Here are some approximated dates/figures that could mean something in any potential CP3 to Orlando trade. I will need more knowledged people to comment on their exact dates/status for these:
-The TPE expires on July 9th I believe, a date to look at.
-Marcin Gortat can still veto a trade to anywhere until this July 13th or 14th, I think?
-Chris Paul and Gortat have BYC status until July 8-9th too I think?
-James Posey has a 10% trade kicker that, unless partly or fully waiveable by Posey himself, could make him untradeable with the Magic's TPE (est. 6.8mil + 100k allowance limit= 6.9mil TPE. And Posey's 2010-2011 contract is 7.125mil with trade kicker factored in. It can be done I think, but Orlando may have to promise Posey some legal benefits later on.) (Hat tip to MagicfaninTN for telling me about Posey's 10% trade kicker, and the potential problem in TPE'ing him). I do speculate tho, that TPE'ing Darius Songaila may be highly appreciated by NO.
For the salary numbers I used and trades I worked up, I used ShamSports.com
After the jump is the rest of my post. It's a loong fanpost guys!, but I broke it up into three parts each separated by a long black line: 1) Why NO might/should trade CP3 to Orlando. 2) My CP3-Orlando trade scenario. And, 3) A potential plan at how Magic will acquire CP3 after 2 seasons via FA.)
We have a couple of reliable articles with reported Magic interest in Chris Paul ( http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/06/22/magic-come-knocking-for-chris-paul/ , http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/06/22/orlandos-interest-in-chris-paul-involves-vince-carter-jameer-n/ ) but nothing like the report where Bower may have greenlighted a CP3 trade but was denied by the owner Shinn who wasn't ready to trade CP3 yet ( http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/17470/teams-still-pursuing-cp3 ), meaning Portland is very potentially above Orlando in chances to get CP3. Also, NJ Nets and other unknown teams' offers (Dallas http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4669811/could-chris-paul-trade-talks-really-get-cookin , Knicks interested- above ESPN article titled "Teams still pursuing CP3") can be just as enticing. Essentially, I think I have no clue where Orlando exactly stands in trade offers with the rest of the league, unless we look at all the suspected offers (without Magic-colored glasses on) and start making educated guesses.
But still, I like CP3's chances of being traded here because of the ownership & its transition problems, and what the Magic will be able to offer. Current owner Shinn is notoriously frugal according to Hornets fans and the team's no luxury tax situations, and Shinn is looking to sell the team (something much, much easier done with a low team payroll, but unclear how much CP3 out of it would affect potential buyers even with the amazing rook Collison in the wings). Now, Shinn is raising the franchise's price and potentially hesitating on a sale ( http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2010/04/george_shinn_gary_chouest_huff.html , http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2010/05/delay_uncertainty_working_agai.html ), and new owner Chouest is still looking for more supporting investors to join his ownership group and is supposedly still in disagreement over price of franchise and/or the team's debts ( http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2010/05/new_orleans_hornets_sale_delay.html ), the transition is not happening yet and is greatly over the expected date of ownership transfer, So basically, no one in that organization but the owner Shinn has the final say on a CP3 trade, and so I could care less what a GM or President or Coach says.
Now that Dwight has reported an utmost interest in CP3 ( http://ken-berger.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/11838893/22892952?tag=comBlogEntryListCnt;entry22892952 ), and CP3 himself has spawned a few "get better right now Hornets" warnings ( http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5349514 , http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/07/02/chris-paul-trade-rumors-could-be-the-next-talk-of-the-town/ , http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2010/07/disconnect_between_new_orleans.html#incart_rh ), I can defintely see a CP3 trade surprising the league sometime this summer (or next midseason deadline/summer too).
I don't know how influential Paul can be with a trade since he's 2 years from FA, but there has to be some realistic hope that he recognizes Orlando and pushes for it the most if he is asked about trades, or respectfully requests a trade to Orlando. A very realistic scenario because of how undeniably good D12 + CP3 would be = championship, and the possessions CP3 would retain/increase as a individual player and PG general of the team's offense = no other major guards/wings to take away possessions or have potential on-court problems.
