Tag: New Orleans Hornets

Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul

Lakers complete three-team blockbuster to acquire Chris Paul


In the blink of an eye, the entire landscape of the NBA has changed. As originally reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, and Houston Rockets have agreed on the framework of a deal that will bring Chris Paul to L.A. The long-standing rumors linking the league’s best point guard and premier glamour franchise have finally been actualized, giving the Lakers the kind of transcendent star to usher in the post-Kobe Bryant era.

The specifics of the deal are as follows:

Los Angeles receives:

Chris Paul*

In exchange for:

Pau Gasol
Lamar Odom

Houston receives:

Pau Gasol

In Exchange for:

Luis Scola
Kevin Martin
Goran Gragic
2012 first round draft pick (originally from New York)

New Orleans receives:

Lamar Odom
Luis Scola
Kevin Martin
Goran Dragic
a 2012 first round draft pick (originally from New York, via Houston)

In exchange for: 

Chris Paul

*According to salary cap wizard Larry Coon of ESPN.com, the Lakers may also be acquiring two traded player exceptions (TPE) that they can in turn use to acquire other players. Kevin Pelton — of Basketball Prospectus and ESPN.com — wisely connected the dots between the Lakers’ TPE and New York’s Ronny Turiaf, whose contract currently stands in the way of the Knicks’ arrangement with free agent Tyson Chandler.

The Rockets have paid a steep price in order to acquire Pau Gasol, but Houston GM Daryl Morey finally has the star player he has so long coveted. Additionally, the Rockets will have enough room under the cap to continue chasing after unrestricted free agent big man Nene, who could provide the Rox with a dynamic 1-2 punch on their back line. That said, Gasol is likely not the franchise centerpiece that many Rockets fans envisioned after years of Morey collecting tradeable assets.

New Orleans gave up one of the league’s true superstars, but in return have acquired a number of quality assets. Odom, Scola, and Martin are all very good players that can make the Hornets competitive in the short term, but can also be flipped with relative ease if the right deal comes along. The Hornets are trying to move on at this point, but by acquiring several very good assets at the expense of Chris Paul’s ticking clock, they buy time to pursue fair trades and do their proper diligence.

Hornets preparing for the worst or subtly appealing to Chris Paul’s pride?

Miami Heat v New Orleans Hornets

As has been made abundantly clear over the last few weeks, the New Orleans Hornets are in a tough spot. Most reports have Chris Paul with one foot out the door — a colossally bad omen for the franchise in virtually every sense. Paul is the Hornets’ livelihood. He is the team’s leader, its star player, and the one foundational piece on the roster. He’s an All-World talent, and due to a variety of factors, his time in New Orleans may be coming to a close.

New York is reportedly Paul’s preferred destination, although he openly acknowledges the difficulties in wanting to be traded there. Still, a column from David Aldridge of NBA.com paints the Hornets’ front office as a place of sobering realism; they seemed to have embraced the possibility that Paul may leave, and are exploring any options that will allow the franchise to move on following his possible departure:

The Hornets are going into this with eyes wide open. They know that Paul spent much of the summer in New York at lockout meetings — and also with Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. They know that even if he can’t get as big a salary from the Knicks as with other teams, it’s likely his representatives have all manner of endorsements at the ready in New York that would make up the difference. They believe he’d prefer going to a team where he doesn’t have to be “the man,” and that the Knicks would be just that, with Anthony and All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire willing and able to take the spotlight and the heat that come with it.

Aldridge’s full column is worth a read, primarily for the display of pragmatism shown in the Hornets’ front office. These are difficult times for that franchise, but refusing to fall into denial over their prospects of keeping Paul could pay off in some form.

Then again, I couldn’t help but read the above section without notice of the rhetoric that, if you’ll notice, comes straight from Hornets sources. The basketball world has a quick, visceral response to players who shrink from their responsibilities as “the man.” LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh received rampant criticism last summer when they decided to team up, as some analysts (and more often, pseudo-analysts) took issue with the Heat’s diffusion of responsibility. Being a franchise player is a sacred duty in the NBA, and declaring a certain player — especially one of Paul’s stature — as unworthy by deficiency or by personality is a heavy claim.

