Chris Broussard and Marc Stein of ESPN are reporting that word from the New Orleans Hornets organization is that the franchise may trade All-World PG Chris Paul before the 2011-12 season tips off on Christmas Day. If true, kudos to the Hornets for thinking clearly and progressively regarding their immediate chances of keeping Paul.
CP3 has shown no interest whatsoever of signing an extension in the Big Easy. And, to be honest, why would he? The Hornets since Paul was drafted in 2005 have been temporarily moved to Oklahoma City because of Hurricane Katrina, seen attendance drop to a level that, if not for a MVP level season in 2008 by CP3, would have given the team cause to break its lease in New Orleans and bounce to another town, and have been infamously sold to the NBA after former owner George Shinn could no longer afford to continue to run the team into the ground. As much as Chris might love the city, the organization deserves little to no love beyond this season.
And if Chris Paul can clearly see all the chaos that’s going around the franchise, there’s no doubt the Hornets brass can see it as well. The team has very little prospects for the future, whether it be on the court or as a professional basketball organization in the city of New Orleans. They’ve been anything but stable during Paul’s career and face the irony that they’re best shot of improving is letting go of the only reason for their current relevancy.
Of course, there’s also the issue of money. If the Hornets trade Paul now, he’ll be eligible for a five-year, $100 million deal under the new CBA rules with whatever team he is traded to, after a six-month grace period from the time of the trade. So the two sides need each other right now. Paul for the Hornets to get back enough assets to be a viable franchise going forward, and the Hornets for Paul to land in a better situation than he’s been forced to endure over the last seven years.