Forgive this piece, before you even read it. This isn’t a real rumor, nor is it even a fake rumor. It’s simply a what-if scenario J.A. Adande offered up on TrueHoop. And a scary what-if scenario, at that.
It’s not that hard to envision a scenario that brings Paul to the Lakers. It starts with Jackson retiring, a move he said he is “leaning toward.” Then bring in Byron Scott to replace him, as has long been rumored. Out goes the triangle offense, which probably wouldn’t suit Paul. In comes Paul, who maintained a good relationship with Scott even after Scott was fired by the Hornets. (That’s more than could be said with Scott’s previous two point guards, Baron Davis and Jason Kidd.) Meanwhile, Scott and Kobe Bryant go way back to Kobe’s rookie year, when they were teammates, so that would work, too.
Why would any of this work for the Hornets? They need to shed salary, with the four years and $52 million remaining on Emeka Okafor’s contract sticking out on their spreadsheet like a nun on Bourbon Street. The best way to entice a team to take on that contract would be to include Paul in the deal, painful though it may be for the Hornets. Besides, if they really like Paul and want to repay him for everything he’s done for that franchise and the New Orleans community they’ll give him a chance to play for a championship contender.
They could send Paul (owed $14.9 million in 2010-11) and Okafor ($11.5 million), with contracts totaling $26.4 million, to the Lakers for the combined $27.5 million in 2010-11 contracts of Andrew Bynum ($13.8 million), Lamar Odom ($8.2 million) and Sasha Vujacic ($5.5 million).
The Lakers are scary enough with Derek Fisher running point and Andrew Bynum limping his way through a semi-productive Finals. Add Paul to the team and a center with two functioning knees (although Okafor is no healthy Harry either) and suddenly that offense is lethal. My knees are shaking right now like I’m Chris Webber at the foul line during crunch-time.
Losing Lamar and Bynum would hurt the Lakers, but the thought of adding CP3 to that squad is enough to make me seriously consider a drug binge.