Finally we can all pack away the tents we used for those Black Friday Deals and waiting on line for those IPhones at the local Apple Store. Chris Paul is finally a Clipper thanks to a trade finalized and announced last night by the NBA. Here are the pertinent details:
Clippers Receive: PG Chris Paul
Two 2nd Round Draft Picks 2015
Hornets Receive: SG Eric Gordon
SF Al Farooq-Aminu
C Chris Kaman
Minnesota’s Unprotected first round draft pick in 2012
TJ Simers of the Los Angeles Times wonders if there’s any room for the Lakers in L.A. anymore. Mike Breshnahan said the Lakers organization were still fuming over their trade being nixed by the NBA. John Reid of the Times-Picayune writes that David Stern believes he made the right deal. The better deal. For the Hornets. Bill Dwyre wonders what the NBA did with Donald Sterling. This can’t be the Clippers! JA Adande writes that these are not your daddy’s Clippers or even your older brother by one or two years’ Clippers. Finally, long time Clipper fan and my favorite basketball scribe Peter Vecsey still only gives the co-tenants of the Staples center second billing and explains why. Chris Sheridan says there are ONLY losers, and not winners in this Chris Paul trade.
At first, I was firmly against this trade. Giving up Eric Gordon before he reached his potential or the age of 25 (he turns 23 on Christmas day), and a potential lottery pick in Minnesota’s unprotected number one was potentially huge. Throw in cap relief in Chris Kaman’s expiring contract and some young players the Clippers were thought to be blowing up the team in hopes of excavating a playoff contender. Of course with the Clippers luck, they would’ve found a way for Chris Paul to trip over a banana peel on his way to the podium for today’s press conference announcing the trade. Paul has apparently agreed to opt-in to 2012-2013 so the Clips aren’t getting a one season rental. But the door is open for Paul, if he doesn’t like it there, to explore his trade options at age 28 when barring catastrophic setback to his knees, will still be a very intriguing option for any NBA team during that offseason.
But as I looked closer at the deal I realized one thing, I was banking on a lot of unknowns panning out. There’s a lot of people who think the Clips vault themselves into contention automatically with this trade. Alot of people who believe they are better than the Lakers by virtue of this trade (they should have their heads examined). A lot of people who think that the Clippers are now up there with the Grizzlies and even the Oklahoma City Thunder by making this move. And if they are correct then yes, this is the correct move.
But let’s take a look at how the Clippers would’ve looked had they NOT made a move. The unprotected pick has a very good shot at being a lottery selection and this year’s draft promises to be one deep in talent. With Eric Gordon, free agent signee Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups gained through the Amnesty auction, have a mix of youthful talent and experience at several key positions. That’s the kind of upside/experience you want on a team and the Clippers were BUILDING a team and not manufacturing it. Yes this sounds very zealous of me to say and I may be clouded in judgement knowing that CP3 may have had an easier time convincing himself that he could join the Knicks at the end of the season. But the Clippers had an assemblage of talent and had two other assets to play around with. They had the 2012 pick which would’ve beefed up the team even more and they had Chris Kaman’s expiring contract to use as a trade chip to add a veteran F/C during the stretch run.
Now, the Clippers have CP3 and Blake Griffin and a bunch of other players. They have four point guards (in reality 3 with Chauncey used as the 2 guard which might help explain his need to do the stop and pop from long distance at a rate of five times a game) and will most certainly have to give up Mo Williams unless their plan is to go small a lot and use Mo as a SG. The biggest reason for doing this CP3 trade is because of Blake Griffin. Blake changes everything for the Clippers. He gives them credibility and a player that has stolen alot of the public love in Los Angeles away from Kobe Bryant, the Lakers longtime superstar. The Kobe era is fading and the Clippers wanted to take advantage of that by not only getting the best player to help prop Blake up that extra level, but also to speed up that aging process. Imagine Kobe looking despondently as his Lakers are escorted out of the playoffs by the CLIPPERS! Imagine the state of catatonic shock Jack Nicholson will be in when Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle) is pointing his finger laughing at him. The world will probably start coming to an end.
This move is to ensure that Blake resigns which means the pressure is on for the Clips. If they don’t do well this season and head into next season with a lot of questions as Chris Sheridan expects them to (he doesn’t expect them to even make the playoffs) Paul might already be booking his exit flight and Blake may view the situation in Clipper land untenable. And trust me, with Donald Sterling as your owner that scenario is in play.
