NBA Roundtable

Clippers Close In On Chris Paul

In Draft, Trade Talk on December 12, 2011 at 3:37 am

The LA Times reports

The Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets were working vigorously Sunday night to consummate a blockbuster deal that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers’ cross-town rivals, said two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The deal hasn’t been completed, but both sides were in the closing stages of the negotiations.

The Clippers would send the Hornets center Chris Kaman, backup second-year guard Eric Bledsoe, second-year forward Al-Farouq Aminu and the No. 1 draft pick they got from the Minnesota Timberwolves that is unprotected in the 2012 draft, considered to be one of the best in recent years.

Analysis

Eric Gordon

Unbelievable, the Clippers might just get away with offering the Timberwolves draft pick and keeping Eric Gordon.

This is a steal for LA. A steal.

New Clippers Team

PG – Chris Paul, Mo Williams
SG – Eric Gordon, Randy Foye
SF – Caron Butler, Ryan Gomes
PF – Blake Griffin, (unknown)
C  – DeAndre Jordan, (unknown)

Okay, so in Chris Paul they have an All-League player. In Blake Griffin, they have a bonafide All-Star caliber player who is about to become an All-League player and very likely to do so this season. In Eric Gordon, they have a guy who is a notch below All-Star level.

Then, the Clippers have DeAndre Jordan who is probably 20-25th ranked center in the league. But he is improving all the time and has good potential still to be fulfilled. He should step up next season and establish himself as a top 20 center.

Mo Williams is a legitimate sixth man of the year candidate. He played wonderfully well in that role while with the Milwaukee Bucks a few years ago.

Caron Butler gives them a solid small forward. Likely top 20 SF.

However, the backup wings are both dodgy. And no backup big men.

Jeez, that team is really really close to being a title contender. If they can fill out the rest of their roster reasonably well, they could be a contender this season. Not in the future. Right now! This season!

The Clippers playing for a title ! Are pigs flying? … Armageddon?

New Orleans Hornets

I thought the Hornets should have pursued Rajon Rondo instead of the Clippers offer.

I didn’t think the Minny pick alone was enough to justify this trade. I thought and still think that the Clips needed to include Eric Gordon in combination to the Wolves pick to make this the best option for New Orleans.

So, I am not a fan of this deal.

Two Top Five Picks?

This is the virtue of the trade. New Orleans has now positioned itself to win two top ten picks and they, one or both, may possibly even finish in the bottom five.

The Wolves look destined for another miserable season. So good odds there for a bottom five finish and consequently a top five pick.

And the Hornets themselves have effectively damaged their squad enough that they may also be in play to finish near the bottom of the league. Let’s look at their roster:

PG – Jarrett Jack, Eric Bledsoe
SG – Marco Belinelli, (unknown)
SF – Trevor Ariza, Quincy Pondexter
PF – Chris Kaman, Aminu
C  – Emeka Okafor, (unknown)

Actually, as I think about, the New Orleans Hornets might not be that bad a team. Lottery squad, definitely. But they may finish outside the bottom five.

I think they could win the high 20s (or equivalent of for a 66 game season), maybe even break 30 wins with a bit of luck. If they added a quality backup big man (v.unlikely), they should win 30+ games.

Note: The backup big man I was thinking of was the Hornets’ own Carl Landry. Free agent this summer. They still own his bird rights. He would fit in nicely in that big man rotation.

The Hornets should strongly consider moving Jarrett Jack and Trevor Ariza in exchange for expiring contracts and future late first round picks respectively. That would damage their team considerably.

Now, if only they could move Emeka Okafor too. Any ideas?

Move those three guys and New Orleans would be down competing for a mid-to-high teens win season (in 82 game season, whatever the 66 game equivalent ends up being). That would give them a strong chance at two top five picks next summer.

Draftexpress 2012 Top Five

  1. Anthony Davis
  2. Andre Drummond
  3. Harrison Barnes
  4. Jared Sullinger
  5. Perry Jones

Bringing in two of those five guys will go a long way to rebuilding New Orelans’ team.

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