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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. John - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    If he somehow gets traded then i better see article after article of people slamming him like they did Lebron and see guys like Jordan and Magic criticize Paul for not trying to “beat the others” to win rings.
    Sadly though if he gets traded I am pretty sure we won’t see anything close to the Lebron drama. Funny since Lebron was freely able to choose where to go as a FREE AGENT and played out his contract with Cleveland but somehow that is wrong while Paul can cry and it’ll just be him wanting to win.
    Oh and the Cavs roster was mediocre at best around Lebron so people can’t even imply he had a far better situation compared to Paul.

  2. Jim - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    @John: if Chris Paul goes on National TV to tell us all he is leaving, then feel free to slam away. Wait that isn’t going to happen? I’m not sure who said it was “wrong” for Lebron to go play for Miami. That is his right as a free agent. What people are upset about was the way he went about it. Signing only a three year extension to force the team to look to the present with any moves, refusing to recruit players to come play with him, refusing to take the teams calls after the season, and then announcing his “decision” on national TV. That is the issue and its amazing there are apologists like you out there.
    As for Paul, no way Hornets should give into his demands. They have him under contract for two more seasons and he should be forced to honor them.
    Final point: that mediocre Cavs roster won 66 and 61 games respectively the last two seasons. Yes they faltered in the playoffs, but this revisionist history is absurd. Those teams were deep and talented. What they lacked was a true second superstar to put next to Lebron, though not for lack of effort.

  3. Screw LeBron - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Thanks LeBron, for ruining the NBA.

  4. Yosef - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Wait, I’m confused. There is still basketball to be played this year right? How exactly did Lebron ruin the NBA? If you’re a Cavs fan, I can understand. I’m not going to say what he did was the right thing to do by any means, but people are completely blowing this out of proportion. Big deal, a guy wants to go play with his friends and he happens to have an ego. Just like everyone else in the NBA.
    This is the whole Tiger thing all over. People getting in an uproar for something that they’ll forget about in 2 weeks. Again, unless you’re a Cleveland fan.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    One minor quibble…
    “nobody saw the Pau Gasol trade coming”
    Should be changed to
    “nobody saw the Pau Gasol GIVEAWAY coming”
    That was no trade.

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    One minor quibble…
    “nobody saw the Pau Gasol trade coming”
    Should be changed to
    “nobody saw the Pau Gasol GIVEAWAY coming”
    That was no trade.

  7. Bill-Sonora - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Cant compare Chris Paul to Lebron James.

  8. steve - Jul 22, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    espn just announced new tv show coming next week from chris paul. it is going to be called the demand. what a cry baby he his.i am sure if things dont work out on his new team, he wont like it there either. these guys are a total joke.

  9. RockinRick - Jul 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Amen Chris Florentino, The Pau Gasol trade was a travesty. They could have traded him to Portland for LaMarcus Aldridge, Phoenix for Shawn Marion (they traded him for a fading Shaq weeks later) or a variety of other teams and actually got something in return. At least Kurt Helin points out what an @$$ Kobe was in demanding a trade & dissing his own teamate. I see so many articles nowadays that say Kobe did things the “right” way or that he’s “old school” or stuff like that, that is just pure bull. Kobe is just as much of a punk as LeBron, Paul or any of these spoiled jerks. He was ready to bolt before the outrageous Gasol gift. It appalls me that teams trade players to the Lakers (& hopefully now NOT the Heat), so that those teams can continue beating their teams. What in the world is wrong with those GM’s? This is why the NBA has become so bogus in recent years. Does anyone realize that only 8 different teams have won the championship in the 31 years since 1980? What hope does New Orleans or Cleveland or Portland have when these “superstars” manipulate the system to congregate on the same team? That circle of 8 is going to grow even smaller to maybe 4 teams capable of winning the title. Why bother having all the other small market teams in the league at all? And those teams actually have real, loyal fans, not front running bandwagon fans like the Lakers or Heat. And when one of those teams come close, like Sacramento did in 02 or Utah in 98, the results will just be fixed as the result of corrupt officiating as documented in Tim Donaghy’s book. I’m not sure this years finals weren’t fixed. 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. Hmmm. The system had always been set up so the worst teams got the best talent in the draft, allowing them to get superstars to improve their teams. So people like Clyde Drexler were the face of teams like the TrailBlazers for years. But now if you have a bad year or two, the stars bolt. There is no loyalty. It is not the birthright of every superstar to win championships. And while I would not call championships overrated, they are not the be all or end all defining a players greatness. Jim Plunkett & Phil Simms won 2 Super Bowls. Would anyone seriously take them over Dan Marino? Of course not. John Havlicek (was great, but) won 9 titles, while Jerry West & Oscar Robertson only won 1 each. Ditto, great as Havlicek was, would anyone take him over West or Robertson? I think not. Finally, these guys are under contract making outrageous sums of money, you or I could not even dream of. They need to represent their cities with class. But that don’t happen anymore. That’s why the NBA is pathetic. I’m not watching next year. I know how it ends-Lakers over Heat in 7 with the Lakers shooting 40 throws in game 7 to make up for any talent edge the Heat might have. And so, one of those 8 teams wins again & David Stern is smiling as the Laker fans riot again.

