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A Second Look: Mavericks and Chris Paul

The news out of New Orleans would seems to indicate that Chris Paul's stance on leaving the Hornets has changed over the past few days.  The meeting that took place on Monday and the talks went better than planned from the New Orleans perspective.  That would be the case since there wasn't a formal trade request on Paul's side and there is a renewed sense of optimism for both sides in this situation. 

It remains to be seen whether the driving force in the initial statement that Chris Paul was demanding out of New Orleans was a creation of Paul, himself, or his new agent, Leon Rose, who also represents LeBron James.  In my opinion, we really didn't learn anything new out after the meeting of the minds took place.  If anything were to happen, it wouldn't be in the near future.  With nothing settled, the possibility still remains that the Mavericks can still be a player in the Chris Paul Sweepstakes.  What people might be forgetting is that a Chris Paul deal will be very comparable to a deal the Mavericks have made in recent history.

Think back to February of 2008, what happened at that time?  If you're still not sure, this is what happened.  To this day, the trade is highly debated on whether it was a good move or not.  I believe it was and still is a good move because Kidd was better suited to lead the roster compared to Devin Harris.  You can clearly look at Harris' numbers now and make a case that the Mavericks were wrong but it is a totally different situation for Devin in New Jersey compared to being in Dallas.  Did the Mavericks give up too much to get Kidd, probably so but they felt it was a necessary move for the moment and it was a fit. 

Moving forward to now, there are discussions that Dallas could be in the mix to acquire Paul.  The likelihood of that actually coming to fruition remains to be seen.  If it were to happen, the amount and specific assets being sent out would likely cause a huge debate like the Kidd trade sparked.  To review the potential idea of who might be shipped out in a Chris Paul deal, you can go here.

The forgotten point in the Kidd deal would be the same situation here if Paul came to Dallas.  It may appear be an initial step back but it creates a greater opportunity to take huge steps forward.  Paul is an elite player in the league and arguably the best point guard in the league.  On top of that, Paul is 25 years old and poised to continue crafting his game.  The concerns leading to falling back would be that the roster would lose a strong amount of youth and athleticism.  The make-up of the roster, outside of Dirk, lacks a lot of viable parts that Paul can work with.  Like Kidd in his prime, Paul thrives in the open court, the pick and roll and with finishers capable of attacking the rim.  The next step for the Mavericks would be to find the necessary parts to help compliment Dirk and Paul.  As I mentioned before, it's a lot easier to find those complementary parts once you've established your main core of stars.  Look at the Miami Heat, people thought that they would be a mess with their roster but it's actually very viable.  Another obvious concern would be the health of Paul.  Dallas would like to be assured his meniscus issue is not a long-term issue.  The Mavericks continue to push hard in acquiring Paul, so that would seem to indicate they feel comfortable it is not an issue.

Another angle to look at with bringing in Chris Paul is the looming lockout going into the 2011-2012 season.  That would mean that whichever team Paul plays for might only have this coming year to work with in terms of ensuring you can keep him in the fold before he becomes a free agent.  It would be ideal for Dallas, or any team, to work out an extension to ensure they're not giving up the farm for a player they're renting for a year.  It would be up to New Orleans to work on working with Paul to sign an extension, which is in New Orleans' best interest.  The offers they might get won't be as strong based on that rental factor indicated above. 

One meeting between management and Chris Paul can't fix all the problems that exist between the two sides, everyone is just putting up an "all is well" vibe.  The Hornets aren't magically going to become a contender.  They have fallen back in the pack behind teams like Oklahoma City and Portland, with teams like Sacramento and Memphis nipping at New Orleans' heels.  The problems are still going to linger and talks will probably be handled behind the scenes.

The Hornets succeeded in only one of their goals Monday: ending the public part of this spectacle. The rest of it, up to and including a possible trade that will extricate Paul from the Hornets while salvaging some semblance of value for the organization, will be dealt with behind closed doors.

"The telltale thing is that Chris Paul won't comment publicly other than what was released about it," said a person familiar with Paul's strategy. "Leon Rose didn't come out and say, 'Chris is happy in New Orleans.' If he was happy, they would've said that. ... The only way they can get close to full value is to say, 'You guys can't make trade demands.' They're orchestrating this thing to likely move him."

According to multiple people within the NBA who are familiar with the Hornets' predicament, Paul's new cadre of power brokers at Creative Artists Agency, led by Rose, are continuing to push Paul's exit strategy from New Orleans -- something members of the organization are well aware of and expected.


There are also reports that LeBron is also suggesting Chris Paul stay in the Western Conference to make a better rivalry.  While that is true, it would benefit the Heat to have one less potential foe in either New York or Orlando.  Something is going to happen, it's just a matter of when.  Dallas will be in the mix and will arguably have the best offer.  If Paul were to land in Dallas, things would be better for the franchise but there is still a lot of work ahead for them.  Nothing is guaranteed, but adding Paul to the Mavericks WILL make them better...even if they don't have a kitchen sink.