LeBron James is headed to the Miami Heat, but there’s room in the state of Florida for another superstar – at least, there should be.
The Orlando Magic should aggressively counter Miami’s new and deadly trio of players (that have agreed to play for the Heat – with contract negotiations still pending).
The Magic now shift from being the 2nd seed in the Eastern conference last season to arguably the 2nd best team in the state.
That’s why Orlando needs to explore making a counter move – specifically adding a major piece that was mentioned in rumors around the time of the NBA Draft – and that was the talk of acquiring superstar point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.
It remains to be seen if Chris Paul is even available via trade, as a number of these reports could just be misguided rumors – but amidst the rumors emerging, Paul did chime in with a few thoughts on the matter.
“I want to win now,” Chris Paul said to John Reid of The Times Picayune late last week.
Paul also went on to profess his love for the city of New Orleans, but reiterated a similar point – and a willingness to play elsewhere.
“My first choice is New Orleans,” Paul said in a story by Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine. “I just want to make sure we’re committed to winning. If we’re not committed to winning and trying to get better so we can contend with the Lakers, the Celtics and all these other top teams, then I’m open to being traded.”
Queue the Magic.
Orlando is in a winning position, what with reaching the NBA Finals two seasons ago and the Eastern Conference Finals this past season.
However, with the new duo of Chris Bosh and LeBron James soon to join Dwyane Wade just a few hours south of O-Town, it’s possible that the Magic’s elite position in the Eastern Conference may be in jeopardy.
With the Heat playing in the same division as Orlando, the Magic may lose significant home-court advantage if they were to make it to the 2011 NBA Playoffs – which many feel they will.
That’s why Orlando should make a counter move, by adding a superstar that can push Miami harder than the current Orlando roster can.
Enter Chris Paul.
Paul is open to a trade and he’d fit in well with Dwight Howard and the rest of the roster.
As previously discussed, plenty of rumors have been mentioned involving Paul and a number of teams (including Orlando) – although it remains to be seen how much the Hornets would consider dealing away its superstar point guard – if at all.
That doesn’t mean that Orlando shouldn’t continue to explore such an option – and perhaps they are doing just that, especially after LeBron’s announcement came out Thursday night.
Among the rumors that have floated around in recent weeks included names like Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter being moved in such a deal.
Right now, it’s not the names or the players that are involved, as Orlando certainly has the pieces that could be moved to New Orleans in exchange for a player like Chris Paul.
The key point is instead that while many critics aren’t sold on the Miami Heat just yet, the Magic should consider a counter attack to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference – just in case the trio of James, Bosh and Wade flourishes on South Beach.
The Magic’s current roster – albeit very talented and explosive – didn’t have the pieces in place to handle a Boston Celtics team that had moments where it showed its age throughout the majority of the regular season.
Often the biggest pieces aren’t just superstars, but the ability to have a big man that can be a dominating presence, along with a scrappy point guard that can run the offense, while peppering in some scoring.
Dwight Howard is both the dominating presence and a superstar.
Jameer Nelson is that point guard – but Chris Paul is that point guard – and then some.
That’s why the Orlando Magic can (and should) make this NBA offseason that much more interesting by finding a way to acquire Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.
Then we’ll see who will have the most “magic” on the court during the upcoming season – Superman and Co., or “The King” and his merry men.
If anything, it would make for great theater – and further shift the power of the NBA over to the Eastern Conference.