Read Between The Lines: Chris Paul Will Be A Mav

When DALLAS MORNING NEWS sports blogger Tim McMahon — the very Tim McMahon who found himself banned from the Mavericks locker room a little over a year ago — postulated a scenario that would land budding all-time great point guard Chris Paul in Dallas a week ago, few people took notice. Well, they should have. According to a source very close to the blogger, he didn’t pull the scenario out of thin air, he pulled it directly from the mouth of Mark Cuban himself, who gave the specs of a potential deal during one of his infamous stair-stepping impromptu press conferences.

chris paul jason kidd

(Next year, they could just switch jerseys!)

The scenario goes something like this: The Hornets desperately need to clear payroll because A) they’re hurting for money like crazy and B) they’re facing an enormous luxury tax hit for the contracts of Peja Stojakavic, Tyson Chandler and, most notably, Paul. Making matters worse, Paul’s four-year, max-dollar contract extension is about to kick in, which will make him far too expensive for the Hornets to afford.

All of that means that, somehow, the Hornets need to dump both Stojakavic and Chandler’s contracts for sure, and they’ll probably have to dump Paul’s as well, barring a financial miracle. One of the only teams that can afford to take that kind of a hit while still running is the Mavericks, and Cuban is willing to make that happen this by packaging a set of extremely attractive expiring contracts that will come off the team’s books immediately. It’s a golden salary purge situation, and given the organization’s dire straits, it’s provides a very realistic window into exactly how Paul could end up in Big D.

Naturally, that doesn’t mean it actually will happen. Big talk is cheap in the NBA. But for someone like Mark Cuban to say it, there is a certain amount of authority that automatically transfers over with it. After all, we all remember what happened when Cuban set his heart on Jason Kidd … he got him. Now that Cuban can deploy his army of wealth as envoys to one of the league’s most financially strapped teams, getting rid of Paul to clear other horrible deals might just look like a franchise saving panacea.

Here’s the exact trade scenario that Cuban McMahon came up with. When you do the math, it really does make a hell of a lot of sense:

Mavericks get PG Chris Paul, SG Peja Stojakavic ($13.39 million 2009-10 and $14.26 in 2010-11) and one of PF Tyson Chandler ($12.3 09-10 and $13.2 in 2010-11)/SG Morris Peterson ($12 million total in 09-10 and 10-11)/SF James Posey ($19.5 million total in 09-10, 10-11, and 11-12). The Mavericks could even eat two of those last three contracts.

Hornets get Jerry Stackhouse ($7 million 2009-10 with only $2 million buyout), Josh Howard ($10.89 million then a team option) and Erick Dampier ($12.12 million in 2009-10).

Think about it: The Mavericks get the exact player Cuban’s really always wanted. The Hornets get the tons of cap space for the 2010 offseason, get under the luxury tax threshold (they’re primary current concern), and shed millions and millions of payroll in the process. They’d only be stuck with one year of Erick Dampier and Josh Howard and a $2 million buyout in that entire package. Talk about a salary reduction.

Who knows if it will actually happen, but as McMahon says, Cuban is publicly making noise that the Mavericks, “will be opportunistic,” in this summer’s trade market. Privately, he’s saying a lot more than that. Add up those statements, and you end up with Chris Paul in a blue and white uniform sooner rather than later.

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