14 December 2011

Chris Paul Traded to the Clippers, Gordon, Kamen, Aminu, Pick to New Orleans

Chris Paul is finally headed out of the Big Easy. The NBA, orchestrating trade negotiations after the controversial shutdown of the Paul trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kamen, Al-Farouq Aminu and a first round draft pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves. What does this trade mean for both teams?
For the Clippers, this is obviously a big move. They were hesitant the talented Gordon but to get one of the top three point guards in all of basketball, possibly the best depending on who you ask, is something you can't not do. Paul is an elite passer with a really good shot, he's got all of the tools (and can even flop). What was critical of this deal was if he would sign an extension with the team that Paul was traded to and by all accounts, he would. I mean, who would not want to throw alley-oops to Blake Griffin? Paul and Griffin will be an elite combination for years to come.
But the Paul trade also creates a logjam at the point guard position for the Clips, who also have Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe and the recently acquired Chauncey Billups. It has been widely thought that Williams will be amnestied. That leaves Bledsoe and Billups. Bledsoe is young and talented and would make for a strong backup but what to do with Billups? Los Angeles could buy him out or waive him but then what was the purpose of bringing him in if they were conducting negotiations with the Hornets NBA? They could possibly play him at shooting guard, not a crazy proposal because Billups is still a strong scorer who can get to the charity stripe and hit an open shot.
For the Hornets, it is pretty absurd that GM Dell Demps was not allowed to conduct trade negotiations and do his job after the NBA intervened about the Paul to the Lakers deal. But regardless, the Hornets probably got an even better package than the prior one. Gordon is a tremendous scorer and does not turn 23 until Christmas. Kamen is still a talented center, a dying breed no less, who also has an attractive expiring contract that can be a valuable trading chip. Aminu was a solid rotation player last year who can develop into a solid swingman forward and he's only 21. And while many draft picks carry little value, this one, Minnesota's unprotected in the 2012 draft, has the potential to be a high pick.

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