As I suggested in this article back in May, the Los Angeles Clippers seemed to be a realistic trade partner for the New Orleans Hornets and Chris Paul. After a week of rumors and vetoed trade proposals by David Stern, CP3 has finally been dealt to the Clips for three players headlined by Eric Gordon along with a first round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. It is a risky deal for L.A. who somewhat mortgages their future with the hope that Paul will stick with the Clippers and not leave via free agency in the summer.
Los Angeles Clippers get: PG Chris Paul, two second round picks
New Orleans Hornets get: SG Eric Gordon, C Chris Kaman, SF Al-Farouq Aminu, 2012 First Round Pick (via Minnesota)
Why This Makes Sense for Clippers:
Tired of being the red-headed stepchild NBA franchise in L.A., the Clips make a major splash by acquiring one of the top point guards in the league and deliver a slap in the face to their neighbor Lakers who struck out in their attempt to land Paul. It did cost them a pretty penny in two up-and-coming wing players along with a likely high draft pick. To take a shot at pairing Paul with Blake Griffin seems worth the risk even if CP3 is in the final year of his deal and not immediately willing to sign a long-term extension.
What is interesting is the Clippers now have four point guards; Paul, the recently claimed off waivers Chauncy Billups, Mo Williams, and Eric Bledsoe. They also have combo guard Randy Foye so it will be interesting to see how the team plans to utilize all their point guards. The trade also leaves L.A. very thin up-front with Brian Cook and rookie Trey Thompkins being the only reserves for starters Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Why This Makes Sense for New Orleans:
CP3 wasn’t re-signing with the Hornets so they had to maximize his worth now and get the best offer in return adding some sorely needed depth to their roster. Gordon and Aminu give them two solid pieces for the future while the Timberwolves first round pick will likely add one of the top prospects in the 2012 NBA Draft. Gordon is the gem of this deal as he is developing into one of the top shooting guards in the league and will quickly become the new face of the franchise. He will be a restricted free agent next off-season so it will be interesting to see if he is willing to sign a long-term extension to stay in the Bayou.
Kaman will provide the Hornets with some size to pair up-front with Emeka Okafor which was especially needed since David West signed with the Pacers. Plus, Kaman is in the final year of his deal so New Orleans could turn his expiring contract into another piece later in the season or allow his salary to come off the books after this year thus creating more cap space.
I say depends because if Paul ends up just being a one-year rental for the Clips, this trade tremendously backfires and the Hornets score a King’s Ransom while L.A. once again has to work their way up from the bottom. If CP3 ends up staying with the Clippers for the long-term, then they are on the verge of becoming a championship caliber team. Should be interesting…
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.Follow paulmbanks