Chris Paul to Clippers: Hornets Got an Absolute Steal from Clippers

James Pearson@JKPIIICorrespondent IDecember 15, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13:  Eric Gordon #10 of the Los Angeles Clippers dribbles against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on December 13, 2009 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Finally Chris Paul is headed to L.A.! Not the one he originally planned for, but he is Hollywood bound. 

In return, the New Orleans Hornets received Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and Minnesota’s 2012 first round pick.

No team wants to trade an elite player like Paul, but with the Hornets' and Stern’s backs up against a wall after the Clippers claimed Chauncey Billups, they finally ended the drama.

After getting spurned by the league on a deal that would help them now, the Hornets received a package that, with patience, might come back to hurt the rest of the league for years to come.

I hate to say this, but David Stern might have known what he was doing all along by rejecting the L.A. Lakers proposal. Of course the Lakers must feel like they are getting steam rolled right now, especially with Dwight Howard off of the trade market.

The Hornets didn’t get Eric Bledsoe or get rid of Emeka Okafor’s contract either, those two in the deal is just too much to ask for.

Bledsoe could be that good and Okafor’s contract is that bad. But Stern managed to get the Hornets a package that might have him fielding calls with potential buyers.

The Hornets have a future now with Eric Gordon as their franchise cornerstone. Outside of Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, he is the best shooting guard in the league averaging 22.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game on 45 percent shooting.

Gordon will turn only 23 on the day NBA basketball returns, and he is still under his rookie contract. 

He increased his point per game average by nearly six points per game last year and that should go up even higher this year, as he is now the number one option, albeit on a poor team.

It may take the Hornets a few years, but Gordon is an excellent piece to build a franchise around.

He is bringing a little help with him too in Al-Farouq Aminu, the small forward out of Wake Forest who was a lottery pick just last season.

He was the guy who looked exactly like Steve Urkel when he was drafted, but he can actually play. He needs to improve his shot, but he can get up and down the floor, defend and take it to the hoop.

We heard the same thing about DeMar DeRozen, and he looks like he is turning out to be OK, so there is no reason that Al-Farouq Aminu can’t duplicate that type of success.

Chris Kaman doesn’t figure into the Hornets long-term plans. He can play when healthy and could be very attractive to any contending team, especially since he is in the final year of his current deal. The Hornets should be able to flip him quickly for a possible draft pick(s). 

The final, and what could end up being the biggest piece in the deal, is Minnesota’s 2012 first round draft pick.

However, the chances of it being a very high pick isn’t as likely as it seems, as Minnesota doesn’t look like they will be as bad as we know the post-Kevin Garnett-Timberwovles to be.

Sure, it’s going to be a lottery pick so you never know, plus if there is any team unlucky enough to end up trading two number one picks in consecutive years it’s the Clippers.

Pair that pick with their own pick in what is expected to be the deepest and most talented draft since 2003, the Hornets are setting the path to become the next Oklahoma City Thunder.

For a player who didn’t want to be on their team, who was going to walk in a year anyway, the Hornets not only got fair value for the disgruntled superstar, they might end up getting the better end of the deal. 

If I’m a prospective NBA owner (I can dream) buying the New Orleans Hornets seems a lot more attractive to me now than it did this morning.

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