The longest, shortest saga in the history of the NBA is finally over.
The past three weeks or so have seemed like three years, and have been largely unprecedented in the game’s history.
Never before have we seen the NBA rescind a completed trade, condemning three teams to the unenviable situation of explaining their intentions to their attempted trade pieces who end up remaining with their respective teams.
This situation got so bad that Lamar Odom felt he could no longer remain with the Lakers, and requested a trade which was granted to Dallas.
Nonetheless the Hornets and the NBA bargained hard and earned themselves a very good return.
In return for their All Star point guard Chris Paul, the Hornets received future star Eric Gordon, young talent Al-Farouq Aminu, the expiring contract of Chris Kaman and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ unprotected first round pick, which could be a high lottery selection.
To me this deal blows the proposed three team deal with the Lakers and Rockets out of the water.
Most people thought the Lakers trade was a great trade for all teams, that everyone got better and it was very fair. I disagreed.
The Lakers ended up giving away the ageing Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for Chris Paul. So they give up two players in the top 50 for a player in the top 10. Odom and Gasol have both probably seen their best days. Gasol is one of the most overrated players in the league. He is spineless, he’s soft and he’s not a player you can build around, as seen in Memphis. Odom is a walking headline for the wrong reasons and attracts the wrong crowds, notably that family he married into.
The Lakers constantly cheat the system and rig the league for their own benefit. They make ridiculous trades that other teams for some reason agree to and it ensures more long term success for the franchise. They always get the better end of the deal. Trading Gasol and Odom for Paul is ridiculous to me. Yes they got another team involved which made it a much better deal for the Hornets, but virtually the Lakers gave up two players past their prime for the game’s best point guard who isn’t in his prime yet.
They also would have brought in Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. Two players that are largely the opposite of each other. Kevin Martin is an inconsistent outside scorer and Luis Scola a very consistent inside contributor. Both are very useful players, for playoff and contending teams, not for a rebuilding team.
When you lose your superstar, regardless of how good a trade you can make or free agents you can attract, you are rebuilding. You can’t lose your best player and expect to maintain your excellence.
So how people thought that adding a series of good talent with no clear leader or star was a good thing was beyond me. Sure they’d probably make a lower seed in the playoffs, but who cares? You play this game to win and there is not one person out there who can tell me Odom, Martin and Scola would compete for the championship. Don’t tell me then they’d attract free agents. Who is going to go there to play with those players? Not only is it a small market, but they have no clear direction with no determined leaders.
What they are doing is prolonging their decline. It’s a gigantic waste of time.
The smartest thing to do is to acquire as many first round picks, expiring contracts and young talent. With this you can essentially start again, rebuild the team as you want it and have a real head start on doing so via the assets you received. The deal with the Clippers does just that.
Minnesota’s pick will be a lottery at the least, meaning the lottery bound Hornets will have two picks in the top 14. Eric Gordon is one of the finest young players in the game, and whilst he may choose to leave the team when he is a restricted free agent next summer, they could still trade him if they feel that is likely to happen. Kaman clears up over 10 million in cap space and Aminu is a promising young forward. It’s a great trade for the Hornets and the Clippers.
The first rule of the NBA is that if you can get a superstar you do whatever it takes to get them. While the price seems steep, and it seems they may have given up too much, a superstar takes a team to different heights both on and off the court.
The promise of Chris Paul throwing lobs to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, whilst dishing open looks for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler is mouth watering.
It puts the Clippers in a real position to not only make the playoffs, but potentially challenge for home advantage in the first round.
Nonetheless the era of the big market continues, and with Dwight Howard’s situation still up in the air, don’t expect the trend to stop any time soon.
Tags: Al Farouq Aminu Blake Griffin Caron Butler Chris Kaman Chris Paul DeAndre Jordan Dwight Howard Eric Bledsoe Eric Gordon Houston Rockets Kevin Martin La Clippers LA Lakers Lamar Odom Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Luis Scola New Orleans Hornets Orlando Magic Pau Gasol