Collison to Pacers; Paul trade likely kaput

A massive four team trade has been reportedly completed that has obviously larger implications for the league and Dallas fans hoping for a possible Chris Paul trade.


Four NBA teams have agreed to to a five-player trade that will send Trevor Ariza to the New Orleans Hornets and Darren Collison to the Indiana Pacers, two league sources said.

In the trade, the Houston Rockets sent Ariza to the Hornets, who in turn will send Collison andJames Posey to the Pacers.

The Pacers sent Troy Murphy to the New Jersey Nets. And the Nets sent Courtney Lee to the Rockets.

According to the sources, the Rockets, Hornets, Pacers and Nets have agreed to the details of the trade and made it official with the league on Wednesday.

The Hornets didn't stop there. NBA front office sources told's Marc Stein that in a separate deal, the team agreed to send swingman Julian Wright to Toronto for Raptors guardMarco Belinelli. That deal, like the four-team trade, was also expected to be completed Wednesday.

The four-team deal could fill some long-term needs for the Hornets, Pacers and Nets, as well as provide needed salary relief for the Rockets.

For the Hornets, while moving Collison leaves the team without a credible backup for Chris Paul, the addition of Ariza gives them a young, athletic wing entering his prime.

The Hornets are hoping that the addition of Ariza addresses Paul's concerns about the team's commitment to winning by showing that they're willing to spend money to get better. Ariza signed a five year, $34 million deal with the Rockets last summer.

For the Pacers, landing Collison gives them the young starting point guard they've been looking for and adds another piece to a young core of players including Danny GrangerRoy Hibbert and promising rookies Paul George and Lance Stephenson.

The Pacers did take on the last two years and $13 million of Posey's contract, but the deal also sliced another $4 million off the team's overall payroll.

In Murphy, the Nets get the veteran big man that new coach Avery Johnson has been coveting. Murphy is also on the last year of his contract, which could make him an important trading chip for the Nets at the 2011 trade deadline.

For the Rockets, the move is basically a large salary dump. This summer the Rockets spent a lot of cash signing Luis ScolaKyle Lowry and Brad Miller to free agent contracts and their payroll ballooned. Before the trade, the team was bracing for a $8 million plus luxury tax hit. This deal saves them $28 million on the life of the contract and roughly $10 million (when you factor in luxury tax payments) this season.

For the lazy and/or slightly illiterate, this is the breakdown:

New Orleans receives Trevor Ariza

Indiana receives Darren Collison and James Posey

Houston receives Courtney Lee

New Jersey receives Troy Murphy


Clearly, the Hornets are trying to send a message to Chris Paul.  Not only did they orchestrate a giant four team trade(something of a rarity in of itself) to try and improve their squad, they sent away the supposed heir apparent in the process, effectively laying the future of the franchise at No. 9's feet.  As a Mavs fan, it's unfortunate, as I can't imagine I'm the only person desperately clinging to the however fanciful dream of acquiring a player of his caliber, but for the fans of the teams directly involved, it's hard to argue this trade doesn't make sense.  Indiana gets a pretty strong point guard prospect, Houston gets cap relief, and New Jersey gets an underrated veteran who will be shortly coming off the books.

In sports there are no absolute assurances, but at this stage, it looks like the "Chris Paul to Dallas" meme is dead as of 3 PM eastern time today.

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