As time passes, I get less sure that a CP3 trade can happen this summer, or that even the Magic would get him if he is traded, but if the owner becomes ok with it, it can happen at any time this summer, and I truly think the Magic can be the destination. Plus, as close as the reported CP3 deal to Portland was, NO still declined it as well as another one from NJ. Where is the decline from NO to Orlando's offer(s)? Otis said it never happened, but I'm going to side with the above articles' reliability in stating Orlando's CP3 interest.
Here are some speculative thoughts on why the trade could happen here:
-Magic are not in the West, unlike a majority of all other suitors, giving more reason for NO to trade to Orlando.
-TPE lets them immediately dump salary via Posey or Songaila (or anyone under 6.9mil-ish).
-If they respect CP3's trade wish(s) or great reputation AT ALL, they may defintely consider/trade to Orlando (speculation: where could realistically be his 1st choice), over NJ and other weak teams, or teams CP3 dislikes (speculation: don't want to lose so many possessions to Portland's primary ball-handler/scorer Roy).
-As far as expiring contracts go, VC's 13.5 (4mil garantueed of 17.5mil) expiring contract is pretty good considering Carter is still a great player and can keep teams afloat, or rolling on (See VC's last year keeping putrid NJ respectable in record, and last year in repeating Orlando's 59 win season).
-A lot of people say Jameer makes no sense because of Collison, but a front office can recognize that Jameer's 8.1mil steady contract per his overall performance and in career playoffs (excluding the rushed NBA Finals comeback) is extremely good ( http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=2439 . 19 pts, 5 ast, 3 rbs average in past 14 playoff games on 48 FG%, 39 3P%, and 82 FT%. And 17 pts, 4 ast, 5 rbs on 38 3P%, 85 FT%, and 42 FG% in the vaunted Boston series loss, where Nelson undeniably lead Orlando to two straight victories). NO can platoon him with Collison at PG, and I'm willing to bet that NO sees Nelson as a great trade chip to get other assets in return rather easily (or some crazy 3-way gets in the works, so that Jameer is converted into other assets right away for NO). Jameer is an All Star PG who beats all other single players I've been reading in the other supposed, league-wide CP3 offers (J. Bayless, D. Harris -on a bigger contract no less, etc.).
-Gortat is suddenly an underpaid or very justly paid center compared to this summer's spending (Darko, and other team's big men. Advanced stats point to a monster center in waiting (probably why so many teams inquired or chased Gortat last summer, Houston, Dallas, etc.), and he has the youth, size, and athleticism to be loads better than Okafor. (~5.4mil less per year than Okafor).
-Bass is a young, Baton Rouge-native PF/C who NO had reported interest ( http://blog.nola.com/hornetsbeat/2009/07/new_orleans_hornets_reportedly.html ) in signing last summer.
-JJ Redick could make a very interesting S/T option for NO (if JJ approves), and MP is a "3-and-d" wing like Posey, but is cheaper, slightly younger, and better. The roster outside of Dwight is essentially open up for grabs in a CP3 trade. Daniel Orton (NO article about Orton for Hornets at 11th pick/player for the future: http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2010/05/kentuckys_daniel_orton_could_f.html ), Ryan Anderson, and Stanley Robinson are all on the super cheap rookie contracts and can be very useful in any rebuild situation, and Im sure Magic will throw in all the late, future 1st rounders that NO could want.
-The biggest thing of a CP3 trade is how NO's main goal is to dump his high priced contract and other major contracts to start rebuilding from a low team salary. This means Okafor, Posey, Peja, and probably Songaila. Not many teams are making offers that the Magic could make, that takes off Okafor's contract from NO's payroll, AND potentially Posey's AND potentially Songaila's. Posey and Okafor are long term contracts still, and VC's is a 1 yr expiring, and who knows, maybe Magic and Hornets can get VC's camp open to a buyout right away so he can return to Orlando, give NO more immediate relief, and give VC total open options in FA market.
