Chris Paul is finally in Los Angeles. The trade, expected to be approved Wednesday evening, involves sending Chris Paul and two second round draft picks to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and a first round draft pick.
The Clippers gave up their veteran center in Kaman, their second most explosive player in Gordon and a solid building block for their future, all for a player who doesn't really fit into their roster.
Just take a look at the Clippers roster. They have recently acquired point guard Chauncey Billups, fellow point guards Randy Foye and Mo Williams and point/shooting guard Eric Bledsoe. Please tell me what the purpose is of trading for Chris Paul and giving away all of your supporting cast in the process when you have that kind of talent on your roster.
I understand that Chris Paul is without a doubt a better talent than all of those players combined, but the Clippers uprooted their entire roster for him, and at the same time, they handcuffed themselves financially for the next few years.
It will be difficult for the Clippers to add talent to their roster via free agency without serious cap money to spend. The Clippers also don't have a lot of picks left now that they traded away their first round pick from Minnesota for the young point guard. I know the Clippers don't need a lot of talent to compliment Paul and Griffin, but without serious role players they won't be more than a first round playoff team.
Last year Chris Paul averaged 15.8 points per game and 9.8 assists. That production is solid, especially for a player suffering from lingering injuries. There's a player on the Hornets now in Eric Gordon who put up a better points per game average than Paul with 22.3 points per game.
I'm not saying that Gordon is better than Paul, but he is younger and much more athletic. The Clippers will miss Gordon but they will miss another player they sent away much more.
That player is Chris Kaman, 2010 NBA All-Star and Blake Griffin's front court partner in crime. Kaman's production, statistically speaking, wasn't too shabby, averaging 12.4 ppg and 7.0 rpg, but what's more important about Kaman's game is the defensive pressure that he took away from Blake Griffin.
Blake Griffin, the 2010 NBA rookie of the year, benefited from opposing defenses having to focus their pressure on 7'0'' 265 pound Kaman. Now with Kaman wearing a Hornets jersey and DeAndre Jordan signing with the Wizards, Griffin's new frontcourt partner will most likely be rookie Trey Tompkins or undersized Caron Butler.
I hate to say it, but both of those players don't have near the amount of finesse on their game that Kaman did, which will result in defenses focusing their defensive pressure on Griffin, forcing him into a mid-range game that he doesn't yet have. Griffin's production will decrease in 2011, with defenses limiting his explosive athleticism by doubling down on him and forcing him into bad shots.
With all of that said, I think the Clippers gave away way too much to get only Chris Paul and two second round picks in return. Those picks will most likely end up being duds, and the success of the Clippers now relies on the front office being able to find role players to fit into a system focused solely on two players, Griffin and Paul.
There will undoubtedly be growing pains for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers, suffering from the same thing most teams do when they uproot their roster for top-tier talent, a lack of true chemistry.
I expect the Clippers to fall short of the playoffs this season, coming as close as being the ninth best team in the Western Conference. There just won't be enough time to develop a playoff-level team chemistry in the shortened 66-game season.
In a year or two, Clippers fans will be wondering what could have been if they hadn't uprooted their entire team for Chris Paul.
Chris Paul will never be able to live up to the hype and expectations surrounding this trade, resulting in the Clippers never getting past the second round of the playoffs in his tenure with the team.