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New Orleans, you don't have to trade Chris Paul

Jul 22, 2010, 12:49 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for LeBron_Chris Paul.jpgLarry Coon, the salary cap guru employed by ESPN (you are going to read a lot of him next summer when the lockout comes), made a great point this morning:

Three years ago, Kobe Bryant went ballistic. He was frustrated by the Lakers roster, the inability to win, so Kobe demanded a trade. He ripped Andrew Bynum to a couple of fans in a parking lot. He was under contract but he wanted out. Kobe was the superstar demanding to get out.

And the Lakers never moved him.

Because you do not move your superstar, there are too few of them to do that. They may leave at some point, that’s the system, but you don’t help them. The Lakers placated Kobe by going through the motions of looking at options, but they never were going to do it.

Chris Paul now is reportedly about to pressure New Orleans to trade him. He is the newest superstar that wants out. (This comes just a couple weeks after Chris Paul signs up with LeBron/Maverick Carter’s LRMR marketing company. Coincidence? Not bloody likely.)

The Hornets do not have to give in. They should not give in. There are not other Chris Paul’s out there, the Hornets need to try to build around him, not move him.

Certainly Paul and Kobe’s situations are different. Don’t confuse the rudderless ship that is Hornets ownership and management right now with the proven winner Jerry Buss at the top and a patient Mitch Kupchak at the wheel. Kobe did not see the big picture (and nobody saw the Pau Gasol trade coming). Paul doesn’t see the big picture, but nobody does. We’re not even sure who will own the team when the season starts.

Hugh Webber’s rush to fill in the vacuum of power does not instill confidence.

The Hornets can rebuild — this is the last year of Peja Stojakovic’s oversized deal, he is a trade chip. David West is still good. Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton show promise. There are pieces there. Things can improve.

But things will not get better without Paul. Trade him and you start to rebuild from the ground up. New Orleans shouldn’t do that. Not until they have to.

Paul is not going to publicly say he wants to be traded, unless he feels like paying a massive fine to the NBA. Plus he would be vilified throughout the media and public. If there is one thing LRMR know how to do, it’s get stars publicly vilified.

I get Paul’s concern — the Hornets are not very good right now. He re-signed with the team in 2008 when they looked like an up-and-coming team but they were capped out then and it was going to be hard to add pieces. Then guys reverted to the mean (the guys around Paul were not as good as they played that year, and they stayed healthy) and reality set in.

But he inked the deal. And he may regret that deal now, but that doesn’t mean the Hornets should. Nor should they trade him. Let him complain and pout all he wants. Just follow the plan. Well, in this case, first come up with a plan (Del Demps it’s on you) then follow it.

  1. Nick - Jul 22, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    When the owner says “jump” the ONLY response from a player under contract is “How high?”

  2. E - Jul 22, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    As a long-time public schools coach at the high school level, this situation clearly illustrates for me the dangers of the “AAU-ification” of sports today. The rise of AAU basketball and all of the shadowy figures brought in to cater to the whims of the latest “can’t miss” prospect has contributed to the demise of the team concept in high school sports, which I would argue has done a great deal to damage this concept at the collegiate and professional levels, as well. When athletes are brought up on the notion of aligning themselves with other big name players for the ridiculous number of games played by AAU teams in the off-season, that mentality eventually makes its way into their decisions about where they will gather to play high school ball, as well. Gone are the days when you played for the communty you were born in because the concept of what a community is for these players is constantly massaged by those telling them how great they are. Since many of these athletes who have been catered to for years spend one year at best in college, or go straight to the pros with their groups of “yes men” intact, there is really no opportunity for the growth most of experience when we leave home. Living a life where no one tells you no, or no one helps you to develop the skills needed to overcome adversity only serves to make decision making that is self-serving that much easier. Most of my colleagues have expressed concerns about the disturbing trends that have become more and more commonplace as this “AAU-ification” of high school athletics has grown, and it only seems logical that these same trends would manifest themselves as the athletes reach the next levels of competition.

  3. MJ - Jul 22, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Right Massa, I bow, I scrape, I be a good boy. You own me, that’s for sure. I so dumb, you tell me what to do.

  4. Michael Brooks - Jul 22, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    Are you guys dumb or what? Do you really think Kobe was about to leave LA? This is what palyers do to apply preesure and bring attention to their situation. I don’t believe for one second he intended to leave. I think he believed from the start he was going to get his way i.e. improvement in the roster. I also believe that the LA front office would probably have added pieces anyway.

  5. TNA - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    At the end of the day does it really matter! Everyone wants to complain about how LeBron did his thing even Jordan, Magic, and Charles wanna give their opinion like they were perfect. That man made the decision he made because he could. We all take the opportunities that are presented to us based on how it could help or hinder our life…. why shouldn’t LeBron? Hell he got tired of carrying them fools in the playoffs. They may have helped through out the season but when it counted no one came to help! We all get tired of that one co-worker that’s getting paid but is not pulling their workload. Either you’re a fan of CP3 & LeBron or you’re not!!! Look in the damn mirror and leave them MILLIONAIRES ALONE! Would you let one of them tell you what you should do for your life? Hell NO!!!

