Tuesday, February 2, 2010

CP3Out

There is a poster of New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul in my living room. It was an insert from an issue of HOOP magazine and it’s held up by four thumbtacks. In my dresser, there is a yellow mustard –colored t-shirt with CP3’s name and number emblazoned on the back. So, before I start scheming, let me say that I was disappointed to hear that Paul is going to miss 1-2 months of action because of a cartilage tear in his left knee requiring arthroscopic surgery.

Last night's Suns-Hornets tilt would have been appointment television for me had he been healthy. I may have even deemed it a takeout-worthy game. Few Knicks games reach that level these days. Aside from securing tickets for every @Knicks contest that the Hornets play at the Garden, I venture out into the swamps of Jersey to see him when he makes an appearance at the IZOD Center. What I'm saying in my characteristcally verbose fashion is that I'm a fan of CP3. I would rather have him on my team than Lebron or Wade. Well, not tomorrow. But as soon as he's healthy then he is my favorite current player.

But, the second thing (after the aforementioned disappointment about no Chinese delivery) that crossed my mind after hearing that Paul is out for at least a month with the bum knee was that this might present the Knicks with a chance to dump the struggling Chris Duhon. Mike D'Anotini's erstwhile point guard is in a stretch of lackluster play that has him ranked as the 40th-most effective point guard (or combo guard who handles a fair share of PG duties) in the NBA this season according to the PER stats over at Knickerblogger.net. Put simply and without the use of math: Duhon is doo doo. They are not saying BOO-urns. They are booing. Because he stinks. Worse than the Boston College sweatshirt I always wear to the gym yet infrequently launder.

Yet, I do think that Duhon could be trade bait for the team that just lost the game's most poetic point. Yup. I do. Because I'm a delusional Knickerbockers fan? Possibly, but stick with me. Duhon played arguably his best game of the season at New Orleans when the Knicks won down in the Big Easy in December (22 and 9 with fantastic range). The Duke graduate is also a native of Louisiana, who has, by all accounts, stayed very active in the community. And, perhaps, most importantly to a team looking to stay cheap, Duhon's contract expires at the end of the year. I would say he is more attractive to NOLA right now than he will be to any other squad. Cheap dudes only land cheap chicks and I think we might have a love connection before Valentine's Day.

Now, you'd think that when rookie point guard Darren Collison stepped into the Hornets' starting lineup and threw up 17 points and dropped 18 dimes against the Grizzlies the other night with Paul cheering him on in street clothes that my concussion-induced hallucination of a Duhon homecoming would evaporate like morning dew. Not so. I actually think that the early signs of life from the first-year guard out of UCLA make a Duhon deal even more attractive to the penny-pinching franchise in New Orleans. If the Hornets are confident enough in their rookie playmaker's skills then they can sell their fans on acquiring steady-handed veteran facilitator as a stop-gap to combine with Collison rather than feeling the need to bring in someone (more expensive and) more talented to keep the team afloat until Paul mends.

Now, could Knicks GM Donnie Walsh figure out a way to send Duhon back to his home state? I'm not sure. Obviously, the Knicks don't want to take back any non-expiring contracts in the deal which means maybe this would possibly need to be a menage a trois. I'll be hitting the trade machine to figure out potential machinations between now and the trade deadline. Frankly, I don't really much care what the Knicks even brought back in a deal, provided the player came off the books at the end of the season. Losing Duhon would be addition by subtraction and would force D'Antoni's hand vis-a-vis rookie point Toney Douglas and veteran malcontent Larry Hughes - a tandem that actually played well together earlier in the year while Nate Robinson was the one in the doghouse. Douglas seems to have lost his early-season confidence since being pushed further down the bench and Hughes has publicly expressed his frustration with his own lack of playing time. I'd like to see what we've got with Douglas over the balance of the season and also to get Hughes back with the program as I believe that on such a young team the demeanor of a veteran like Hughes can have a big impact. Oh, and I'd also like to see it happen because Duhon is garbage.

Get well soon, CP3.