Now, here is a potential trade between the Magic and Hornets that I took hours to make/calculate and really, really like from NO's perspective (as much as can be liked anyways.. when trading away CP3). I think it's quite a bit high end, as in the Magic may be over-bidding, especially if CP3 shows Orlando the most interest as a trade destination and NO abides by his trade wish. I found in some trade scenarios the TPE was not needed actually, but could be in others, so no TPE may not be the end of a potential CP3 trade. Here is how my trade scenario goes (where two, separate trades must occur) :
Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, James Posey
Notes/Why: Because of the nifty 125%-plus-100k-after rule, this trade should be 110% legal according to my math and will save the Hornets approximately 6.595mil dollars right away. NO gets Jameer Nelson, a very attractive basketball & trade piece on a steady 8mil contract, a very high upside PF/C rookie in Daniel Orton*, and Vince Carter, a wing player who can keep New Orleans quite competitive with Nelson, Collison, West, Thornton, all while being a 1 year, expiring contract at the same time to provide massive salary relief next summer or for a future trade in the midseason deadline to further cut salary and gain even more assets. (*- Orton may not be trade-able for 30 days because he was recently signed, which wouldn't stop a trade agreement in principle and completes a trade while still in the summer, but for impatience there are substitutes to Orton. Substitutes that don't affect NO's salaries savings much at all: could be Ryan Anderson, OR a S/T'ed player&waive near Orton's/Ryan's 1mil deals like AJ, Foyle, Robinson, or Garrity with extra picks and cash to equal out Orton in trade. Also, trading MP, JJ, Bass, or Gortat instead of Orton will work, and NO gets the pick of any one of them, but they will affect the savings for NO more than my summary salary savings projections later on below.)
Turk TPE, 3.000mil Cash, (2) Future, Unconditional 1st Round Picks
Notes/Why: This is a legal trade where the Hornets trade Songaila's final year of a bloated deal worth 4.818mill dollars for the Magic's TPE, 3.000mill in Cash, and two future, unconditional 1st round picks. This trade saves NO 4.818mill dollars right away in terms of cap space, while netting 3.000mil for the cash/spending reserve, and adding to the rebuilding project with two late 1st round rookies in the future.
(Alternative to Trade Two; at NO's option:)
Brandon Bass, 3.000mil Cash, (2) Future, Unconditional 1st Round Picks
How/Why: Cash and two future 1st picks are the same, but instead of the TPE for 4.818mil salary relief, NO gets Bass instead. A younger, better backup PF/C than Songaila is. Acquiring Bass for Songaila also saves NO nearly 1mil in immediate salary. A win-win.
While I did write that this alternative to Trade Two is at NO's option, Orlando may want to push it because they will probably want to start saving money by losing Bass' long term contract for Songaila's 1 year, expiring contract. Hey, atleast losing two future 1st rounders will save Orlando the cost of their garantueed contracts(x2 because of luxury tax), and Orlando will still have future 2nd rounders to fill out the roster very cheaply in this scenario.
As another alternative, what Orlando may want to try to do here even more actually, is push NO to do a trade of Songaila and Pondexter for Marcin Gortat on the grounds that Gortat is a high value commodity and will be a cheaper and better replacement than Okafor (and its illegal to trade Songaila for Gortat straight up without some extra salary added from NO's side, like say, Pondexter). If not, on Orlando's side, they will have to trade Okafor or Gortat rather ASAP (for luxury tax savings) to another team in the league (well, eventually both will be wanted gone). Dumping Gortat for basically straight up salary savings should be pretty easy I'm betting, as big men are valueable. Then Orlando will be able to promise the remaining big man the backup C minutes and some PF minutes too, and getting speculative here, might be able to trade Okafor for Rip Hamilton or Hedo Turkoglu here (if Orlando even wanted to, or can stand with one of them over a high priced Okafor playing less minutes).
As a super complicated 3-way-or-more deal, Orlando can make Trade One branch Jameer off into other assets for NO right away, and/or branch Okafor off into other assets for Orlando right away (but it would probably take more than just Okafor for Orlando to get a different team to take him).
Immediate/Garantueed Magic line-up:
PG- Chris Paul / ?
SG- Mickael Pietrus / ?
