Do you remember when Chris Paul wanted to be traded? Then he met with the Hornets general manager and coach and was impressed enough by their pitch that he changed his mind? Well, it seems the Hornets brass wasn’t just blowing smoke. They seem to recognize what they have in Paul and are at least attempting to improve the team around him.
ESPN’s Chad Ford is reporting that a complicated four-team trade has been agreed to that, at least on paper, should improve the Hornets.
Here are the details:
To Hornets: SF Trevor Ariza
To Rockets: SG Courtney Lee
To Pacers: PG Darren Collison and SF James Posey
To Nets: PF Troy Murphy
Ford reports that the deal should become official this afternoon. This seems to be the kind of deal that makes every team better.
How it improves the Hornets: Collison, as talented as he is, plays the same position as Paul. He was never going to get enough playing time when Paul was healthy to help the team the way a young, athletic small forward like Ariza can. Ariza (6-foot-8, 210 pounds) is a defensive-minded small forward who averaged 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.75 steals last season. He shot the ball poorly from the field last season, but will benefit from taking a lesser role on a team like the Hornets, which should help him improve his shot selection and get his shooting percentage closer to his career mark (.442).
How it improves the Rockets: In Courtney Lee, the Rockets get a player similar to Ariza, who costs a lot less. Lee, who averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals last season, still has three years and $6.7 million remaining on his rookie contract, with only one year and $1.3 million guaranteed. Ariza just completed the first year of a six-year, $35 million deal. Lee’s position is shooting guard, not small forward, which means he probably won’t start but will backup Kevin Martin. But, Lee gives the Rockets another good, young player and improves their financial situation.
How it improves the Pacers: The Pacers’ need for a point guard hasn’t been a secret and for the price of Troy Murphy, Indiana gets one of the least expensive, most talented young point guards in the NBA. Last season, while Paul was injured, Collison was spectacular, averaging about 19 points and eight assists over the final three months of the season. Considering his talent, salary, and the team’s needs, Collison has to amount to a best-case scenario for the Pacers and their fans.
How it improves the Nets: Murphy is a great rebounder and a big man that can really stretch defenses with his outside shooting. Plus, he has only one year remaining on his deal, which means he could be a valuable trade chip for the Nets at the trade deadline next season. Murphy can start immediately at power forward, giving first-round pick Derrick Favors a chance to gain some experience as a backup. The Nets shipped out Lee, which will probably open up the starting shooting guard position for former Warrior Anthony Morrow.
I’m impressed by the Hornets in this trade. I don’t think this improves the Hornets enough to make them a playoff team in the West, but it shows Paul that the Hornets care enough to try. Anything that can keep Paul in New Orleans and avoid the possible formation of more “super-teams” is good for me.
SOME WARRIORS LINKS
ESPN True Hoop’s Zach Harper has an exhaustive look at some of the most interesting matchups on the NBA’s 2010-11 regular-season schedule. One of his categories is Point Guard Comparison Tour, in which he fails to include a single game matching Curry against another elite point guard (Tyreke Evans gets two mentions in that category). So, that’s not good, but the Warriors do get a few shout-outs, including David Lee’s return to New York on Nov. 10 (I’m really looking forward to that game, too) and five other games involving the Warriors. It’s really a good read, despite the Curry slight.
Feltbot had this idea (Monta Ellis to the Pacers for Danny Granger) on his blog. The post is about a week old, but it merits mention now because I can’t see the Pacers moving Granger now that they’ve made this trade for Collison. The Pacers will probably want to see how Collison, Granger and Co. gel before they make any more big moves.
Brian Chung, of SB Nation Bay Area, has a very interesting article about Andris Biedrins, in which he uses some advanced statistics and an interesting comparison to Amare Stoudemire to show that Biedrins wouldn’t benefit as much as he thinks he would if he were traded to Phoenix to play with Steve Nash. Check this out, it’s a good read.