So again I asked myself why would the Clips make this move? After all, by signing Chauncey off the amnesty auction, they sent a direct message to the NBA, who were conducting negotiations on the CP3 sweepstakes, that they didn’t need him and were moving on; even if that turned out to be a ploy to get the NBA back into the bargaining table. If so, then WHY give up that much? You did all this to keep Eric Bledsoe? Bledsoe is certainly a well liked player in the Clipper locker room and projects to be, at his best, a Rondo prototype but he’s the guy you are claiming victory on by keeping? Bledsoe? The Clippers seemingly had the upper hand in negotiations and the NBA still suckered Donald Sterling into providing three of his best assets for Chris Paul.
I’m not saying that CP3 isn’t worth it. Would I do it if I were the Clippers? Maybe not, but is it worth considering and a long second look? Yes. More so than I cared to admit when I first heard about the trade. Chris Paul can make good teams great and great teams elite, as he would have for the Lakers. But this was AS much to do with Blake Griffin and shedding the label of losers that the Clips have had since Sterling took over as it was anything else. It was about building a culture of winning, independent of all the history that suggested otherwise. In the backdrop of the huge shadow that the Lakers cast, this was such a wonderful master stroke: imagine, if you will, the Lakers getting outbid and outsmarted for an elite player by the lowly Clippers. Sterling won the PR battle today and provided that CP3 remains his normal self, the Clippers will certainly invite more favorable comparisons.
The Clippers are not the better team in Los Angeles. They still have Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. They got a very underrated scorer in Josh McRoberts. Most importantly they still have Kobe Bryant. They have a motivated Kobe after being swept in the Finals. They have a Kobe Bryant who will WILL his team to victories some night on the back of his pedigree and desire to be great. The Clippers don’t have that but they are darn close. Will is great but being youthful and supremely skilled like Paul and Griffin are, means great things as well.
We won’t know who got the better end of the deal until later on, but kudos to David Stern for sticking firm and getting the young players, cap flexibility and high draft picks he sought when he originally shut down the Laker deal, and credit the Clippers for looking good. And how many times can they have said that in their history?
Meanwhile, these t-shirts will be available for sale soon and I think they are going to be a huge hit.
Despite all the evidence that would point otherwise, the Magic effectively ended trade talks with other teams in hopes that they can somehow persuade Dwight Howard to stay and re-sign with the Magic according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Bill Simmons wrote in his column that Dwight’s will he won’t he drama pretty much sums up his promising yet uninspiring career. Dave D’Alessandro of the Jersey Star Ledger says he’s seen this script before and isn’t buying this end of trade discussions.
I’m with Billy on this one. Dwight Howard caused this whole mess when he back pedaled on Tuesday and decided that IF the Magic had listened to his suggestions and IF they had shown a more eager willingness to win or IF they had moved heaven and earth then he wouldn’t have demanded a trade. Its a load of garbage and I PRAY that the Magic don’t buy it. Not for the fan base. It doesn’t deserve it. Dave D’Alessandro is right, this is yet another ploy by another superstar who can’t be bothered with the burden of leading his own team and would rather invoke his right of using his name and clout to get his wish, to put himself in a better situation where he’ll have considerably more help and can be given a lot of the credit (as the missing piece) or only SOME of the blame as opposed to ALL of the blame when the light is brightest on the best player on each team.
If the Lakers offer up Bynum and Gasol, which they might have to if the Clippers start off hot and steal headlines and momentum from the Lakeshow, the Magic will listen. I think the prospect of Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace and FIVE FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS apparently didn’t please the Magic. Getting back known quantities are more enticing to the Magic who can show the fans that while they lost their young superstar center, they gained a young center who has a mean streak that is no where in Dwight’s game (yet) and a power forward who can dominate games offensively and shoulder the burden of being the number one option on the offense. Plus he’s a very good passer out of the paint and for a team filled with slashers and shooters, it would be very much a similar situation except Gasol can make free throws and Bynum can offer the defensive/mean streak offense that Dwight offered (minus the mean streak).
Look, if I were as talented as Dwight I’m sure there would be a part of me that yearned to dictate where I went. But Dwight like every other babied superstar has been given a silver spoon and been treated like royalty and spoiled with so much attention that its hard for them to figure out what exactly they are doing wrong when they are doing it. Asking for a trade then back pedaling may not sound wrong to Dwight but he’s removed from the context of the whole situation. This is a fan base that he himself promised he would not disappoint like others. He told them he wouldn’t bolt like that, and yet here’s his first opportunity to do so and he is leaving. Yes Dwight got them to a Finals on his back while Shaq had Penny (don’t giggle, you just don’t remember how dominant Penny was during those first few years- you remember Penny in a Knick uniform, two completely different players.), but its not enough for Dwight to get them there.
