Free Agency Breeze-Shootin’: Armadillo Special

Texas-sized beefcake. (Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports)

Patrick Redford and Miles Wray examine the special brand of lunacy that has descended upon the league's Texas teams thus far in Free Agency 2014.


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.