The Mavericks on and off again flirtation with the Hornets and Chris Paul finally has some traction. Chris Paul has demanded a trade from New Orleans.
Chris Paul might be the best point guard in the NBA. He's an elite defender, sensational passer, he attacks the basket consistently, has averaged 20 and 10 for his career and is only 25 years old.
Just what the Mavericks have been saving Dampier for, the elusive superstar they've always coveted!
No need to fear though, despite trading Dampier earlier this month, the Mavericks still have the necessary pieces to make an offer for Chris Paul.
The Mavericks replaced Dampier with Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca. Now, since they were traded earlier this month, neither can be traded in combination with other players for 2 months. If Paul does not get traded before the season starts, the Mavericks could conceivably wait until September 13th to make a trade. In that case, I assume the package would revolve around Beaubois/Butler/Chandler and/or Stevenson/Barea for Paul/Okafor/Posey.
However, if the Hornets are determined to move Paul before the season starts, the Mavericks can still make the same offer-but they'll have to get cute. Tyson Chandler can not be traded in combination until September 13th, luckily Chandler's salary matches up perfectly with Chris Paul. Therefore, the Mavericks can make two separate deals to appease New Orleans.
1. Trade Chandler for Paul.
2. Trade. Beaubois/Butler/Stevenson and picks for Posey/Okafor.
This would successfully bypass the Chandler obstacle while still presenting the Hornets with roughly the same deal.
If the Mavericks do end up with Paul, there is no question he would be the starter over the aging Kidd. So, where does Kidd play? You could try Kidd at the 2 guard with Paul running the point. Kidd has demonstrated the ability to guard opposing 2 guards before and his lack of quickness would not be exposed as much as it is at the point guard position. With Kidd's drastically improved 3 point shooting over the past few years, he could be an effective spot up shooter. Kidd would obviously still get some minutes at the point backing up Paul, but most of his minutes would have to come at the 2 guard position. Your other options are benching him or trading him. I don't think either of those are likely.
Emeka Okafor is overpaid. That does not mean he's useless. Okafor would fill a need on the Mavericks. In fact, I think Okafor would be a major player here if a deal is struck between these two teams. Okafor would absorb the backup center minutes and also help backup Dirk at the 4.
James Posey would be a salary dump, he might be serviceable, but he won't be much more than a 12th man here.
Knicks: The New York Knicks can actually offer an attractive package mixing young talent, (Anthony Randolph, Wilson Chandler, maybe even Danilo Gallinari) with the expiring contract of Eddy Curry. They could also take on the contract of James Posey if they include Ronny Turiaf in the deal. However, they can not acquire Paul and take on Posey's salary and take on Okafor's salary.
Magic: The Hornets would struggle finding a match with the Magic. Any deal involving Paul would presumably have Jameer Nelson heading the other way. One of the reasons the Hornets might be willing to trade Paul is the emergence of young point guard Darren Collison, which would diminish Nelson's value to the Hornets. Of course, the Hornets and Magic could facilitate a trade using Nelson to land New Orleans young talent elsewhere. I'm sure the Pacers or Grizzlies, for instance, would love to get their hands on Nelson.
Blazers: The Blazers are loaded with young talent. They can offer a combination of Nicholas Batum, Jerryd Bayless, Rudy Fernandez and the expiring contract of Joel Przybilla to make a trade work. They can not take on the contracts of Posey and/or Okafor in any such deals.
Lakers: They can offer Andrew Bynum. Straight up. Would New Orleans be interested in that? A Collison/Bynum combination would be a pretty devastating combo for years to come, if Bynum can stay healthy that is.
The Mavericks have a shot at Chris Paul, a shot. At this point, I think the Knicks have to be the favorite for his services with Portland at 2A and Dallas at 2B. If the rumored Al Jefferson deal had gone down, they would not be in this conversation right now, but it didn't, so here they are. Playing the waiting game, just like the rest of us.