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Paul And 'Melo In NOLA Becoming An Increasing Possibility

New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul (R) and Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony rest during the second half at the Pepsi Center in Denver on November 27, 2008. New Orleans beat Denver 105-101. (UPI Photo/ Gary C. Caskey) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Paul and Anthony want to play, can it be in New Orleans?

According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Hornets have been seriously looking into a trade with the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony. A recent post by Stein talks about Chris Paul’s happiness with the organisation and while he says Paul is happy he leaves it a very open-ended question, leaving unhappiness to be just around the corner. Here’s an excerpt:

Demps knows, though, that the roster needs at least one more player closer to Paul’s talent zip code before the Hornets can start thinking about a return to contention in the West. And rival executives say he’s certainly been trying.

Few GMs, according to NBA front-office sources, have pursued deals with Demps’ fervor over the past month, with Peja Stojakovic‘s $14.3 million expiring contract serving as his primary trade chip.

I don’t all that often trust ESPN writers, more so analysts in their assessments of NBA franchises (outside of bigger markets) because rarely do they pay close attention to the minute details. Us more familiar with the team also tend to over-estimate the team and its ability, but with Stein his information I find a little bit more credible.

His opinion I certainly do not agree with, but his information I do. At the very least he’s a competent Adam Schefter equivilent, their opinion is often wrong, but their research and rumors are true, or close to.

Back to the bigger news at hand however, Carmelo to the Hornets seems a lot more realistic, whether it be now or in a year’s time.

Some will dismiss Anthony waiting a year to play with Paul, but I wouldn’t be so sure. I verminently believe that Paul is pushing Anthony to come to the Bayou city. Let us assess the two possibilities put forward by Stein (and others out there).

1. The Hornets pursue a trade with the Nuggets

It saddens me to say this, but any trade for Carmelo Anthony would involve Marcus Thornton. Denver is just not going to want a bunch of old veterans and draft picks in return. It’s sort of like the whole Bulls scenario of Joakim Noah. The Bulls will not let go of Noah to get Anthony and the Nuggets won’t take anything without Noah in it.

For the Hornets Thornton has to be involved in the trade, and I don’t know if we are willing to do that.

If a trade was to go down I would expect to see something like this:

Marcus Thornton, Quincy Pondexter, Peja Stojakovic and 2 First Round picks for Carmelo Anthony.

OR

Peja Stojakovic, Marcus Thornton and 2 First round picks for Carmelo Anthony

There are any number of options but we have to look at it from Denver’s perspective and what they want.

- They want young, promising players

-Multiple first round picks

-And big fat expirings

Now people think they can pick and choose at these demands. But Denver wants all of these in one trade. I think the first trade is one that Denver would look at favourably, but one in which we would not.

If that first one was to go through it would result in a lineup like this.

PG: Paul/Pargo/Green

SG: Ariza/Belinelli/Green

SF: Anthony/Alexander

PF: West/Mensah-Bonsu

C: Okafor/ Gray/Smith

I don’t believe it’s that much better than the starting lineup of Paul/Thornton/Ariza/West/Okafor. It’s just to some, they will look on paper and say, “Oh two MVP candidates on one team, must be good!” When in actuality it is not.

The more likely scenario is the following.

2. Carmelo signs as a free-agent with the Hornets

I don’t mean this is the more likely situation to happen for everything invovled with the Carmelo Sweepstakes. I just mean it’s the most likely scenario where he goes to the Hornets.

I say this for a couple of reasons.

The first is that any trade deal involved with the Hornets is going to involve Thornton and I don’t believe the front-office will part with him. Thornton just has to much potential and ability to give up for Anthony who, while in his prime, doesn’t have the same up-size in the long-term future.

The second reason is that I thoroughly believe Paul has told Carmelo that the only way they play together if it’s in New Orleans.

One source close to the situation confirmed to ESPN.com that word has indeed been transmitted from Paul to Anthony that teaming up in the Bayou might be the solution for both of them.

If you think about it, Paul has two years (seasons) left before he can leave in free-agency. By that time Melo will have commited somewhere and the opportunity to play together will be highly unlikely. The Hornets will have the capspace to sign Anthony in the next free-agent period as the contracts Stojakovic, Green and Smith all come off the books at around 21 million dollars.

The third and final reason I think Carmelo will be likely to go to the Hornets through the free agency route is that he says he doesn’t mind playing another year with Denver. This reason does have its holes of course. The Nuggets will certaintly want to trade him if they believe he wants out. Added to that they saw Lebron leave the Cavs with nothing (before Miami gave them some compensation).

To be brutally honest I don’t think it will happen, nor do I think it’s the best option of bringing a championship to New Orleans. But you guys must remember that if Anthony comes to the Hornets, the likelihood of Paul staying with the team for the long-term increases dramatically. Does it make sense? No, but the truth is if Paul has another superstar along side of him he will likely be there for a long, long time.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony Chris Paul Dell Demps Denver Nuggets Marcus Thornton New Orleans Hornets Quincy Pondexter Trade Ideas

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