Chris Paul and a Hail Mary pass | Magic Basketball

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Dec 02

Chris Paul and a Hail Mary pass

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

A growing number of [NBA executives] starting to believe that Magic will indeed give strong consideration to doing Dwight deal before season starts.

Rather than getting knee-deep in opt-out, opt-in, sign-and-trade, or extend-and-trade scenarios, let’s get right to the point.

That’s what NBA executives believe. Until the front office for the Orlando Magic sit down, talk with Dwight Howard, and find out what he wants to do, no one knows what’s going to happen. That being said, if Howard makes his intentions known to the Magic that he’s leaving and not planning on re-signing with the team then yes, general manager Otis Smith should do everything in his power to trade the big fella as soon as possible. And with a number of teams interested in Howard, like the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets, among others, Smith wouldn’t have a shortage of trade options at his disposal.

But, as Matt Moore of CBSSports.com astutely points out, before deciding on trading Howard or not, it would behoove Orlando not to try everything in their power to acquire Chris Paul.

The Magic have every reason to trade for Chris Paul without the promise of an extension. With no consideration of the extension, there’s nothing to hold up a deal. The Magic are facing the same cliff the Hornets are, staring down the barrell of Dwight Howard’s big-market shotgun. They are burdened with pieces which hold no value once Howard is traded. If Howard leaves, they will wind up with a huge amount of salary and no superstar, a terrible team with a supporting structure holding up nothing. They have two options. Win a championship this year or give up and trade Howard for nothing now. Even a move for Andrew Bogut as Berger has said will be discussed won’t keep them in title contention. That’s what Howard means to a team. That’s what an MVP candidate means.

It sounds like a crazy idea. Why would the Magic throw the kitchen sink at the New Orleans Hornets for Paul? Because Orlando has little to lose and everything to gain. The gain is that Paul and Howard stay. The risk is that Paul and Howard walk away and the Magic are left with nothing. But the thing is that if Orlando doesn’t acquire Paul, then Howard probably walks away anyway.

Sure, the Magic could trade Howard, acquire as many assets as possible, and start from scratch. However, if Howard is adamant that he must be traded to the Lakers, for example, the centerpiece in a deal would be Andrew Bynum and even though he’s talented with the potential to become even better, it’s a risk to rebuild around a player like him that has an injury history. The last thing Orlando needs to deal with is another Grant Hill situation. Granted, there would be more coming from the Lakers like other players and draft picks as well as possible salary relief. But how much more value could the Magic really squeeze out of Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom in a trade? Because there’s no point in either Gasol or Odom sticking around on a rebuilding team. And it’s safe to say that a first-round pick (or multiple first-rounders) from Los Angeles in the low-20s doesn’t sound too appealing.

It’s true that Orlando could play it safe, accumulate assets, and go from there. This isn’t the time to play it safe. This is the time to take a risk.

And the beauty of it all is, with Paul making his intentions clear that he wants to be with the New York Knicks (forcing the Hornets to trade him for next to nothing or let him sign as a free agent and get nothing in return), the Magic have something to offer. It’s true that Orlando doesn’t have a lot of assets but surely a trade package including Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, a 2012 first round pick, and whatever else is something. It’s more than whatever New York can offer in a deal to New Orleans. If the Hornets were forced to choose between the Magic’s offer or the Knicks’ offer, it isn’t a hard decision (this idea goes out the window if Paul is willing to play somewhere else besides New York).

Orlando gets one more shot as an elite team and championship contender, while New Orleans accumulates better assets in their rebuilding efforts.

It’s no secret that Smith is a risk-taker.

As such, and as weird as it sounds, the Magic are in a unique position to take a risk and trade for Paul without a long-term commitment.

So why not try?

10 comments
Dime
Dime

Hornets have only two legit options: Clippers and Magic. Magic have good chance to land Paul... CP3 won't approve deal to most teams and ORL shouldn't require promise to resign, CP3 could make way more money in ORL and never find a better partner than D12.

