Nov 29, 2011, 8:01 AM EDT
When the New Orleans Hornets reach out to Chris Paul not long after Dec. 9, they will offer him a max deal that will have one more guaranteed year and be worth $27 million more than what any other team can offer. That’s a lot of money.
And there are not many people — even in New Orleans — that think he will take it. It’s not that he doesn’t love the city and his teammates, but this is a franchise without an owner now. As our own Ira Winderman said, the only chance the Hornets have of keeping him is getting a new owner fast, one that can convince CP3 to stay.
More than likely he’s on the move. To either the Knicks (as we all expected) or the Clippers.
Wait, what? The Clippers? That’s what Chris Broussard reports at ESPN.
Paul’s first choice by far is to team up with the Knicks’ Anthony and Amare Stoudemire to form yet another Eastern Conference Big 3, according to sources close to the situation.
The Knicks should have enough room beneath the salary cap next summer to offer Paul, who can become a free agent after this season, a contract starting around $13.5 million, just below the maximum. And while New Orleans could offer him more money, Paul, like his buddies (LeBron) James and (Dwyane) Wade did a year ago, will gladly take a little less to join the team of his choice….
There are, however, a few other teams Paul would consider signing extensions with, most notably the Los Angeles Clippers. Yes, the Clippers.
Now that Blake Griffin plays for L.A.’s other team, the Clippers have become a hot destination franchise. Stacked with young talent, they could offer any combination of Eric Gordon, Mo Williams, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu.
I get why the Clippers are attractive but I ask this — would Chris Paul really trust to sign on with a team owned by Donald Sterling?
New Orleans is in a tough spot, the same spot Denver was with Carmelo Anthony. They may need to move Paul to get some value back for losing their star. On the other hand, right now the Hornets are owned by the league. There is no way the league could trade Paul to New York, or even the Clippers. The owners just locked out in part to keep superteams from forming superteams, the league can’t then sanction one.
Basically, the Hornets need to get an owner. Fast.
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