It looks like things are changing around LA.
The Los Angeles Clippers have acquired All Star guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets for guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, and Forward Al-Faroq Aminu. The Clippers also sent a 2012 unprotected Minnesota Timberwolves lottery pick–acquired back in 2005–and will receive two 2nd round future draft picks in return. The deal culminated late on Wednesday evening. The Clippers had previously stated that they had moved on from the prospect of acquiring Chris Paul because the NBA’s(owners of the Hornets)asking price was too high.
Adrian Wajnorowski had reported that the Hornets were originally asking for Eric Bledsoe, Chris Kaman, Al-Faroq Aminu, Eric Gordon, and the Minnesota pick. The Clippers then stated that they were moving on with their current core.
After the Clippers called off trade negotiations Monday, general manager Neil Olshey and coach Vinny Del Negro met with players and told them the team was moving forward with its current group. Shortly afterward, the Clippers acquired veteran guard Chauncey Billups by claiming him off the league’s amnesty waiver. Under league rules, Billups can’t be traded this season. -Adrian Wojnarowski
The acquisition of Billups was seen as leverage by the Hornets but the NBA did not budge. In the end they got exactly what they were asking for. The term “Basketball Reasons” stated by David Stern for rejecting the Los Angeles Lakers three team deal has now been legitimized because he fought for a much better deal than the Hornets were originally going to take from the Lakers and the Rockets. After that sequence of events, I believe that Stern should earn some GM of the year votes.
Lets break down the winners and losers of this trade. Overall, it looks like a pretty good trade for both sides.
For the Hornets: The Hornets now get exactly what they were looking for in rejecting the Lakers deal. They were looking for more youth and higher picks for rebuilding in the future. After all, who would want to purchase a franchise for 300 plus million with a future that is unstable? I know the Hornets are setback years because of this trade, but with what they got out of it they were in better shape than they would’ve been.
They get Eric Gordon. A guy who can score the ball with ease. He was just coming into his own last year as a scorer and a second option to Blake Griffin. He is a young player, only 22 years old, who has increase his scoring in each year that he has been in the league. He’s efficient too, shooting 45 percent from the field last year. That’s the main piece that the Clippers would’ve liked to keep. The Hornets did an excellent job by getting him from the Clippers. He’s a future building block for most franchises in the NBA.
They also acquired a former All Star Center in Chris Kaman. He’s had his health issues in the past and is 29 years old, but he can still be productive in a league with few actual centers. At worse you could at least trade Kaman for another piece or a pick. Even if it’s a low draft pick you can get something of value for him. Not to mention that Kaman is an expiring contract. It will be easy for the team to dump him off if need be; he doesn’t have to return.
Then you also get a player with tons of potential in Al-Faroq Aminu. Also, you get an unprotected Minnesota first round pick in the deal. This pick could potentially be a number 1 pick. It is likely to be a lottery pick and in this upcoming draft that isn’t a bad deal at all. This draft is flat-out stacked with talent.
Overall the Hornets did a great job milking the Clippers for all that they could get. As Hornets GM Dell Demps said, this is a bitter-sweet moment for them. You lose a franchise player in Chris Paul who has brought a lot to your organization. He is a class act type of guy and they have nothing but respect for him in New Orleans. However, you get these pieces that you can possibly rebuild your franchise with and make a better team than you ever had. Maybe one that Paul may have enjoyed playing with.
For the Clippers: The Clippers obviously get the All Star talent of Chris Paul. Paul is a guy that will make everyone he plays with five times better. Even though they aren’t finished yet, it looks like the Clippers are trying to show Blake Griffin they are all in. For once they are trying to show the world that they aren’t where good players go to die. With that being said, I think that the Clippers gave up a little bit too much when getting Paul in the deal. They should’ve positioned themselves better to maintain the Minny pick or at least Eric Gordon.
That’s my only problem with the trade, but let’s be real. That’s easier said than done. When a talent like Chris Paul comes knocking on your door you don’t just peep outside the window. You open it and welcome him in with open arms. Especially when you’re roommate is the Los Angeles Lakers.
This is like a scenario where you and your college dorm roommate are going after the same girl. You can’t both share her, she’s too good for that. One of you have to get her. Your roommate saw her first, but was afraid to make the move. That’s where you swoop in and you take her from your buddy, living hopefully happily ever after. Meanwhile, your buddy is sitting wondering what to do next.
That’s exactly what the Clippers did to the Lakers. They got the girl; in this case the girl is Chris Paul. I can’t blame them for making the move. I think it’s a good one. This puts them in the 50 win category to me. Paul now has all-star talent to work with; not to mention a center that he can mold into the ’08 Tyson Chandler. We all remember how fun that was right?
Synopsis: This is exciting to say the least. The Clippers are now a legitimate threat in the Western Conference for the first time in a while. The Hornets actually look to be in better shape than they were with just Paul. Depending on how they mold that team together, they could be a contender in years to come. I don’t think it’ll happen immediately. It should definitely take some time; but with time comes experience and that’s all they need. I think it was a win win for both sides. It’ll be interesting to see how each party’s season turns out.