Why the New Orleans Hornets Are Obvious Losers from the Chris Paul Trade

Zayne Grantham@ZPGSportsContributor IIIJanuary 31, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets moves the ball while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers came up with a deal back in December that sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Clippers in exchange for three players and an unprotected first-round pick. So far in 2012, it is obvious that the Hornets got the short end of the stick in that deal.

The Hornets are currently dead last in the NBA Southwest and show no signs of mounting any sort of comeback. They have the worst record in the Western Conference at 4-17 and are tied for the second-worst winning percentage in the NBA.

This season has been especially painful for fans to watch, and the fact that the Hornets lost CP3 and gained so little makes it sting that much more.

In that trade, the Hornets received the Minnesota Timberwolves' unprotected first-round pick, guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman and forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Gordon is one of the NBA's most promising young guards, but he has only played in two games for the Hornets thanks to injuries. No matter how talented Gordon is, he cannot help the Hornets from the bench.

It does not help New Orleans that they were unable to reach a deal with Gordon before the deadline. The Hornets may now see a potential great walk away from the organization this offseason. If Gordon walks, then that would only leave two players and a first-round pick with the Hornets from the Paul deal.

However, it seems very likely that one of the other players in that deal, Kaman, could be traded before the March 15 deadline.

Kaman has seen his playing time decrease dramatically over the past week or so. The Hornets have stated a couple of different reasons as to why Kaman is not playing, but it is ultimately because they are trying to trade Kaman, and they want to get some more playing time for their younger big guys.

Chris Kaman will likely be traded in before the March 15 trade deadline.
Chris Kaman will likely be traded in before the March 15 trade deadline.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

We might as well say that Kaman is no longer having an impact on the Hornets, and he will likely be gone next year no matter what happens during the rest of this season.

This means that the Hornets could potentially be losing two of the three players they received in that trade back in December.

The only player out of that deal that looks as if he could stay in New Orleans is Aminu. However, the Hornets do not truly know what they have in this young player. He is only a second-year forward out of Wake Forest and has yet to make an impact in the NBA.

In 2012, Aminu has averaged just five minutes a game in the 21 matches he has participated in. The Hornets have a good amount of young talent in their front court, but they do not know what to expect from Aminu just yet. They could just as likely get rid of Aminu this coming offseason if they decide they have enough talent in that spot.

Other than these three players, the Hornets also received the Timberwolves' first-round pick, but it does not look as if that pick will be nearly as high as New Orleans had hoped. The T-wolves are currently 10-11, but have won six out of their last ten and look to be improving as the season goes on.

Even if Minnesota does not improve much during the rest of the season, it looks as if they will finish in the middle of the pack. Many Hornets fans were hoping to get a top-10 pick from Minnesota, but that looks very unlikely at this point.

On the other side of this deal, the Clippers hit the jackpot. They gave up a lot for Paul, but they also made some big moves in the offseason to make sure they could give up some talent to get CP3.

The Clips are currently leading the NBA Pacific at 12-6 and have won three straight. They look like they could be one of the best teams in the league, and a large portion of that is due to adding Paul before the season.

The summary of the CP3 trade is that the Clippers got a player that is capable of taking over games at will and commands control on the court. The Hornets got three players that could all be gone in the next year or two, along with a first-round draft pick.

It is obvious that the Hornets got the bad end of the deal. Now let's just hope that they can recover and find a way to compete in the next few years.