convince Lakers management to do a sign-and-trade that sends Howard to the Clippers. Good luck with that. And by the way, the Lakers can’t do a sign-and-trade unless it is one that brings them down to a salary level below the tax apron (roughly $76 million) so a third team that wants to soak up a lot of salary and bad contracts has to be brought in.
So good luck with that.
If you’re thinking the Clippers would sign-and-trade CP3 to the Lakers, I think that’s not a tobacco pipe in your hands.
Chris Paul and Dwight Howard together is never going to happen. But they can text about it all they want. Free country and all that.