This article needs a short preface. I wrote this once the three team deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers became almost a sure thing. I finished it right around the time this tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA writer for Yahoo! Sports, blew everyone’s mind. I wasn’t going to let it go to waste, so I left it up so we can all hypothesize about an alternative universe where Chris Paul dons the purple and gold on Christmas Day. Enjoy.
This morning I woke up and found about the Pujols deal. I started thinking of what I wanted to write and then C.J. Wilson joined Prince Albert in LA and I had to start thinking again. Then Chris Paul got traded to the Lakers and I wanted to write about that. Then my head started spinning and after I picked myself up off the floor I decided to go with CP3. Sorry, Albert.
Not too long ago a trade was proposed to send Chris Paul to the Lakers in return for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Wow. The Hornets are expected to flip Gasol to the Rockets for Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, and two draft picks. Wow. Apparently to make the deal work money-wise another player needs to be sent to the Lakers liiike, maybe Emeka Okafor. Wow. Now that the Lakers have Paul they will try to send Andrew Bynum, and maybe nothing else, to Orlando for Dwight Howard. Wo – you get it. Here are some thoughts on everything.
First of all, the Hornets. They just got Odom, Martin, Scola, Dragic, and picks for Paul and probably someone else, such as Okafor or, if they’re very luck, Trevor Ariza. That’s more than they could have ever hoped to get for CP3, and now they have the pieces to move on. David West is looking to get paid and wont be sticking around, but that still leaves them with a pretty solid new squad. The other players the Hornets have under contract right now are Patrick Ewing Jr., Jarrett Jack, Quincy Pondexter, and Okafor/Ariza. A starting lineup featuring Jack/Dragic, Martin, Ewing/Ariza, Scola, and Odom/Okafor is nothing to shrug your shoulders at. Lamar Odom is a superb player who can literally play any position. He will bring veteran guidance and tons of experience to this team. I would just be worried that whichever Kardashian he’s married to isn’t happy about leaving LA and stirs up trouble. Martin now doesn’t have to worry about Chase Budinger taking any of his shots, so he’ll be putting up around 25 a game. Scola is a proven big man who is a solid contributor on both ends of the floor. If the Hornets can ditch Ariza (we stopped pretending he’s good right?) then they look fairly set in the post-Paul era, but they do play in the West so the playoffs are out of the question.
Next, the Rockets. I’m actually not a big fan of this deal for them. Gasol is obviously a stud and will be great to have around young players like Kyle Lowry and Budinger. However, you lose Scola and Martin, and they are probably going to lose Chuck Hayes (to the Timberwolves?!) as well. Also, shipping Dragic out means Jonny Flynn is now their backup point guard. Yikes. We’re talking about a 6th overall pick who averages 3.4 assists a game. The Rockets absolutely have to hang on to Courtney Lee now so they don’t subject themselves to 20+ minutes a night of this. The Rockets can salvage this move if they achieve their overall goal, signing Nene. Can you imagine a low post tandem of Gasol and Nene? Your team will automatically shoot over 50% a game. As of this morning four other teams were competing for Nene, but this move might bump Houston to the top of that list. Houston was just coming together at the end of last season, and had one of the best benches in the league. I hope for their sake that everything falls into place. I feel like I’m forgetting something…hmm…oh, right. Houston’s new coach is none other than Kevin “I’M THE BIGGEST IDIOT-WASTE-OF-AIR-MORONIC-DUMBASS-EXECUTIVE IN THE HISTORY OF EVER” McHale. Forget everything I said, Houston is screwed.
Speaking of screwed, let’s talk about the big “winners” of this trade. Don’t start making those championship rings just yet, LA. Yes, the Lakers landed Chris Paul, one of the most talented players and point guards in the league. However, you have no power forwards! And don’t try to tell me Derrick Caracter is a basketball player. If the Lakers don’t get Dwight Howard, and I pray they don’t, then all it takes is one earthquake in California to take out Bryant, Paul, and Bynum’s knees and they’re done. Their best case scenario (pretending they don’t get Howard) is signing David West. Now I admit to not knowing a lot about the financial side of the NBA, but I feel safe in saying they can’t afford West, and I do know that he isn’t looking to take a pay cut. So that leaves them chasing someone like Carl Landry. Paul, Bryant, Metta World Peace, Kobe’s ego, Bynum, and you still have Luke Walton on your team? Yeah, good luck with that. The Heat just added Shane Battier and could get Steve Nash. Meanwhile, the Lakers traded their 2nd and 3rd best players. I don’t like their chances.
OK! (Reluctantly) We’ll talk about Dwight Howard. Are the Magic willing to trade Dwight to the Lakers? Of course. For just Bynum? Quite possibly. It is Otis Smith after all. This is the guy who turned Rashard Lewis’ abysmal contract into Gilbert Arenas’ abysmal contract, and he didn’t even start. He also traded away Marcin Gortat (keep an eye on this guy, he’s going to be good this year) for Jason Richardson’s corpse. And in that same trade where he unloaded Vince Carter, he was the one giving up a pick and cash. I’m surprised that in the time it took me to write that Howard wasn’t traded for Steve Blake. In all likelihood Dwight will end up a Laker. It’s what he wants and the Magic can’t afford to let him leave as a free agent. Of course, they still think they can keep him, so all bets are off here. The Lakers will have limited depth if they land Howard, but if the Heat made it to the Finals with 3 and 1/2 players, so can Kobe, Paul, and Dwight. I would be more excited to see Paul and Dwight play together than any Kobe scenario. Let’s remember that the last time Kobe wasn’t in the spotlight, things didn’t end so well. What I really want to see is the Clippers offering DeAndre Jordan and newly signed Caron Butler for Howard. Having CP3 and Dwight end up in LA on different teams would be awesome, and the Clippers are definitely the better team in that situation.
Now we just have to wait and see how this all plays out. All I can say is I’m so glad we had a lockout to stop players from grouping together and heading to the coasts. Go Wolves (sigh).