After trading away Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and a conditional first-round pick that could in the top five to the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers are feeling a lot better about the future of their team now that they have one of the league's top point guards on their side.
With Paul set to join Blake Griffin and form one of the league's top duos, the Clippers are not only going to be one of the league's most exciting and entertaining teams to watch, but they'll also achieve relevance for the first time since 2007, which happens to be the last time they made the postseason. The Clippers have usually been one of sports' easiest punchlines, but that may no longer be the case with Paul now set to run the point.
CP3 has worked miracles before. Take a look at the 2008 New Orleans Hornets, who he led to 56 wins and a division title when David West, Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson were the top contributors.
This trade also momentarily works wonders for the Hornets as well since they'll be receiving a potential superstar in Eric Gordon, a project in Aminu and a solid center in Chris Kaman, who has been known to cause some damage when healthy. They also receive a conditional first-round pick from Minnesota that is sure to result in the top five for the Hornets.
Hey, that's all fine and dandy for the Clippers and Hornets, but the Los Angeles Lakers are feeling a little peeved to say the least. Reports are coming in that the prestigious franchise is fuming over the trade, especially with what transpired a week earlier when the Lakers made their own little deal to obtain Chris Paul.
In a deal that would have sent Pau Gasol to Houston as well as Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and Lamar Odom being sent to New Orleans, the Lakers in return would have obtained the services of Chris Paul. Losing Odom and Gasol would have been devastating blows, but the team would at least have somewhat of a future to look forward to with CP3 now on the team and forming quite possibly the best back court in NBA history between himself and Kobe Bryant.
Only a few hours after the trade was about to be set in stone, the NBA intervened and nullified the trade by citing "basketball reasons" as the cause of the deal being struck dead. In response to being traded, Odom felt distraught and would end up demanding a trade. He would get his wish shortly after and was sent to the Dallas Mavericks in return for a few draft picks.
So not only do the Lakers lose out on Chris Paul, but they also give up their lone quality player off the bench in Odom. With Odom now gone, the most the Lakers can rely on is Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. It only gets worse for the team as second-year forward Derek Caracter will have to possibly sit the next six weeks due to torn cartilage in his knee.
And now the Clippers get Chris Paul while not even having to get rid of Blake Griffin? Sure they had to give up Gordon and a high draft pick, but they also gave away an oft-injured center with an expiring contract and an unproven second year forward. The Lakers gave away Gasol and Odom to Houston and New Orleans and had their deal voided, so what exactly makes the Clippers trade valid and not the Lakers?
Not much really. The Hornets wouldn't have received a potential superstar in Gordon, but they'd still end up receiving a quality team to build around. Odom is one of the league's most multi-dimensional players that's capable of playing every position, Martin is a high volume scorer, Scola is excellent in the post and Dragic has the potential to be a starter after learning the ins and outs during his time with Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns.
Now the Lakers have to deal with a cross-town and division rival that has Chris Paul four times a year, while having absolutely no bench to rely on and no future to look forward to.
Can you blame the Lakers' front office for possibly being a little aggravated at this situation? They should be the ones with Chris Paul, not their rivals. The Lakers had to give up just as much to the Hornets and Rockets, while the Clippers were only forced to give up Gordon, who has an expiring contract and may not be with the Hornets for much longer.
So much for protecting the interests of a small market. The NBA blew it badly on this one and they may now see the demise of the Lakers franchise that has been supporting the league since the 1950's. They still might have Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, but with an aging Derek Fisher, a small forward who just averaged eight points per game and a center who can't keep his emotions in check, the Lakers aren't looking any better than the Hornets at this point.
They'll continue to go on their championship runs for the next few seasons, but there isn't that much to look forward to unless their plethora of rookies and second-year players miraculously turn into potential starters that are capable of leading a team, or if they can somehow land Dwight Howard.
The Lakers best bet would be to go after Howard. They still have Gasol and Bynum to let loose and Howard could potentially bring about a few players to play alongside him and start a new era in Lakers basketball.
Unless the NBA has something to say about that as well.