SF- James Posey / Stanley Robinson
PF- Rashard Lewis / Ryan Anderson / Brandon Bass(?) / Darius Songaila
C- Dwight Howard / Marcin Gortat(?) / Emeka Okafor
11 Roster spots filled. 2 more needed for league-mandated minimum sized roster.
A potential Magic lineup at the end of this summer:
PG- Chris Paul / Jason Williams?
SG- JJ Redick? / Mickael Pietrus
SF- Matt Barnes? / James Posey / Stanley Robinson
PF- Rashard Lewis / Ryan Anderson / Brandon Bass(?) / Darius Songaila
C- Dwight Howard / Marcin Gortat(?) / Emeka Okafor
14 Roster spots filled. 1 over league-mandated minimum sized roster.
-Hornets save 11.413mil dollars in salary immediately, save 22.876mil in salary in the second year (using first Trade Two scenario), and acquire 3.000mil in Cash. Acquire Vince Carter & his 1 yr deal, Jameer Nelson, Daniel Orton, Two future 1st Round Picks.
-Magic acquire Chris Paul and salary flotsam. (Enough said :p)
And finally, I think the Magic can get Chris Paul even if NO decides to never trade him. Right after 2 seasons' time, Paul can be an Unrestricted Free Agent. Looking at the Magic team salary information, Orlando can potentially have enough (or more than enough) room to make a max contract for CP3. There are some uncertainties here though, mainly that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (Vague, poor definition of CBA: the rules/limit of: cap line, tax line, player contracts and their amounts of money) coming up will potentially make it much harder for Orlando to have 1 max contract room, and the other main uncertainty is that NO does trade CP3.. but to another team instead, and maybe even a contender. But I will stand in saying/speculating, that CP3 as a FA will realistically and very probably go to Orlando over NO or whatever team he was traded to. (Also FA's that summer.. Deron Williams and more...)
After 2 more seasons from now, VC will be off the books, Lewis will have a Partially Guaranteed Contract that the Magic can exercise, Jameer will have a Player Option that he would likely decline for more money (maybe sees CP3 coming and opts out to be FA too?), and Dwight will have a Early Termination Option. If Dwight exercises said option, and the Magic buyout Lewis' last year for even more cap relief (if necessary), there will then be little else on the roster and instead some bird rights and crazy cap room for a Max player and possibly even more substantial support players (Vague, poor definition of use of Bird Rights here: Even if a player is a FA, the team with his bird rights can resign them to any amount of money they both agree to, and even if the team is over the cap or the luxury tax line.)
So, here's how I can see it breaking down that summer, after the 2011-2012 season, in right about the exact order it would all happen in, and what the ending roster could potentially look like:
-Magic exercise Rashard Lewis' partially garantueed contract for his last year. Saves them ~about 7.7mil~ in cap space and Magic retain Lewis' bird rights.
-Magic try to get Jameer Nelson to pick up his Player Option and play 6th Man to CP3 (They should have the max cap space already anyways too). Jameer exercises the option and opts out of his contract tho, becuase he is severely underpaid and will want to look at all of his options in FA while pondering coming back to Orlando with his bird rights. Magic can also S/T Jameer with his bird rights in order to get some assets/players in return that won't be stuck behind CP3 in rotation.
-Magic ask Dwight Howard to exercise his ETO, forgoing his last year. Why? Because it gives Orlando 19.5mil in cap space, the Magic retain Dwights' bird rights and have 110% reassured him that he will be resigned to a full, max contract later in the summer. And then for Dwight to recruit CP3 and/or whoever else in the meantime, in the part of summer when it is legal to recruit.
-Magic give Ryan Anderson his QO. His cap space is off the books unless he picks up his QO too quickly, and the Magic should be able to resign him after the Max Contract for CP3. The other remaining players on the roster are Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass (Bass has a 4.000mil PO we will assume here he would pick up), BUT I don't think Gortat will be here after 2 seasons time to be honest. Bass tho, maybe, at which point the Magic have enough cap space to not wonder what Bass does with his player option.
-Magic pick up Orton's Team Option contract, and may or may not have Robinson's Team Option to pick up(because 2nd rounders are ungarantueed contracts) . But Orton, Robinson, and a couple other rookie-scale players are on garantueed or team option contracts, where the Magic will likely be comfortable picking them up because they are cheap roster fill.
-Dwight recruits CP3 during July 1st-8th moratorium. As soon as moratorium ends, Magic and CP3 agree to a Max contract.
-Magic go out and sign non-Magic FA's until their cap space is up. So to hypthetically fill the roster, Nicolas Batum will be a FA at that time and is a good defender and 3pnt shooter. Magic sign him for 4 yrs at 6.000mil flat annually. Magic sign 1-2 more FA's with whatever remaining cap space and MLE/BAE/Min. exceptions.
-Magic resign Dwight Howard with a full, Maximum contract, using his bird rights.
-Magic resign Rashard Lewis using his bird rights. (Probably not a mega deal this time around :P )
-Magic resign/match Ryan Anderson.
-This is about 7-10 players signed on the roster (remember the ~1-4~ rookie-scale guys/Batum and ~1-4~ more FAs). Magic need to get ~3-6~ more players now. This is where, if played out right, Magic will have like ~3-7~ more players to resign with their bird rights if they so choose, so Magic resign, hypothetically speaking, Pietrus and CJ Watson and let the rest go into FA market or S/T's.
-The Magic fill out the roster with minimum salary players. This could be ~1-5~ players.
PG- Chris Paul / CJ Watson-bird-rights player (Jameer?)
SG- FA / Mickael Pietrus-bird-rights player / rookie-scale player
SF- Nicolas Batum / Stanley Robinson / FA
PF- Ryan Anderson / Rashard Lewis / Brandon Bass
C- Dwight Howard / Daniel Orton / rookie-scale player
I like this scenario so much that I see it better to lean on Dwight and Jameer, Rashard, VC, and the rest of the roster using continuity and chemistry, over say, hypothetically overpaying for some, certain players right now like hypothetically Amare Stoudemire or Joe Johnson for many years through a Sign&/Trade and risking them potentially not working out as expected with the team.
I will end this incredibly long fanpost (thanks for reading guys and inputting any thoughts or comments) with why I wrote this fanpost to begin with:
I would have to say that Chris Paul is the absolute best player in the world to pair with Dwight Howard, and he is a much better fit than any other of the star players of the league, that it will be worth treading lightly (with contracts < 3 yrs for 2 seasons) so as to have that cap space and finally pair them together. Chris Paul made Tyson Chandler look like Superman, drops on average 10+ assists and 20+ points a game on the most ridiculously high FG%, 3P%, FT%'s. He has a fully versatile, no-faults game and gets the foul calls and FT line attempts plenty. To end, here are some excerpts from Hollinger's Scouting Report on Paul ( http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/players/hollinger?playerId=2779 ). Remember the Magic run among the most pick and roll plays in the league, and are at around 18th in team pace, utilizing a ton of half-court offense that is accompanied by pick and rolls and post ups a lot.
"Paul is a little, fast guy, but he does most of his damage in the half-court offense on pick-and-rolls. He's amazing at walling off players to his side or behind him; once he has half a step on somebody, they never get back in front of him, even though Paul methodically picks his way along and rarely goes at top speed. He reliably gets into the paint on this play, although opponents try to go under the screen against him and force him to shoot a J. Once he gets a step, he devastates with his passing and finishing."
"But let me share my favorite stat. I track all players' shooting by zone, and the toughest ones for nearly everyone are zones 2-4 on the NBA.com hotspots: inside shots that aren't right at the basket. Usually these attempts require a contested floater of some kind, and the league average on those shots is below 40 percent. Only four players took the shot with both great frequency (more than 200 attempts) and great accuracy (making at least 48 percent). Three of them, as you might expect, are 7-footers renowned for having a soft touch: Pau Gasol, Yao Ming and Dirk Nowitzki. The fourth one is Chris Paul.
"Paul carried out most of his best work in the paint, in fact, shooting 56.1 percent on inside shots while taking more than three-fifths of his shots from close range. It's an unorthodox way for a small guard to operate, but he's become deadly with it."