I didn't want to start a new thread on this, but as the season progresses I revisited the Paul trade a bit.
Lakers in- Paul
Lakers out- Gasol/Odom
Houston in- Gasol
Houston out- Scola/Martin/Dragic/Ist Rounder
New Orleans in- Odom/Scola/Martin/Dragic/Hou. 1st Rounder
New Orleans out- Paul
That New Orleans team fields something like this:
*I included the players they've acquired since (Xavier Henry) although those deals may not have happened if this trade had gone through.
Now, this team is one that might make the playoffs as a low seed in my opinion. Jarrett Jack is averaging 14.7 and 6.5 assists, solid numbers for a starting PG. He's not shooting an incredible percentage, but it's decent enough for a bad team.
Martin is the league's 2nd leading scorer for SGs (3rd if you count Eric Gordon's 2 games) at 18.2 ppg. For all guards in the NBA he's tied for 8th (9th if you count Gordon) with Chris Paul, Brandon Jennings, and Kyrie Irving. For the entire NBA, he's tied for 23rd (24th with Gordon). I think it's safe to say that he's one of the elite scorers in this league. For perspective he's scoring more than Joe Johnson, who has a max contract right now in Atlanta.
Ariza is having roughly the same season he did last year, but as a role player that's fine. He does the little things a team needs to be successful still although when watching him he seems to have lost some heart.
Scola is struggling this season, but is still an effective PF. When we're talking about F/C (he's classified this way by yahoo stats) he's ranked 13th in ppg. He's scoring more than Al Harrington, Kevin Garnett, Duncan, and Nene. He's a bit less than 2 ppg less than Gasol. The most glaring weakness this season is his rebounding numbers which have fallen dramatically.
Okafor is what he is, a defensive player and an athlete. The guy isn't going to put up big offensive numbers, but he's going to work hard and rebound for your team. With a legitimate scorer on the team in Martin and a decent PG in Jack, Okafor would likely put up a bit more than his current average of 9.9 ppg.
Odom has also struggled this season, but that is almost certainly affected by his lack of playing time. He is only playing 21:30 minutes a game which is more than 10 minutes less than he's averaged with the Lakers. The guy isn't playing, he's not getting opportunities. On a New Orleans team like the one up there, he'd be getting his usual 30 minutes a game, able to play on the break with some younger, more athletic players and he'd be having a better season statistically. Probably not a great one, but a better one than we're seeing from him now.
Dragic+the rest- they're a solid bench unit with Dragic and Odom off the bench. Not great, but there's some youth and talent there. They'd have to continue to work to make changes, but for a rebuilding team they'd be decent.
The Financial Side
The Hornets financially would be more burdened than they are now. Scola's deal isn't pretty for a rebuilding team and Martin has 2 more years left on his contract which is substantial. Odom's deal is nice because only around 2 million is guaranteed next season, so he can be bought out if necessary. Dragic has 2 years left, but his contract is only worth around 2 million a year.
This would keep the Hornets financially tied until Okafor, Martin, and probably Ariza were either traded or expired (it'd take until the 2014 season). Not amazing for a rebuilding team, but other deals could be made which could clear cap space. If they could find a way to trade Okafor, their cap space situation is much better and the rebuild process would start in a year sooner.
That team would likely struggle in a tough conference, but if they struggled enough, they would end up in the lottery and have another 1st round pick afterwards. You could draft another PG or a C and find a way to trade Okafor. Suddenly the team is younger, has cap space and is moving forward quickly. Houston's 1st would likely not be a lottery pick, but it'd still be a high pick in a strong draft.
Rebuilding the team into something exciting would take some time, likely 3-4 years. But there'd still be some nice assets there with Martin, Jack, and whatever those picks turned into. Okafor is also solid, but expensive enough that they'd probably trade him away.
The Clippers Deal-
Clippers trade- Gordon/Kaman/Aminu/Minnesota's 1st
New Orleans trade- Paul/two 2nds
The New Orleans lineup looks like this:
On paper that team looks rather solid. You get Gordon who looks like a stud and Kaman who is coming off of injury, but could hopefully make some noise. You get Aminu who was an 8th pick in the draft and maybe has some potential.
Financially this trade is better for the Clippers. You get a massive expiring contract from Kaman, Gordon is a steal for what you're paying him, and Aminu is still on his rookie contract. Your rebuild mode is started right now if you want to, or you might be able to sneak into the playoffs if everyone comes back healthy.
But therein lies the problem- you're getting a 30 year old Center who's coming off of a major injury and a SG that's missed 46 games over the last 2 seasons; that's more than half a season. Kaman may come back from injury but even when he was playing that season, in 22 games his averages had plummeted from the season before. Aminu showed potential but he wasn't an efficient shooter from anywhere on the floor, his rebounding was underwhelming at only 3.3 a game (Matt Barnes averages more with comparable minutes and he's much shorter, less athletic, and older), and he showed little potential passing the ball or defending.
The only true separator from the Lakers/Houston deal and the Clippers deal was the difference between the Houston 1st round pick and the unprotected Minni 1st round pick. There's no doubt that the pick is valuable and even though Minnesota has been successful this season, that pick is going to be more valuable than the Houston pick could have been.
If New Orleans really wants to rebuild, the plan is simple: find a way to lose Okafor and Ariza at the trade deadline, let Kaman go and maybe re-sign Gordon, but that's only a maybe. If they find a way to do that, they can rebuild their team in one season and have some young guns come back through the draft. In this sense, the Clippers trade was a better trade for the future of the franchise.
The issue with the Clippers trade being better than the Lakers/Houston trade for the future of the franchise is Stern's explanations. He denied the deal from the Lakers on the grounds that it would make New Orleans less attractive to buyers. The League wanted to sell the team this season and they feared a bad team wouldn't sell.
However, they then allowed a trade that was less effective in the short term for the team. The assets acquired weren't going to make the team competitive this season, even on paper. Heck the future of the team didn't look far and away better than the Lakers/Houston offer, just better. They rebuild a bit faster, but lose all relevance for the next 2 seasons at least. With the Lakers/Houston offer they at least have some talent and depth. They may or may not make the playoffs, but that team is definitely more competitive than the one they have now after the Clippers deal, even if Gordon was healthy.
Clearly the trade wasn't everything it was cracked up to be. While on paper the deal looked good, maybe even better, than the Lakers/Houston deal it really didn't look much better once you gave it a second look. Those that say "well with the Clippers you get a top tier SG", I just proved to you that Martin is along similar veins. Those that say "well you get Kaman who was an All-Star", you're giving him credit that he is no longer due. He's a older big man coming off of injury and a terrible 22 game season. Besides, in the other deal you get Odom/Scola which is far more effective. Those that say "well you get Aminu, a solid prospect", I say "solid" may be stretching the truth. He was a project and that project could easily fail. Look at other "tweener" forwards and you see he doesn't have a lot to offer that can't be found elsewhere in other ways. For New Orleans, they already have a player along his vein in Ariza who they're over paying for anyways so he's redundant.
If the goal of the trade was immediate rebuild, then that's fine, the trade went perfectly. But if the goal was to field a competitive team to attract investors and still had a solid future, the Lakers/Houston trade was the better offer.
Stu : "Yeah, that's an old fashioned whoopin'."