If New Orleans gets to the place where they feel they have to trade Paul, what is it that they will want to accomplish?
1. They're going to attach Okafor to Paul to get rid of his 4 year, $52 million contract. Not Stojakovich, not Posey. Okafor is the long-term contract they want to get rid of.
2. They're going to want young, inexpensive talent.
3. They're set at power forward. David West is a very good talent and a reasonable contract.
4. They're not going to want a starting PG in return, as Collison will be their guy - and he's cheap.
5. They're not trading Marcus Thornton. He was a pleasant surprise at the SG, and he is also very cheap.
Rather than look at what Portland would give up for Paul, maybe the place to start is to determine what other teams might have to offer. Which teams are equipped with the cap space or the expiring contracts and the young talent at the right positions that could entice NO to trade Paul?
New York? They have cap room and they have Curry's expiring contract, but the Knicks have very little to offer in the way of young talent. They can meet NO financial goals, but not give them the young talent to help re-tool the team.
Orlando? No cap room, but they can get there with Carter's $17 million expiring contract and they would certainly want to include Nelson's $7 million as his services would certainly not be needed any longer with Paul on the roster. However, I don't see Carter or Nelson being attractive to NO. Nelson is a PG and just gets in the way of Collison's development. Like the Knicks, do they have the young, cheap talent to entice NO?
Lakers? Bynum and Odom? Is Bynum attractive to anyone at $14 million for two years with his injury problems?
It seems like Portland is the team that can meet both the financial goals for NO, while also supplying them with good young talent. Throw in the fact that they have a head coach that is very familiar with Portland's roster, It doesn't seem far fetched to think that if NO gets to the place of trading Paul, that Portland isn't going to get a real close look.
I just don't see another team that can put a package together as attractive as what Portland can do.