The reality is that, in these times, every NBA team is trying to cut costs — most notably in the form of player salaries — whenever possible. But there are a handful of franchises whose desire to save money is full public knowledge.
The Hornets are one of those teams. And with the League’s highest payroll going into this free agency period, it was assumed somebody would be traded in a salary dump. Tyson Chandler was and is still the most sensible candidate (more teams would want Tyson at his price tag than Peja Stojakovic at his`), but according to Chris Paul, not even the franchise centerpiece is safe. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Due to its financial limitations, New Orleans is the only team in the Southwest Division that has yet to acquire a player through free agency or by a trade to improve its roster this offseason.
“In this league, anything can happen,” Paul told Pro Basketball News. “I can be dealt. It’s possible. It’s possible.”
In response Friday, Hornets President Hugh Weber said the possibility of them trading Paul is zero.
“There is no chance of him getting traded,” Weber said sternly. “I don’t know how to say it any stronger, but there is just no deal we would contemplate for Chris. I can’t speak for Chris, but I think he was talking about the nature of the business and the fact that the question was asked the way it was.”
Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower said from Las Vegas Friday morning he is investigating many things in regard to free agency and possible trades to improve the roster, but he said trading Paul would not meet any of those objectives.
“I have not nor will I enter any discussions for him,” Bower said. “(Trading Paul) is not going to happen. I think what Chris said just shows his selflessness that he’s not different than anyone else on the team.”
While team execs have been known to outright lie in situations like this, I believe the Hornets’ brass this time. CP’s comments did sound more like a general statement than any kind of insider information leak, and I think the Hornets would only trade him if they got truly desperate.
(The bigger issue here is that you have to wonder if Paul feels like the organization is doing all it can to surround him with the necessary piece to win.)
At the same time, however, no one is above getting dealt, and every player has a price. Paul makes $13.7 million this upcoming season, and $15.2M the following year.
If you wanted CP3 on your squad, what kind of trade package would you offer to get him?
Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune