Chris Paul to Clippers: It's Official, CP3 to LAC Makes Them the Best Team in LA

Jose SalviatiCorrespondent IIDecember 15, 2011

Finally! He's a Clipper!
Finally! He's a Clipper!Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Well, that took awhile.

After enough NBA shuckin' and Clipper jivin' to last a few off seasons, the deal is done. Chris Paul is a Los Angeles Clipper.

Not only did it take too long, but it cost the Clippers both assets they were hoping to protect in the trade. The Clippers will send Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets in exchange for Paul and two future second-round picks.

The Clippers had hoped to retain Gordon to go along with the dynamic duo of Paul and Blake Griffin. Additionally, they had hoped to pick up a quality, NBA-ready player with that 2012 pick. Both Gordon and the player selected with the pick will now likely wear a Hornets jersey.

Of course, that means Chris Paul will don Clipper red, white and blue.

Generally speaking, a team that gets the superstar in the trade wins. Few remember who was included in the trade that brought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Los Angeles, but everyone remembers KAJ's career with the Lakers.

Likewise, as much as this ended up costing the Clippers, what will be remembered is that the Clippers landed Chris Paul. Not only do they get to enjoy one of the best point guards in the league but they did it while delivering a punch in the gut to the Lakers.

That's right, the Clippers outdid the Lakers.

This is significant and will add fuel to what has been a non-existent rivalry. What I'm sure means more to the Clippers, however, is that this makes them the better team. When you compare the two teams' starting fives as they stand now, it's not really close.

Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum, Metta World Peace and Josh McRoberts

Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler and Blake Griffin

When you add bench strength to this list, the Clippers' advantage widens. I realize it goes against everything we have grown accustomed to, NBA fan, but it's time to realize that the best basketball team in Los Angeles is no longer the Lakers.

That distinction now belongs to the Los Angeles Clippers.