In all likelihood, this is a sincere message from the Hornets that they believe Paul would be happiest playing with other stars. That much is the truth, after all. However, in an age where media control is so important, I wouldn’t completely disregard the possibility of the Hornets appealing to Paul’s sense of pride with Aldridge’s column as the medium.

Why are we talking trades for Paul, Howard? Money.

Dwight Howard

Since about three minutes after David Stern and Billy Hunter sat bleary-eyed in a New York conference room to say they reached a deal, we have been talking trades.

Specifically Chris Paul and Dwight Howard trades. The two superstar, franchise cornerstone guys who can opt out as free agents next summer and may push their way out of their current teams this season.

But why are we talking trades now before teams can even talk directly to players, and why are some people around those players pushing for trades fast? Like before the season if possible.


Those two guys want to be traded early enough so that under the new rules their Bird rights transfer with them. They can’t do what Carmelo Anthony did last year — the new labor rules say if you do an extend-and-trade the new contract can only be for what the team could have signed you for as a free agent. No Bird rights deals.

So how you get those bigger deals is to get traded without an extension then become a free agent and re-sign there. How much money are we talking? The best breakdown I saw (and a great explanation of how everything works) is from Chris Sheridan over at Sheridanhoops.com.

Here are the options for the two big stars.

• Plays the entire season in Orlando, opts out and ends up elsewhere (either by signing as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade): $80.5 million for 4 years.
• Gets traded in February, opts out, then re-signs with the team that acquired him: $110.8 million for 5 years.

• Plays the entire season in New Orleans, opts out and ends up elsewhere (either by signing as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade): $75.8 million for 4 years.
• Gets traded in February, opts out, then re-signs with the team that acquired him: $100.2 million for 5 years.

We’re talking about a lot of money.

Because of that, you can bet that you are going to keep hearing about trades for these guys because the people around them (cough *agents* cough) will keep pushing it. Because it’s about the money. Always.

Report: Wizards will not amnesty Rashard Lewis. Yet.

Rashard Lewis Wizards

If we didn’t call this the amnesty provision the Gilbert Arenas rule, we would call it the Rashard Lewis rule. He is owed $21.1 million this season and $22 million next season, and while he still has some value at as a stretch four he doesn’t have second-highest-paid-player-in-the-league value.

But the Wizards are not going to use the amnesty clause on him, not yet anyway reports the Washington Post.

Two people with knowledge of the Wizards’ thinking have said that it is unlikely that the team uses the amnesty provision on Lewis or anyone else before this season. But the Wizards could wait and see what players other teams waive, which could add more free agents to the mix.

Actually, this makes a lot of sense.

You amnesty a guy for two reasons. One, to avoid paying the luxury tax, but the Wizards have $47 million locked up according to the Post (or just $40 million according to Sham Sports). They need to add salary on to make the new league minimum.

The other reason is to free up cap space to go after a free agent. Is it worth it to go offer a max or near max deal to Nene? To get in the running for David West? Those are your biggest unrestricted free agents out there. You could try to overpay for Thaddeus Young and steal him away from Philly, but is that a wise use of the money.

The Wizards are better off holding on to the amnesty card and playing it next summer, when there will be quality free agents on the market.

Just know this — fans love the amnesty clause but there will be five or fewer guys who get waived that way before the season starts. GMs are going to wait and use it later (and who they can use it on is not formally defined yet).

Carl Landry drawing plenty of free agent interest

hornets Carl Landry
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Carl Landry is the kind of solid role player every team can use. He’s got good offensive game and can knock down the midrange jumper as a power forward, can defend and rebound. He’s not going to blow you away in any one category, but he’s going to give you quality minutes every time he steps on the court.

Which is why a lot of teams want him. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated tweets the details.

Source says Portland, New Orleans, Indiana and Boston have all expressed very real interest in free agent forward Carl Landry.

He’d come off the bench on pretty much all of those teams, save maybe New Orleans where the roster is in flux.

Landry likely will pull in a salary around the mid-level exception of about $5 million. Which seems fair. Too often the mid-level goes to a guys showing promise a GM tries to lock down long term (everybody wants to be Joe Dumars with Chauncey Billups) and those guys usually regress. But with Landry you know what you will get, and a league average salary seems about right. He should be in the league’s middle class.