By Dennis Berry
Stop me if you have heard this one before.
Chris Paul is headed to Los Angeles. The blockbuster trade finally happened and the All-Star point guard is taking his talents to the West Coast. He will team with another All-Star franchise player and play in front of sellout crowds at the Staple Center.
Paul will look good in a Clippers uniform.
Yes, you read that right. The shock of the NBA preseason is that the Los Angeles Clippers made the power move. The Clippers traded Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and a first round draft pick to New Orleans for Chris Paul.
The Clippers making the trade for Chris Paul is something that NBA fans are not used to seeing this from the Clippers. We are taking about the Clippers. A team that has been irrelevant in the NBA for the last 20 years. Since 1993 they have only had a winning record once. That was in the 2005-06 season they went 47-35. The Clippers have been known to make bad moves and not spend money.
This time the Clippers did what other teams could not do.
The first rumor that came up was the Paul would be head to Boston in a trade involving Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Boston was looking to upgrade their point guard. Rondo has been a huge part of the Celtics success the past few seasons, but when compared to Paul offensively he comes up short. Paul could provide more scoring from the point guard spot, plus is as good a defender as Rondo.
In the end, Paul said he would not sign a long term contract with Boston.
The Los Angeles Lakers thought they had Paul. It was a blockbuster trade. It was a three team trade that involved the Hornets, Lakers, and Houston Rockets. Paul was going to be headed to LA. The Rockets were going to get Pau Gasol. The Hornets would end up with Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and Lamar Odom.
Paul would have been a great addition for the Lakers. Paul would join All-Star Kobe Bryant in the back court. He would have replaced the scoring lost from Gasol and Odom. The Lakers would have gotten younger and had core of Paul, Bryant, Metta World Peace (Ron Artest), and Andrew Bynum to build around.
There were also reports the Lakers were going after Paul and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard to remake the franchise.
In the end the NBA vetoed that trade. There were reports that other owners were upset with the deal. Many felt it was unfair that the NBA, which owns the Hornets, would send Paul to a major market team like the Lakers. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert became the face of the upset owners when an email he sent to NBA Commissioner David Stern was leaked.
The Hornets and Lakers tried again to make a deal work, but could not come up with anything. The Lakers would walk away from the trade. A few days later, the Lakers traded Lamar Odom to Dallas for a first round pick and $8.9 million in trade exception.
The Clippers were the perfect team to make the trade for Paul. They had a lot of young talent to offer. Al-Farouq Aminu (21) and Eric Gordon (22) are still very early in their careers. They also get Chris Kaman, who will give the Hornets a dependable post player who will help offset the loss of David West. Plus the Hornets get the Minnesota Timberwolves 2012 first round pick.
This is what the NBA wanted. They have a team that they need to make look appealing to would be buyers. If they were going to trade Paul, then the Hornets needed to have young talent with no long terms contracts and a good draft picks.
A would be owner can look at the Hornets and see that there is no heavy expense he will have to take on. Young talent and draft picks give the new ownership pieces they can move to mold the team how they want it. They can trade for proven players or keep them and build the team through the draft.
So while the NBA got what it wanted for the Hornets, the story is just how many good moves the Clippers have made.
They recently picked up veteran point guard Chauncey Billups from waivers. That addition gives them a proven NBA Finals MVP to be a veteran leader. They also picked up Caron Butler, who just won a NBA title with Dallas. They also have Mo Williams who that got in part of the Baron Davis trade with Cleveland last year.
Of course Blake Griffin is still a Clipper too. The thought of Griffin and Paul on the same team has to be enticing for Clippers fans. They will get to see the duo for at least two seasons. The Clippers were able to convince Paul to commit to the Clippers for the 2012-13 seasons as well. That will give them a chance to sign Paul to a long term contract.
There are many questions that will need to be answered. How will Paul and Billups work together? What will the starting lineup be? Who will take the big shot when the Clippers need it?
Of course those questions will be answered at the season progress. Right now, enjoy Clippers fans. Your team made a big move.
Oh wait, the NBA did approve the trade right?