Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
I’m sorry guys, when I heard there was going to be a lockout, I cryogenically froze myself. My buddy was supposed to unfreeze me, but I think he went crazy and completely forgot. Something about Tim Tebow apparently being a viable NFL quarterback. Anyways, what’s been up? Chris Paul now plays for the Clippers, but he was supposed to play for the Lakers, and David Stern and Dan Gilbert are the devil, and Chris Kaman is on suicide watch? Wow. Let me have a moment to catch up. You guys can picture a montage of me reading websites set to “Push It To the Limit” if you would like.
And I’m back. Listen guys, I know this is all a little scary and unprecedented. I know some of you aren’t ready to live in a world where the league runs teams, or the Lakers are told no, or GASP!, the Clippers are contenders. It’s all very strange, and smacks of some weird underground conspiracy, like the Illuminati are Blake Griffin fans or something. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay, just take a few deep breaths, and good ol’ Jordan is going to tell you what’s what in all of this craziness. There are several ridiculous ideas floating around, some of them true, mind you, and I’m going to make sure you leave here with a better idea of the lay of the land.
First off, there is this wonderfully dystopian idea that the trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers was vetoed due to the fact that many of the owners (who of course own the Hornets by extension at the moment) felt that sending the league’s best point man to the league’s most popular team kinda, you know, flew in the face of the whole lockout thing that you suckers just suffered through. This, kids, is what you call a falsitude, and I can prove it to you.
Hit the jump for Jordan’s thoughts on the Chris Paul-Clippers-Laker fiasco…
Let’s look at the New Orleans Hornets stood to gain in the two deals really fast. The Lakers’ deal basically entailed the Hornets getting Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and a first round pick for flavoring. I don’t have a problem with this deal in principal, it gives decent value for Paul, and sends good pieces to Nawlins. It’s a great trade, IF the Hornets had another star player waiting in the wings. These players are not getting any younger, and while all are good, none are above a third wheel on a title contender in my mind. Maybe they grab one of the lower seeds in the playoffs, maybe they make some noise. What they don’t do is get any better next year. New Orleans as a city doesn’t really attract outside help, and have you ever heard any superstar say the words “I REALLY want to play with Lamar Odom?” No? Didn’t think so. So the Hornets are stuck in mediocrity for several years, unless they pull a magical trade rabbit out of a hat.
The Clippers’ deal, on the other hand, sends number eight pick Al-Farouq Aminu , Chris Kaman (and his nearly $14 million in expiring salary), and Eric Gordon, who many feel will be a top five shooting guard in the league by the time the likes of Kobe and Dwayne fall off. Oh, and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 pick, which will likely be at least decent. In other words, this trade gives the Hornet’s back a lot of expiring money, and young, talented players to keep or trade.
I don’t know if you guys have been paying attention to the Atlanta Hawks recently, but one thing you don’t want to be is mediocre. You either have to build a contender through quick blockbuster trades (see Heat, Celtics, Knicks) or bottom out, draft a star, and spend the length of his rookie deal assembling enough talent to make them stay (see Spurs, Thunder). The Clippers’ deal sets up the Hornets perfectly to do the latter. This team will likely lose, a lot, in a year before a very deep draft. It’s a blank slate to remake how you see fit. If you are a kajillionaire who always wanted to own an NBA team.
Which of course is the most important thing. Make no mistake, David Stern hates that the league owns the Hornets, which put him in a position to have to help make personnel decisions for an NBA team. He hates that me and every other hack with a laptop have an opinion on this. The league knows that it is in their best interest to cut payroll and add young, cheap, up-and-coming-but-not-quite-there-yet-talent, and make this team an NBA starter kit for someone super-wealthy with a roundball fetish.
STILL not convinced? Okay. Give me one good reason why anyone would reward Donald Sterling? As in, awful, repugnant, heckles-his-own-players, doesn’t-pay-for-coach’s-cancer-treatment, brings-random-people-into-the-locker-room-to-ogle-players’ “beautiful black bodies” Donald Sterling? Got an answer for that, smart guy?
Didn’t think so.
So calm down and repeat after me: There is no conspiracy. There is no conspiracy. There is no conspiracy.
However, just because there is no conspiracy doesn’t mean there aren’t any casualties.
Wow, those guys sure don’t look thrilled to be Hornets, do they? Did anyone think to remove Eric Gordon’s shoestrings, and remove all sharp objects from their hotel rooms?
Then there is the Lakers, who have handled this entire situation uncharacteristically badly. After the first deal fell through, the Lakers gave up, leaving the door open for the other residents of the Staples Center to come in and steal all the thunder. Lamar predictably got his feelings hurt, forcing the team to deal him to…..the MAVERICKS?!?!? Yes, the Mavericks, for a trade exception. Odom was promptly replaced by Josh McRoberts, leaving many fans of the purple and gold to wonder if management was smoking crack and noticed “McBoberts” is really fun to say.
How about the Rockets? They seemingly had designs of trying to assemble a Nene-Gasol frontline, and seeing what they could do with it. Now, barring trades, they are stuck with a team full of young pieces, third wheels, and whatever the hell Hasheem Thabeet is.
Honestly though, there is no bigger loser in all of this then the NBA and its PR department. Trades much like these are literally conceived, worked out, and killed by management daily in the NBA. Usually you don’t care because you don’t hear about it. The league should have kept this quiet as possible, avoided any reports of a deal being completed until, you know, a deal was completed, and let all of us go on our happy basketball-loving lives. Instead, half of the fans think Stern is corrupt, and the other half thinks he’s an idiot. Muy no bueno after a lockout that already has people in a bad mood. Never mind poor Hornets GM Dell Demps, who TOTALLY had autonomy to make trades, huh?
But really guys, there is only one casualty of this trade that any one should be worried about. My brain. Because it is likely to melt after the hundreds of alley oops to be thrown by Chris Paul to Griffin, Jordan, and anyone else with a pulse on the Clippers’ roster.
Anyone got Sterling’s number? I need a cheap apartment in Lob City.