This is the power of Blake Griffin. Without him, we are not having this discussion. And it’s pretty crazy we are having this discussion anyway.
The Los Angeles Clippers are close to landing Chris Paul in a trade, the Los Angeles Times and ESPN report.
ESPN reports the deal has been submitted to the league for approval, although the exact players going back to New Orleans are not quite clear.
The Times says the deal sends Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ unprotected first-round pick for this draft (the Clippers have the rights to that pick) to New Orleans. ESPN reports that Eric Gordon, not Bledsoe, is in the deal, which makes way more sense for the Hornets, but that the holdup is that the Hornets wanted Bledsoe as well. Yahoo reports that Gordon is not part of the deal.
If Gordon is not part of this deal, it is a steal for the Clippers. There are reports Los Angeles is refusing to include Gordon. Insert your own “basketball reasons” joke here.
ESPN says Paul agreed to the Clippers’ demand and would pick up his option on his current deal for the 2012-13 season. The Hornets are trading him because he would not pick up that option for them and was to become a free agent.
With the option picked up, he would be a Clipper for two seasons, then could re-sign or become a free agent.
Paul was to be traded to the Lakers in a three-way deal that frankly might have netted more for the Hornets. In that deal they would have landed sixth man of the year Lamar Odom, plus Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a lower first-round pick than the Timberwolves’ pick is likely to be. However, David Stern rejected that deal for “basketball reasons.”
That’s not true. Stern shot it down because other owners freaked out to learn the powerhouse, big-market Lakers were going to land a superstar player after a lockout where small-market owners fought to rein in those big market teams. This was about the Lakers getting better.
The other owners don’t really care if the big-market-but-cheap Clippers get better, so this deal probably will go through. So Clippers owner Donald Sterling — a man who has a terrible history as an owner, a guy who paid out the largest federal housing discrimination lawsuit settlement in history, a guy who has made the Clippers a laughingstock in pro sports — can do what he wants, but Jerry Buss cannot because he’s smart and successful running a team? Nice.
The Clippers’ package would net the Hornets younger players, but not as much quality. The unprotected first-round pick could be big in a deep draft expected next June and Eric Gordon is a star on the rise — but apparently he is not part of the offer, which is crazy the Hornets should be demanding him. It’s hard to see how Eric Bledsoe can really hold up this deal.