When he first came into the league there was this feeling like he was different. His parents were strict. He was a devout Christian and a young man who came out of high school more prepared mentally to handle all the rigors that come with fame and fortune. I’m not here to judge him as a person but let’s take this back and forth for what it is. There are conflicting interests here. He wants to be a superstar and the attention and fame. He also wants to be seen as a hero to Orlando, a city I think he genuinely loves. There are forces working here and only one group will win.
My bet is that Dwight will end up with the Nets somehow but not until the end of the season. I think he will need a commitment from Deron Williams but I can see Dwight and Deron deciding that its enough to start their legacies in Brooklyn and battle the Knicks for rights to New Yorker’s heart and wallet. I think he stays put this entire season and gives Orlando the chance to woo him and show him that they are thirsty for winning. Of course if the Magic don’t, and there’s a good chance that they go nowhere this year then Dwight leaves and the Magic fans are left with Shaq times two.
Dwight Howard knows that if he were direct with management a lot of this indecision and back and forth would end. He needs to make up his mind. At some point he has to be a man. He can’t keep thinking that his smile will get him through the tough questions: Is he invested in Orlando’s long term plans? Is he that invested in the city? How big are his goals for his after-basketball career? Is he really thinking about becoming an actor? Does he need the brighter lights of a bigger city to feel truly in place? These are questions Dwight must answer and must answer fast. Its not fair what he’s doing to Magic fans. And its not fair to himself. His life can either go forward or he can be like me trying to parallel park: reverse, shift, go forward, reverse, shift, go forward and repeat a few hundred times before finally getting out and being a solid five feet away from the curb. Basically all that effort for NOTHING. Dwight just needs to park his behind somewhere and be happy with his decision. But he needs to make a decision. For everyone’s sake.
The Knicks are down to three options now to augment their lineup. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post Shawn Williams will make up his mind today and if he clears waivers the Knicks and Baron Davis have mutual interest in bringing the once star PG to the Knicks. News also rains down that Amar’e Stoudemire doesn’t foresee himself playing all 66 games this season.
I find it shady that Baron Davis a notorious slow starter but fast eater would complain about a bad back and IF that were truly the case, it wouldn’t make sense to hold on to that contract in hopes that he will come and rescue the knicks. Yes, when motivated he can light it up on offense and CAN be a playmaker but those days are long gone in my opinion and according to my eyesight. Replaced is a man who has lost his passion and would rather clog up passing lanes and effectively changed his style to rather suit the stylings of a post presence. Something very dubious for a small guy to do but there is the rub. Baron Davis is an enigma and a question mark. He’s a head scratch. And if the Knicks are seriously in the business of being taken seriously they need to resolve this fancy of bringing in every 2007 All-Star and try and build a team around the likes of Amar’e and Melo. They have two guys who can take over games and quite possibly the most clutch player in all of basketball next to Paul Pierce, and Kobe Bryant in Carmelo. They need role fillers and guys who can play defense and Shawn Williams can do that and provide you size and the inevitable knock down corner three. Something he worked hard to perfect in order to resurrect his fledgling career.
He owes the Knicks a debt of gratitude but the Knicks have been busy diverting their attention on any number of options for the two guard, a position they don’t want to just GIVE to Landry Fields. And I agree. They shouldn’t take Landry’s word that he went out and practiced hard at the mental aspects of the game, which he was sorely lacking last year after the plug in of Carmelo Anthony into the everyday line up. If he’s smart he’d take the Knicks one year offer or perhaps multi year offer and stay with the franchise. But he may crave a starting spot in New Jersey which may prove to be a great opportunity if the chips start stacking up with Dwight Howard and Deron Williams being resigned. But those are major ifs and its looking like they won’t have the ability to do that anyway. I would bet that Shawn Williams resigns with the Knicks for one year and yes, we take a flyer on Baron Davis once he passes the amnesty auction.
I don’t trust Baron, but I believe the Knick staff thinks that he is worth the investment. He had better be. He can elevate this team or bring it down. That’s the conundrum of Baron Davis.
If the Knicks signing of Tyson Chandler said anything its that the Knicks are done waiting and are done waiting on scenarios to play itself out. They’d rather have a known quantity. Shawn Williams is a known quantity in D’Antoni’s system and on this team. Baron Davis isn’t and his reputation precedes himself. I hope the Knicks know what they are doing.
