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Looks Like Paul’s Staying in the Big Easy

Cross off Chris Paul as a potential franchise trade target for this season. After what happened today, it looks like he’ll be a Hornet at least until he becomes a free agent in 2012.

Early Wednesday, the New Orleans Hornets, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, and Indiana Pacers agreed on a four-team trade that involves a number of notable personnel moves. Here’s the breakdown of what each team got:

Hornets get: Trevor Ariza (from Rockets)

Nets get: Troy Murphy (from Pacers)

Rockets get: Courtney Lee (from Nets)

Pacers get: Darren Collison and James Posey (from Hornets)

The ostensible winners of this deal are the Pacers, who get the long-awaited point guard in Collison — who’s quite a catch — and the defensively sound Posey. With Collison, Danny Granger, and first-round pick Paul George, the Pacers are developing quite a stock of young talent.

The Hornets make a move to appease Paul, getting rid of his surprisingly talented competition at point guard and adding a seasoned defender and shooter to help the team in the short term. It’s evident now that Paul won’t be going anywhere in a deal, as New Orleans no longer has the safety net of Collison to fill Paul’s absence.

For the Rockets, this move starts to clear up a potential power struggle at the wing position, as Ariza wants to be a top option and Kevin Martin already is. Now there’s no doubt in Houston who the No. 1 scorer is. Lee adds defensive toughness for the Kobe Bryants of the Western Conference, and he showed in Orlando that his shooting can be an asset when he’s a fourth or fifth option.

As for the Nets, this move is all about the future. While the move does a lot to constrict their cap space for this season, Murphy is only a temporary solution at power forward so that Derrick Favors has a year to develop coming off the bench and making spot starts if Murphy can’t play. Furthermore, Murphy’s expiring $11.1 million deal makes the pursuit of Carmelo Anthony next summer more of a viable option.