So, after a seemingly endless stream of posturing, negotiating, vetoed trades and general BS, Chris Paul is finally on the move. And he’s coming to the Los Angeles Clippers. I know, it may take months for that sentence to actually sink in.
The deal, as reported by approximately 1,025,520 sources, brings Paul (and a pair of future second-round picks) to L.A. The Clips, in return, will send Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and a 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets.
What does this mean for the Hornets? They’re getting a good group of young players that gives the franchise a foundation for potential success in the future. In defense of David Stern, this is a better trade for New Orleans than the reported Odom/Martin/Scola package that was rejected last week. With a star player in Gordon, and (possibly) two lottery picks in next year’s loaded draft, the Hornets could be poised for a return to relevance faster than many expect. Good for them. However, we’re not here to talk Hornets, so enough about them.
This is the most important day in the history of the Los Angeles Clippers. Obviously, drafting Blake Griffin is up there, as well, but acquiring a once-in-a-lifetime talent like CP3 gives the Clippers something they’ve never had before: relevance.
Sure, they gave up quite a bit, as detailed above. For all we know, Gordon could be the next Michael Jordan, while Chris Paul may be headed down the road of Brandon Roy (unlikely, but still, you never know). Obviously, there is always risk involved when you’re making trades.
Now, the Clippers have two of the very best players in the league. Chris Paul (reportedly) actually said that he wanted to be a Clipper. Read that again. And again. And again. Make sense? No? Read it again. Chris Paul. Wanted. To be a Clipper. Yep, I know, still makes no sense. And he’s going to opt-in to his contract for next season. So, the Clips have two seasons to convince him to sign for the long-term.
In doing this trade, the Clippers are suddenly a desirable destination. If the prospect of playing with Blake Griffin wasn’t enough for a prospective free agent, now you’re pairing that guy with one of the best, most selfless players in the history of the league. Not too shabby, if you ask me.
Last season, the dunking antics of Griffin and DeAndre Jordan helped make the Clippers one of the more SportsCenter-friendly teams in the league. People would actually willingly pay to go see them on the road. Before 2010, was there ever a person in the history of Earth that said, “Oh, the Clippers are in town? Let’s go!”
Griffin and Jordan were enjoying their co-dunkfest last year with shoot-first point guards in Baron Davis and Mo Williams. Replace them with a distributor of Paul’s caliber, and…boy howdy!
The crowded backcourt may be an issue. L.A. suddenly has five guys capable of playing point guard: Paul, Williams, Eric Bledsoe, Randy Foye and Chauncey Billups. Fortunately, Williams, Billups and Foye can also play shooting guard, with Billups likely the starter (assuming no other roster moves are made). The Clippers were reluctant to include Bledsoe in the deal, but with so many other bodies, it may actually be tough to find meaningful minutes for him.
But, in the end, does it really matter? The Clippers just acquired Chris Paul. Feel better? Me too.
Does this deal mean the Clippers are now challenging the mighty Lakers for the collective heart of Los Angeles?
Of course not. The Lakers have won about 25 percent of the championships in the history of the NBA. The Clippers have won exactly zero percent. So, aside from some some extra-ambitious frontrunners, the Lakers are still L.A.’s team, and likely will be forever.
This is a big day for the Clippers and their true fans. Hopefully, for those fans, this trade ultimately amounts to true justification for suffering through nearly 30 years of futility.
Sure, L.A. is a massive market. Conventional wisdom suggests that it’s a no-brainer for a player of Paul’s caliber to want to play under the bright lights of the big city. However, the Clippers are different. The franchise has been in this town since 1984, yet hasn’t even won a division title, let alone a conference or world title. It’s a franchise that has been the butt of every joke as far as anybody can remember.
Today, everything changed.
The bandwagoners and frontrunners will flood Staples Center this year, without a doubt, and that’s fine.
Still, I’ll always know that I liked the Clippers before it was cool.
Today, I’m proud to be a Clipster.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.