  6. luffy - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    Amen Bro! Right on the bucket…

  7. terry - Jul 23, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    Larry Coon
    what a name

  8. LCD Soundsystem - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Chris Paul should play for the Knicks. It is in the best interests of the NBA to have competitive superstar stocked teams in LA, NY, Boston, and Texas…these are the most passionate and largest sports markets. Miami is not a great sports market, but players seem to enjoy the beaches – which is fine…
    Of the cities listed above, only NY is non-competitive right now. Chris Paul changes that the instant he puts on a Knicks jersey. Teaming him and Stoudamire this season puts the Knicks in 50 win territory. Add Carmelo Anthony next season, the Knicks jump to 60-65 win territory.
    With NY, Miam, and Boston all winning 60 games…and the Mavericks, Spurs and Lakers winning close to 60 games…the league will be making more money than ever before…
    Because the TV markets will be fully exploited. I’m sorry, but this is a good thing for the NBA – it’s simply good for business.

  9. RockinRick - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    JD, Either you didn’t read my post or you’re too dim to figure out what I was saying. I hate the Heat almost as much as I hate the wretched Lakers. Let me spell it out for you. The NBA sucks because as presently constituted, it is rigged by the league office office & refs, so that only 4-8 big market teams (yes, San Antonio is a big market, 7th largest city in USA at 1.2 million, Houston is 4th)are ever allowed to really compete for the ultimate prize, championships. Only a total of 8 big market teams have won all of the last 31 champinships. Look it up. In the NFL,during the same period 15 different teams have experienced championship parades. Sure there are some dynasties there also with the 49ers, Cowboys, Steelers winning several. But at least the NFL isn’s so chicken$#!^ that it don’t let small market teams win. They survive that. Some of the most successful teams in NFL history are small market teams. The Steelers have won the most Super Bowls- 6 & hail from a town of just over 400,000. The Packers have won the most overall NFL championships going back to the days before the Super Bowl & they hail from a town of less than 200,000. And you know what, both of those franchises have immense fan bases. Go to a road game where those teams are playing & you’ll see so many of their jerseys, it’ll make you dizzy. But the NBA & David Stermn are too gutless to let that happen. The last small market team to win a championship was the Seattle SuperSonics all the way back in 1979 (another blight on the NBA is the shameful way, Stern’s $%#@ buddy Clay Bennett was allowed to pirate the always profitable Sonics away from Seattle when there are at least 4 franchises in dire financial straights). As for MoRon’s comments, yes I do believe Chris Paul should honor his contract. It once again is for more money than you and I could ever imagine & he signed it at a time when the Hornets were looking good, the number 2 seed in the west in 08. His free agency comes up in two years, he can leave then & go to one of the superteams. No, I’m completely fed up with an NBA system that allows stuff like that to happen. The only way I’d come back to the NBA is if I truly believed it wasn’t rigged, which I’d have to see to believe. Maybe a period of 10 years where at least 4-5 small market teams like Portland, Utah, Indiana, Sacramento won championships. I’m not holding my breath. I’m certain it won’t happen. Things will just continue to be manipulated so that teams like the wretched Lakers & Heat keep winning all the titles. At least the World Wrestling Federation & Harlem Globetrotters are honest about it.

  10. Anonymous - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    RockinRick has been taking lessons in revisionist history again –
    “Funny how the Celtics controlled game 7 from the start until the 4th quarter when the Lakers mysteriously shot 21 free throws, more than the Celts had for the entire game. ”
    The Celtics did not control the game by any measure other than outshooting the Lakers. The Lakers were destroying the Celtics on the boards. Half way into the 3rd quarter the incredible effort that the Celtics had expended on defense began to catch up with them. By the 4th quarter they were completely fatigued. As the Lakers made their comeback the crowd boosted their adrenaline and they became even more energetic and kept pouring it on. When you are that much more fatigued than the other team there’s only one way to try to slow down the other team and that is to foul and hope the fouls aren’t called. There is nothing mysterious about it. Just watch the game. The refs did miss Gasol’s up and down turnover but that was about it. I’ve watched game 7 ten times and I have yet to see where the Celtics got called for fouls that they didn’t commit. If the Celtics hadn’t made those 3 spectacular 3 pointers in a row the Lakers would have won going away by 11 to 13 points.

