L.A. Lakers: Do the Lakers Still Have a Shot at Signing Chris Paul?
Some Lakers fans are still fuming about NBA commissioner David Stern's decision to nix the trade that would have brought Paul to the Lakers, and the angst is only increased when you imagine how much Paul could have meant to the Lakers last season.
Instead, in the cruelest twist of irony, Lakers fans were forced to watch Paul create his magic with the Lakers' arena mates.
It's bad enough that Stern inexplicably vetoed a trade that was legitimate on every level, but it's worse when you consider how egregious his indiscretion was.
Did Stern even consider the terms of the deal? Or did he just see Kobe Bryant paired with Paul?
Stern maintains that he killed the deal due to basketball reasons, but if that's the case, then the Lakers got killed on the basketball side.
The trade would have brought Paul to the Lakers, but it also would have subtracted both Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol from the roster.
Of course, center Andrew Bynum was still there, but how many of you predicted that Bynum would have the type of season he did last year, or that he would have even made it through the season at all?
Many people assumed that after acquiring Paul, an inquiry about a possible Bynum-for-Orlando Magic-center-Dwight Howard deal was the next logical step for the Lakers, and I guess Stern believed that theory as well.
Stern's preemptive strike against another few years of Lakers dominance did set the franchise back a few seasons, but what happens if Paul decides after next season that he still likes Los Angeles, but he prefers different colors?
Paul is under contract next season, but in 2013-14, he is an unrestricted free agent, no strings attached.
According to the Clippers, they are confident that Paul will re-sign with the team once he becomes a free agent, but it's only rational to think his decision will be based on how the Clippers improve their roster in the offseason.
The Clippers' current roster is certainly entertaining and exciting, but it's not like they are anywhere near championship-ready, and I have strong doubts that they ever will be.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin is probably the franchise's strongest argument for Paul to remain a Clipper, but is Griffin really the kind of player that you can build around?
Don't get me wrong, I like Griffin and his athleticism and his dunking ability. However, unless he makes a huge fundamental leap, I can also see his ceiling as a player.
I can't say the same for Bynum.
Bynum's history of injuries prevented him from realizing his true potential, but a healthy season put his skills on display for all to see.
And imagine how good Bynum can be when he learns to temper his attitude and control his emotions.
Bynum, as a true low-post center, may be the rarest commodity in the NBA, and while Griffin is far from a one-trick pony, athleticism, strength and leaping ability will only carry you so far.
Eventually, Griffin will have to prove he has talent to back up his athleticism, but if Paul chooses to switch colors, he will not encounter that dilemma.
Paul has been respectfully silent when it comes to his impending free agency, but to the best of my knowledge, he didn't seem to have any problem playing for the Lakers when the initial deal was announced.
For those of you who think my proposition is desperate, take a deep breath and relax, because I feel the same way. However, until Paul officially signs his name on the dotted line, it's alright to dream.
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