No matter how much you hear about the teams being in control of the players it’s really the other way around. We saw that in the case of Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets last season, and we’re starting to see it again with the Chris Paul saga in New Orleans.
Paul will be able to control which team he’s traded to by refusing to sign an extension with that team. While New Orleans can still trade him to any team they like, those teams are going to be unlikely to give up their top pieces without a guarantee from Paul that he will sign an extension.
Now, David Aldridge of NBA.com is reporting that Paul has begun to narrow his list of destinations through this process.
Chris Paul will not commit to signing a contract extension after this season with either the Golden State Warriors or Los Angeles Clippers if he is traded to either team by the New Orleans Hornets, citing the potential financial hit if he were to do that rather than becoming a free agent and signing a new deal with a new team next summer, according to league sources. That has left potential deals with both teams in limbo….
The Clippers, for example, are very reluctant to include the unprotected first-round pick from Minnesota they currently own in any deal with New Orleans — which is understandably holding out for the maximum amount possible in exchange for its franchise player — under the current scenario.
This essentially leaves two destinations for Paul – New York and Los Angeles. However, out of those two teams only the Lakers have enough pieces to put together a package that New Orleans could consider. While there have been reports that Paul wants to end up in New York to play with Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks simply don’t have enough trade bait to entice New Orleans to make a deal.
It would seem that if the Lakers want to make a serious push for Paul they would have the best chance to land the star point guard.