  11. Hoops McCann - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Hey RockinRick –
    “Maybe a period of 10 years where at least 4-5 small market teams like Portland, Utah, Indiana, Sacramento won championships. I’m not holding my breath.”
    PORTLAND was up by 15 points in the 4th quarter in game 7 of the 2000 Western Conf championship game and had one of the great meltdowns in sports as the Lakers came roaring back to beat them. And their were practically zero fouls called in that 4th quarter so you can’t blame the refs. They would have easily beaten Philadelphia.
    INDIANA went on to play the Lakers in the Finals that year – they had their chance.
    UTAH had two chances in the Finals against the Bulls in the late 90s. They should have won at least one of them.
    SACRAMENTO lost game 6 by a whisker and game 7 at home in overtime to the Lakers in the WC finals. How? They missed almost every shot they took in the overtime. Can’t blame the refs for that. Sacramento surely would have gone on to win the title against New Jersey as the Lakers swept them. They had their chance for a title.
    So there are your 4 teams that all should have at least one ring. Quit blaming David Stearn et al with your conspiracy theories. Recognize the reality. There was only one common thread that prevented these small market teams from getting a ring, and it wasn’t Stearn or the refs –
    it was Phil Jackson.

  12. RockinRick - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Thanks for lobbing me a high, hard one, Hoops McCann, so I can hit it out of the park. You need to read Tim Donaghy’s book, “Personal Foul”. He specifically named 3 of the 4 instances you noted above as games being fixed. He named game 7 of the 2000 Portland-Lakers series, game 6 of 2002 Sacramento-Laker series, & Game 6 of the Bulls-Jazz series in 1998 as fixes. He dedicated around 10 full pages to the Sacramento game. Do I believe him, heck yes, it all makes sense. People thought Jose Canseco was a quack also. I had suspected all this for years & his book tied it all together. It has always seemed fishy to me that any controversial game EVER has ended with the big market teams winning. Sooner or later the odds would dictate otherwise if it was legit. Do you remember one game EVER where the Lakers or Bulls got screwed & Portland or Utah won? Of course you don’t because it’s NEVER happened. I won’t go over the Lakers-Portland & Lakers-Sacramento games, but once again read the book. As for the Bulls-Jazz game, you can watch the replay & you will see how obvious it was. And I’m not even talking about Jordan’s obvious offensive foul that wasn’t called on his game winning shot and pose. There were 2 separate 3 point attempts, both of which went in during that game, that altered it forever in the Bulls favor. In the second quarter, Jeff Hornacek of Utah shot a 3 that went in, but the refs incorrectly ruled that it was after the shot clock expired. Replays clearly showed it wasn’t & should have counted. It was not reversed. Later, early in the 4th quarter, Ron Harper of the Bulls shot another 3, that also went in. This time, however, it was clearly after the clock expired, but the refs said it was good. Replays again showed it should not have counted. Guess what??? Not reversed. A 6 point swing in favor of the wretched Bulls. So Jordan’s last second push off shouldn’t have even mattered. If only one of those calls had been made correctly, the Jazz would have been up by 4, when Jordan pushed off on Bryon Russell. If both had been made correctly, they would have been up by 7. Watch the DVD. I guarantee it’s on there. I watched it again about a month ago. Read the book. And Stern has done nothing about this. That’s because he’s behind it. It’s a travesty. The “Association” is a joke. And that’s why I won’t be watching. I already know the ending. And hopefully there is a lockout next year & it erases the whole year. These bozos deserve it.

  13. IceRod - Jul 23, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    Jim, since when did it become a crime to do things your way. Lebron not only did what he wanted to do, he did it the way he wanted to do it. Sure it was the worst possible scenario for the Cavs; but that doesn’t compare to what he’s done to that organization and for that city. Further, how many times does ownership & management treat the players like a piece of meat leaving them to claim its business. They uproot families, friends and relationships established at critical times in a players life without any warning. And the players are left to swallow the “its only business” pill.
    Also, Lebron, Wade and Bosh have played there asses off risking career ending injuries trying to be champions because they had no real help. The Cavs had their chance, now Lebron, Wade and Bosh have there chance. Let’s be fair.

  14. loungefly - Jul 24, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Thank you. That is a great analysis of what happened. People want to blame crap on conspiracies, refs, etc…how about just the fact the celtics played like crap! Anyways…nice summary. Well done.

  15. JD - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    “Thanks for lobbing me a high, hard one, Hoops McCann, so I can hit it out of the park”. Yet you only give one example, Bulls vs Jazz. Hardly hitting “it out of the park” when you completely ignore the other 3 teams while at the same time attempt to weakly tie it in to one Bulls vs Jazz scenario.
    Stop watching the NBA all you want, it’s within your right to think that the ‘Association’ is a joke. I, on the other hand, have the right to think that it is not entirely a joke, ‘The Decision’ aside.
    To Anonymous: Excellent analysis of last year’s NBA Finals Game 7.No other way to put it, the Celtics got beat out of their own style, which I’m sure the Lakers relish even more.

  16. RJ - Jul 25, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    This is all nonsense, trade demands and unhappy players is nothing new. Players do it in all sports. If a team can trade a non preforming player, then hell a player can certainly ask to be traded from a non performing team. Does the team have to grant his wishes, absolutely not.
    Kobe was vilified a couple years ago for doing worst, and now he’s being compared to Jordan. So get over it, and be happy you can a story to cover.

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