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Would the Hornets Really Deal Paul?

January 20, 2010: Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets in action against the Memphis Grizzlies during an NBA game in the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, LA. Tyler Kaufman/CSM.

Source: Yardbarker.com

Rumors have surfaced recently that the New Orleans Hornets are contemplating dealing Chris Paul, the best player on the team and the cornerstone of the franchise. In 2009-2010, he missed a handful of games as a result of a meniscus injury, and during his time on the court his performance was down. Even so, would it be worthwhile to part ways with him?

Clearly, the emergence of Darren Collison as a fantastic passer in the league next year would soften the blow of a swap of Paul. In addition, the team is in rebuilding mode after a rather unflattering campaign, so getting rid of CP3′s contract would help the cause.

Of late, the New Jersey Nets, among other teams, have been the subject of reports relating to Paul. Some sources have said that the Nets made an offer of Devin Harris and the No. 3 overall pick in this Thursday’s draft for the superstar point guard.

That swap doesn’t seem to make much sense. Not only would acquiring Harris keep Collison in a second-string role and hinder his development, but it also wouldn’t be ideal from a salary-cutting perspective either. He still has a few years left on his current deal, and with the amount he’s getting paid, it’s not exactly relief to take on his contract.

Aside from the salary implications of dealing Paul, there’s just so much to miss if he’s gone. He’s a wizard on the court, and just last year he was drawing some nominations as the league’s best player ahead of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Just because he had one down year clearly resulting from injuries doesn’t mean he’s down for the count — he’s very likely to rebound and return to his franchise-player form.

In addition, his presence on the team is an instant marketing tool and a draw for fans. People like to watch Chris Paul play, and considering the state of the Hornets franchise, they could stand to put some butts in the seats.

Lastly, some have suggested that Paul could be an enticing factor for top-tier free agents. While New Orleans isn’t in a position to sign one of the many stars in this July’s class, they could position themselves to make a run at Carmelo Anthony next summer or someone else down the road. Certainly those players wouldn’t remind receiving pinpoint pass after pinpoint pass from one of the best quarterbacks in the NBA.

To be honest, I’m not taking the bait. I really don’t think the Hornets will trade him, and if they do, they’d better get equal value. Harris and the No. 3? I’m sorry, but that’s not enough.

Hardwood Paroxysm