Hey guys, the NFL is rich. I mean really rich. The NFL just agreed to a record extension with their three broadcast partners in NBC, FOX and CBS, which would have them pay 50% more in rights fees from 2014-2022. Incredibly, the networks jumped at the chance of doing so.
What’s that saying again? The rich keep getting richer and the poor…well.
Here is the only savior that can come and rescue the Mets from themselves.
Here is an interesting read about problems the Celtics have with Rajon Rondo.
Speaking of which, troubling sense is setting in that Ndamukong Suh doesn’t get it. Doesn’t get why people were disturbed by his actions and further more doesn’t get why people want to know if he’s learned anything by it.
Its not by accident that I bring up Tebow, Rondo and his meltdown and Suh’s complete lack of understanding all together in one hodgepodge. Tebow is the golden child and its as much for his play as it is for his Christian beliefs. Tebow’s intensity here can be compared to Suh’s intensity here. They are one in the same and yet ONE of those guys controls his emotions and thinks straight and the other can’t. There’s a fine line in sports and its crossed from time to time. But I can’t understand for the life of me unapologetic players who don’t understand the consequences of their acts. James Harrison straight up sounds like a complete IDIOT when he tweets LOL and warns that if he wanted to, he could’ve knocked Colt McCoy out. That’s a threat and as close to a promise. But you know what that isn’t? That isn’t an apology. That isn’t a promise to try and explore different ways on hitting. That isn’t Harrison complaining and making a valid case about why the sport isn’t clear on hits to the head and why he’s being looked upon as a head hunter. Because people like Harrison relish the fear that he brings on to a football field.
Harrison is a menacing player and so is Suh. But they are both headed down a path that leads to nothing but shame and discorn. They are both capable of being great NFL players but with indifferent attitudes about safety and showing composure. Harrison has a legitemate gripe, not only did Colt throw that football at the last minute, he put his head down ensuring that Harrison’s helmet would go right into the face of Colt. That’s not his fault. No human alive could’ve avoided that. But that’s what he should’ve said. Not, “LOL”. That’s not an adequate response, that’s a tease. That’s a slap in the face of players who are now barely able to walk on their own power. Guys who have paid the price physically and have their bodies betray them 10-15 years after they played their last game. Harrison doesn’t get it now but he will.
But worse still is that Suh’s reputation is going down hill. He’s not the humble kid that the Chrysler ads depict him to be. Its getting to that time where not even Goodell, desperate for Suh to be a superstar and face of the league, can’t even save him from himself. Goodell will be forced to give him the James Harrison treatment. Every single thing he does, he will be hit with a substantial fine or suspension. Every single comment he makes that draws the ire of its fan bases, Goodell will hit Suh with a fine. His battles with the media are now becoming laughable.
How can a kid who sounds that intelligent, be THAT stupid? How can he think that by arrogantly claiming the situation to be in-house that the media won’t further question that bogus statement? The people who cover him and the league have been around far longer than Suh has or even before he wore his first pair of cleats in Pop Warner. You think this is the first athlete trying to shut them down? They are numb and immune to such foolish talk. They and the fans have the right to know. All Suh had to say was that he apologized and accept blame for a foolish moment. That didn’t have to define him up to this point but right now it does. His press conferences are bizarre. He sounds like a little child that doesn’t want to be found out for breaking the vase in the living room. He is scared and would rather try and dictate the terms of the conversation when that won’t happen.
You think the Detroit Lions PR staff want him in front of a camera anytime soon? But you know who will? Every single media member will descend upon him like a plague. They will fire questions at him that question his character and question his ability to keep cool and until he proves otherwise those concerns will follow him. Why is it so hard for these athletes to acknowledge their mistakes? Why is it so easy to dismiss Tim Tebow and write off his performances? Why is he so polarizing? A person who stands up for his beliefs and goes about the game the right way?
Is he perfect? No. In fact he acknowledges his short comings and always points to every other direction but at himself for any credit he may get thrown his way after another game winning drive. Yes, the QB gets the love, but his love goes to Jesus and God. Why is it so hard to accept being like Tebow?
Why is it so hard for Dwight Howard to just come out and say he wants to leave and get ownership to find the best possible deal for the organization in the long run? Why is it so hard for people to do the right thing? And why is it that when someone DOES come along who does ALL the right things, that he is polarizing?
Why world why?
Editor’s note: I will be leaving for Denver tonight to visit family and see the town that Tebow (re)built. So expect posts to appear in west-coast time. I will try to get them in as early as I can. Don’t blame me though.