  10. Paul from Ohio - Jul 22, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    @John – Chris Paul’s situation is in no way shape or form similar to LeBrons mishandling of business. LeBron handled things like a kid. He had every RIGHT to leave Cleveland – I’ll give him that. Paul is being up front and honest about everything – “if the team isn’t commited to winning – trade me” A reasonable request. LeBron not only signed a 3 year extension in 07 which limited roster options for the future – but he also responded to every “new york/free agency” question with “I’ve never given any indication to people that I want to leave ohio – I love Ohio” more or less. He kept EVERYONE in the dark – never helped in recruting and hung us out to dry by keeping us hostage while he made his “live announcement”. But then once in Miami – he is trying to get everyone to come to south beach and promising rings. Chris Paul is being up front and honest. LeBron acted like a Douche.

  11. MoRon - Jul 22, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Right, so what your saying is players should just sit back and be happy with whatever moves management makes. Good or bad players around you shouldn’t matter because that is not your department, your just a dumb player that shouldn’t question the idiotic moves management makes, toe the line. Don’t help fellow players improve their game, don’t offer suggestions to the coaching staff, don’t give your teammates a kick in the butt when they are slacking, accept the fact that you have no control over who is hired to coach the team or who will be on the team. Accept your lot in life to be a winner or loser because you were drafted by some team that has a miserable owner and fan base. In other words, be a loser. If a player doesn’t give everything he has to winning, even demanding improvements to the team; he’s not worth spit.

  12. Juan Bernal - Jul 22, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Well, I see that the self-proclaimed “King James” has led the way of spoiled, millionaire brats who cannot work to win with their teams but demand the instant road to glory —- teamed up with other millionaire brats. Although I have followed the NBA since the Celtics were perennial winners in the 50-60s and the Lakers moved to LA — Go Elgin Baylor and Jerry West! — I’m now ready to propose that the whole stinking outfit (NBA OF SPOILED MILLIONAIRE BRATS) be disbanded in favor of real athletes who love competition and compete well, instead of looking to becoming millionaire celebrities. Lebron-type-action is what we (fans, NBA, coaches, promoters) have created; yes it is an ugly monster!

  13. Mike - Jul 22, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    MoRon:
    I think the point is that CP3’s opportunity to leave comes at the end of his deal. If he is unhappy with the Hornets, then move on. Until then, happy, angry, weepy, or indifferent, Chris Paul is under contract, making many millions of dollars, and – yes- he should accept that and be a professional.
    Now, from the Hornets’ standpoint, it would behoove the team to try to improve and hope to keep their superstar long term, but that should not be CP3’s concern.

  14. JD - Jul 22, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    I hope Chris Paul changes his mind. He has been a tremendous asset to the Hornets organization. If he has learned anything from ‘The Decision’, he should hire a better production core than LeBron James did. I mean for goodness sake is Jim Gray the best you can do, LeBron? CP3 should get Hannah Storm.

  15. JD - Jul 22, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Making excuses for your Miami Heat already I see.

  16. Dave G. - Jul 22, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    There was a trade involving Pau Gasol? Where I come from it’s called a give-a-way. Try and tell me again the NBA isn’t fixed!

  17. JD - Jul 22, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Where I come from, planet Earth, when a losing franchise is hemmorhaging money, it does what it can to cut cost even if it means trading their best asset away. CP3 and the New Orleans Hornets are now on the same boat. These are not “give-away” trades. So what planet are you from? Oh, BTW, Memphis seems to have built another set of young talent on that squad with the draft picks they received from the Lakers…This trade is not, IS NOT, as one sided as it seems.

