Well, the Chris Paul trade speculation appears to be over.
If you haven't caught wind of the news yet, the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers have come to a tentative agreement to send young star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles. However, unlike the Lakers deal, commissioner David Stern has absolutely no problem signing off on this one.
Many are now speculating that Los Angeles is now the Clippers' town, with Lamar Odom being shipped off in ugly fashion to the Dallas Mavericks and the Lakers coming up seemingly empty-handed in the free agency frenzy. This can be debated, as the Lakers still boast a strong team. What many people fail to realize here is that the Hornets have lost in this trade compared to the one that Stern nixed just a few days ago.
In the original trade, the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers agreed to send several quality players to the Hornets, helping them rebuild and ease the pain of losing their superstar in Paul. While the trade with the Clippers is not entirely one-sided, I fully believe that the Hornets were actually hurt by Stern trying to look out for them. In vetoing the deal to prevent the Lakers from forming a "super team," Stern kept the league-owned Hornets from obtaining quality players.
The current, two-team trade sends Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota's 2012 unprotected pick to New Orleans in exchange for Chris Paul and two future second-round picks. Not too shabby.
Gordon looks to be an emerging scorer, and Kaman is a solid center, if not on a decline due to age. The issue with this package is that it is contingent on how these players pan out. Gordon could digress or play worse in a new system. Aminu could end up being average at best. There is too much uncertainty with this trade.
Which trade would have benefitted the Hornets the most?
Compared to what the Hornets would have received in the Lakers-Hornets-Rockets deal, this deal is sorely lacking. The vetoed deal would have sent New Orleans Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom, highly talented Luis Scola and Kevin Martin from the Rockets, and a 2012 first-round pick to the in exchange for Paul.
The deal would have brought the Hornets three great starters in Odom, Scola and Martin. This core would've helped the Hornets compete now, not years in the future. Although it is a smaller note, the Hornets also wouldn't have needed to ship off two second-round picks for a first-rounder.
When these two packages are considered from the Hornets angle, they lost.
In trying to protect New Orleans and help them transition into a new era, commissioner Stern hurt the franchise by vetoing a great trade and putting his John Hancock on a more inferior agreement. The main question to ask is whether Stern was sincerely trying to help the New Orleans franchise or if he was simply trying to prevent another "super team" from forming in Los Angeles.