Amnesty arenas and take CP3, D12 + C Landry + T Prince (or Battier) + C Butler (or M Thorton) at SG, along with Anderson and Turk, Q, Duhon, and a b/u center to the finals.

Wundervogel
Wundervogel

Look, I understand the concept of getting something for Dwight if he is planning on leaving.  But, I have an absolute crazy idea.  Blow up the freaking roster.  If you can get Paul, fine get him.  But call everyone GM in the league and tell them that every player on the roster is available.  Show Arenas the Amnesty door, and see what you can get.  Jumble the entire roster.  Who knows, you might get Iguadola? The point is, get to the best possible position with your roster by the end of the season.  Then look at Dwight and say: "This is what we got, we are going after Chris Paul and you.  What do you say?"

Just as side note, I am not crazy about my own plan either.  By the way, what if we could get Rashard Lewis for cheap.  He is a shell of his former self, but, for a good price we could have another shooter back on the roster.  I am just realizing how terrible we are...   

Drew Whitcomb
Drew Whitcomb

For me this is option A and the Clippers are option B. I love the win now mentality this won engender. Plus, building a team around the Heat's two biggest weaknesses would be a great strategic decision. 

And if it doesn't work, we can always start over when the walk away.

Carlo Simone
Carlo Simone

Paul is indicating that he wants to play with the Knicks but is that even possible without him taking the most ridiculous pay cut ever?

At least in Orlando he and Dwight both can re-sign for big money and the team can build around them.  To me, I think this is really the best basketball and financial destination for both of them.  But if they just don't want to live and play here, that's another ball of wax.

As far as assets go, I agree with Omagic07 that most of the current players being offered (with the exception of Eric Gordon) aren't really ones I think are incredibly valuable.  I think if a deal is made it would be more reliant on the draft picks than anything else.

So for me, the Clippers deal is the best so far but first option should be what you're referring to as the "Hail Mary" pass for CP3.  It just makes too much sense to me.  Hopefully my Magic fandom isn't clouding my judgement and it makes sense to all the parties involved as well.

Allen Buckley
Allen Buckley

Exactly.  Otis needs to at least try and make this move.  If somehow Otis did pull it off and land CP3 I think those two would have a very hard time breaking up that union.  They would have to join two separate teams if they left because the big market teams don't have the cap space for both of them.  Would Dwight really want to give up playing with CP3 after his MVP year scoring 25 plus a game.  Doubtful.

Omagic07
Omagic07

I absolutely, completely, couldn't agree more.  The worst thing in the world is being a perpetual 8th seed in the playoff competitive team.  This move (provided that NO would even consider it) is the type of move that a franchise makes when it's serious about being a championship team. 

We're all in, or we're blowing it all up.  I don't want Andrew Bynum, or Bogut, or Lopez back for Howard.  I want lots of draft picks and a ton of salary cap space.  Simply stated there's no other player that's worth Howard who is going to be available to us. 

Otis and the Devos family have always struck me as the types who agree with this philosophy. Let's just hope that they can convince NO that this trade is good for them too.

Dime
Dime

If Otis doesn't make this offer, he's crazy. Swing for the fences, it's worth the risk!

Decker
Decker

Doubtful??? Really?! I think he would be willing to score less than 25 points a game with a CP3 there. That's pretty much why he is threatening to leave is because he wants more help and doesn't have to score 25 points everygame to win.

Jobe
Jobe

Nelson is a solid starter, Reddick is a scoring threat, that is his role, Bass is a good undersized PF, & I would hate to trade away Ryan Anderson, but if that is what it would take to get CP3 in Orlando, then i'm all for it! Being a Magic fan, I hate to say this, but I actually like Josh Smith, he wants out of Atlanta and has stated he would like to play with D12, that wouldnt be a bad big 3 in Orlando, but not sure if Orlando could trade for both

Kk
Kk

True. But realise that scoring 23 ppg last season, fighting double teams and all that, would be taking a lot more effort from Dwight than scoring 25 by finish alley-oops from CP3.  And the thought of Dwight having more energy to exert on defense is just outright scary