  18. SonOfaNOLA - Jul 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    The comments some of you make crack me up. The moron (CP3) is a player under contract.
    This guy is a player under contract who is getting well paid and is going to demand things of the people who employ him.
    A player under contract is going to force a team to not only trade him but trade him to a team of his liking.
    This is what is wrong with the NBA. The inmates run the asylum. I just think of the reaction an NFL team would have to something like this.
    It would probably go something like this:
    Tony Romo: Jerry I don’t like playing for the Boys anymore your not trying to build a winner here I want to get traded to the Vikings or the Stealers.
    Jerry Jones: Tony I am gona do you a favor your fired and good luck getting any big money contracts after this nonsense you pulled here today that I will make sure to tell the whole world about this
    The guaranteed contracts have…repeated have to go. The NBA has to pull back a lot of that power that has all gone to the players. Players shouldn’t be picking coaches and holding owners hostage. I fear that most of you will disagree with me and in that case this transcends sports and society has just become that messed up. It is called respect for you superiors and loyalty to more than just yourself.

  19. Murray Rizberg - Jul 22, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    Actually, you CAN compare CP3 to LBJ: inch-for-inch, CP3 is probably a better basketball player than LeBron. Unfortunately, CP3 is only six-feet tall, which is a huge disadvantage in the NBA. If CP3 had LeBron’s height, he would be considered the best basketball player in the world: he is a superb ball handler and passer; he shoots well from the outside; he drives the lane effectively (either finishes the layup, draws fouls or finds the open man); he gets position well and gets plenty of rebounds; and he has superior court vision and anticipation – what does Chris Paul NOT to do well?!?
    His only weakness is his height – that’s it. And if not for that, he would be considered the game’s best.

  20. Murray Rizberg - Jul 22, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Actually, you CAN compare CP3 to LBJ: inch-for-inch, CP3 is probably a better basketball player than LeBron. Unfortunately, CP3 is only six-feet tall, which is a huge disadvantage in the NBA. If CP3 had LeBron’s height, he would be considered the best basketball player in the world: he is a superb ball handler and passer; he shoots well from the outside; he drives the lane effectively (either finishes the layup, draws fouls or finds the open man); he gets position well and gets plenty of rebounds; and he has superior court vision and anticipation – what does Chris Paul NOT to do well?!?
    His only weakness is his height – that’s it. And if not for that, he would be considered the game’s best.

  21. Dr. Jay - Jul 22, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    Hey Rick,
    Whine much?
    J

  22. jason - Jul 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    John,
    Don’t try to compare Lebron to Chris Paul. Lebron has been compared to MJ and Kobe since high school. No one has ever said Chris paul is the next MJ or Kobe. You’re trying to compare apples to oranges. Don’t be so ignorant man…BUT, if he or anyone else goes on nat’l tv and does what Lebron did, they will be scrutinized. Hopefully, no one will ever do what Lebron did, that was classless to say the least.

  23. Cordae - Jul 22, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    While CP3 is among the leagues best……youre wrong. the only thing he does better than lebron is shoot. I do agree LeBron is a freak of nature in size. But he’s versatile. His stats were better than ANY point-guard in the league over that 13 game stretch when Mo went down. By all means I’m not saying He should play the three, but come on now Nate robinson plays bigger than CP3 in the paint. lol i’m sure you notice…..if you watch basketball..
    And Kurt………..I’m LOVING your articles more and more everyday. You’re bringing up points your colleagues FAIL to. Kobe was the BIGGEST crybaby when he wanted to leave, rightfully so! He knew what victory took and the lakers didnt have it at that point. So UNLIKE CLEVELAND! what did they do? Went out and got GOOD talent! Not washed up has-beens. And all of you bitter LeBron haters fail to realize that he didnt take the Kobe-CP3 route…….he never fixed his mouth to say “I want out of Cleveland” you all would scrutinize him just as much if he did. Thats a damn shame….

  24. rocwwm - Jul 22, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Chris is under contract until 2012 and that’s the way it should play out. He is the player, not the GM or the coach.
    He is being paid to play basketball to the best of his ability and nothing else.
    Wouldn.t give a cent to see Kobe Bryant or Lebron James, not even buy anything which includes their names.
    In fact, maybe fans should just not attend any game they play. Then and only then will their “value” drop. Or, at least, give them the cold shoulder (open the newspaper and hold it in front), as those players are introduced.
    I feel the “big” three planned that move in 2006 when they signed contracts that would let them go in 2010. They were going to be on the same team, although maybe not the Heat.
    I was the clock operator, first on the shot clock, and later the game clock (1.5 years) for the N.O. Bucs. I remember a game in which the Bucs were getting creamed at halftime and remarking to my friend who was the official scorer; man this is going to be a long night. His remark was, don’t worry the refs will let the Bucs back in the game (free throws) and then let them play the last two minutes. And damn if it did’t happen that way. The Bucs lost anyway by several points.
    I can believe that the Lakers got help to win the series.
    Regards
    rocwwm

  25. Scott - Jul 22, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    I hope if they trade him, the Lakers would be a great spot. Get rid of Odom and Bynam for Paul and okafer.

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