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When Paul was quoted a few weeks ago as saying he’d be open to a trade if the Hornets aren’t committed to building a championship team, it was only a small hint as to the size of the chasm that exists between the franchise and its cornerstone player. Paul, in fact, has put into motion an aggressive exit strategy that will accelerate in the coming weeks, and his clear intention is to be traded before the start of the 2010-11 season, a person with direct knowledge of his plans told CBSSports.com Wednesday. [...]
Paul’s list of preferred destinations consists of the Knicks, Magic and Lakers, and members of his inner circle already have sent word to the Hornets of his desire to be traded to one of those teams, sources say. If Paul has his way, he’s played his last game in a Hornets jersey.
Here we go again.
The Chris Paul rumors won’t go away. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. At any point in time, when the best point guard in the NBA is available and he’s openly willing to play for the Orlando Magic, it’s natural to salivate at the possibilities. However, this story has been beaten to death. At this point, the only “major” advancement in Paul’s saga is that the Magic are listed as a team he’d prefer to play for. And so are the Los Angeles Lakers, which is downright scary to think about. UPDATE: Chris Broussard of ESPN.com says the Lakers are not in the running, but the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers are.
But now what?
Trade possibilities can be conjured up, sure. However, the New Orleans Hornets have the power to either keep or trade Paul. And if the Hornets do decide to do what was once the unthinkable and move Paul, then the handful of teams that are vying for his services will have to figure out a trade package that will be acceptable for New Orleans, even though — in the grand scheme of things– it probably still won’t be good enough. It’s almost impossible to get fair value for a superstar.
Ultimately, the ball is in the Hornets’ court.
Until something happens, everyone will continue to wait.