Grade the Trade: Golden State Warriors send Chris Paul home in cost-saving proposal

Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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Laying out a Chris Paul trade

The Warriors may be open to a cost-saving move, as Hoops Hype reported, but they also aren't going to completely punt on the season. Trading Paul for contract flotsam is possible but unlikely; how do you go to Stephen Curry and say "we're trading this Hall of Fame guard for nothing that will help you win." Instead, it will likely look something like the original Paul trade; send out salary (Jordan Poole) in exchange for a player who can help and some financial savings.

Chris Paul makes $30.8 million this season, so the Warriors can trade him to a team under the tax apron and take back as little as $23.3 million in return. A perusal of salaries around the league turns up one very intriguing option: what if the Warriors sent Paul back to his home state of North Carolina in exchange for Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier?

Here's what such a trade could look like:

Chris Paul to Hornets

Terry Rozier makes $23.2 million this season, a literal hair below the line necessary for the Hornets and Warriors to make a one-for-one swap. Adding Frank Ntilikina would work if they guaranteed just a sliver of his non-guaranteed contract. The Warriors can then waive him immediately, or keep him around for a few weeks as an emergency poor man's Gary Payton II.

For the Hornets, this move is about the draft pick. Their season has fallen apart as their rotation struggles with injuries and their defense proves unable to stop opponents. Moving Rozier for Paul frees up future cap space for the Hornets and adds draft capital for a veteran player they couldn't rely on this season (he's played in just eight of 19 games for the Hornets).

The Hornets can fairly easily talk themselves into this deal; what about the Warriors?