I’M still in shock. It may take me another few days to process the magnitude of this trade and the impact it has on the league. If you have been living under a rock I will fill you in. Chris Paul is being traded to the Houston Rockets, pairing up with James Harden as they look to dethrone the Warriors out West.
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DETAILS of the trade are still filtering through, but the basic crux of the deal is:
Houston Rockets receive: Chris Paul
Los Angeles Clippers receive: Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Kyle Wiltjer, a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick and cash.
DON’T let the number of names fool you, the Clippers aren’t getting a ton for this deal. While I applaud the front office for pulling the trigger to ensure they get something for Chris Paul, an ageing Lou Will and defensive minded Pat Beverly are the only real items of significance here. This drastically puts the Clippers a step backward after the most successful stretch in the franchises history, a tough pill for fans to swallow. Before Paul arrived in LA, the Clips had just four playoff appearances in their 27 year history, with no 50 win seasons. With Point God CP3 in uniform they made the playoffs in all six seasons and the only season they didn’t top 50 wins was in the lockout shortened 2011-12 season (40-26 record). So yeah, it’s fair to say that this trade is devastating for Clippers fans. I really thought that Chris Paul would stay in LA and Blake Griffin would be the one to walk, but alas the script may have been flipped.
What Now For The Clippers?
BLAKE Griffin has just become the Clippers No. 1 offseason priority. He has been strongly linked to leaving the franchise, but now they can focus on retaining Griffin, rather than Paul. Personally, I would love to see what a healthy Blake Griffin could do with the Clippers and what he could succeed as a primary playmaker should he stay healthy. Without CP3 on the roster though, it may be hard to convince Griffin to stay with the team, rather than signing elsewhere. The Clippers can offer him more money and years than any other team, which will definitely play a factor in his decision making. The 2nd option, should the franchise fail to re-sign Griffin, or change their mind is to tear it down and do a full rebuild. J.J. Reddick is also coming off the books, so even if they were to keep Blake, chances are it would just be the Griffin & DeAndre Jordan show in LA. A full rebuild isn’t ideal for any GM, but if they can manufacture a sign and trade kind of deal, like they did with Paul, they may be able to get a decent return to avoid hitting rock bottom.
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What Now For The Rockets?
START up the Melo/Paul George to Houston rumours! Adding a 3rd star to their now dynamic duo seems like the next move for the Rockets, with plenty of buzz surrounding them acquiring another All-Star calibre talent. If Carmelo were to receive a buy-out from the New York Knicks it is reported he would sign with Houston, while Paul George would have to be traded from Indiana to make this a reality. If I was in Daryl Morey’s shoes I wouldn’t worry about targeting Melo, as that would mean there are three stars on your roster who are primarily ball handlers. George has the ability to play off the ball to some extent and the three of them could co-exist I believe. Speaking of co-exist, many people are knocking this trade due to the fact that Chris Paul and James Harden are arguably two of the most ball dominant players in the league. How exactly are they going to share touches and adjust to life next to each other? While it might take some time to adjust I feel that the two can sort this out in due time. LeBron and D-Wade had to do it, Durant and Curry did it last year, give CP3 and Harden a full season together and they will be on the same page.
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IN Zach Lowe’s summary of the trade he talked about how production of a 30 for 30 based on the Clippers blowing a 3-1 lead against the Rockets in 2015 should already be underway. From that fateful series onwards LA was never able to reach their peak with injuries constantly plaguing what could have been numerous successful playoff ventures. Instead now the microscope will be on Chris Paul in Houston with the expectation of making the West Finals even greater now. Finally spare a thought for DeAndre Jordan, who Chris Paul and Blake Griffin locked in a room to force him to re-sign in 2015. Now it’s a real possibility that both of those guys are going to walk away from the franchise leaving him stranded. This is the world we live in now, with teams trying to build superstar line-ups to combat the ever conquering Golden State Warriors. Even the reigning Eastern conference champs are scrambling to perhaps add another All-Star. With the NBA already a top heavy league, this coming free agency period could see more ‘super teams’ created as the scramble for an NBA title continues.
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