One week after the infamous David Stern veto, the Chris Paul trade is finally getting done.
It makes the Hornets infinitely worse in the short term than they would have been if they had done the original trade, but it gives them the hope that they’ll have two high lottery picks in next June’s stocked NBA draft to allow them to start rebuilding, Oklahoma City-style. That, however, will take years.
If the original trade had gone down, the Hornets would be starting Emaka Okafor at center, Luis Scola at power forward, Lamar Odom or Trevor Ariza at small forward, Kevin Martin at two guard and Jarrett Jack or Goran Dragic at the point. That right there would have been a team that contended for a playoff spot.according to Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune
The team they’re going to have now?
It might be the worst team in the NBA (although they have re-signed Carl Landry, . And that is not going to make the Hornets attractive to a potential buyer, or to the season-ticket holders the franchise has been so desperate to recruit – a subject I discussed this morning on WIST-Am radio in New Orleans (click to listen).
Now let’s turn to the Clippers.
Chris Paul might be the best player on that team right now, but he also might not be. That’s because the Clips also have Blake Griffin, who at this point can be considered more of a lock for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team than Paul (although both will probably make it).
After you get past those two, who are the Clippers third- and fourth-best players? One could argue that they are Mo Williams and Chauncey Billups, who will now be splitting time out of position at shooting guard instead of their natural position at the point. (No, I am not a big Caron Butler fan).
How good is a team with a starting five of Paul, Williams, Butler, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan? With Billups and Randy Foye/Ryan Gomes the best two or three players coming of the bench?
Probably a little better than the Hornets, but not good enough to be a playoff contender, IHMO (the subject of a spirited debate last night with myself and my Twitter followers).
So the verdict: Everybody lost in this trade, from Paul to the Hornets to the Clippers to the Lakers to the Rockets to the commissioner.
This whole ordeal has been an utter fiasco for everyone involved, but at least it’s over.
We’ll see you on the highlight reels, CP3, but we won’t be seeing you in the playoffs.
Before we get to the rest of this morning’s news, take 2 1/2 minutes to watch this warning video from www.ryanparkersongs.com.
Meanwhile, the Dwight Howard situation has stalled in Orlando. At least that is what he Magic would have everyone believe.
The word I was getting yesterday is that Howard trade talks have been shelved until All-Star Weekend is complete.
But as I noted yesterday in print, and on the radio in Orlando, is that the winds are constantly changing direction in central Florida, and sportscaster David Pingalore (a good guy) is spouting his own version of “Don’t Believe the Hype.”
From clickorlando.com: Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore has learned through two sources that Dwight Howard’s California-based agent, Dan Fegan, was at Amway Center Tuesday trying to get his client out of Orlando immediately. The two sources do confirm that Howard wants out of Orlando — and staying is not an option. Sources do confirm his agent continues to make that point each time he talks with Magic General Manager Otis Smith. Pingalore also learned that Howard’s flip-flopping of possibly staying with the Magic is a ploy to steer the criticism off of the All-Star center. The sources say Howard is growing tired of not yet being traded. Pingalore’s sources used the term that Fegan is “strong-arming” the Magic to make a trade, with Howard’s first choice being the New Jersey Nets. On Wednesday, a trade rumor on ESPN.com was nothing but a decoy stirred up by Howard’s agent, according to Pingalore’s sources. They confirm the so-called multi-team trade that would send Howard to New Jersey, and also involving Portland’s Gerald Wallace coming to Orlando, was made up by Fegan. … Smith said after practice,”We’re going to continue to talk to every team out there and that doesn’t mean anything is going to happen.” Pingalore’s sources say the Magic are not happy with Howard’s agent and that the Magic put out the leak about no more calls from teams. The sources described the Magic as digging “their heels in.” The sources also confirm that Smith has at least 15 trade requests he is dealing with from NBA teams. … The Lakers continue to be an option for Howard, however Pingalore’s sources confirm that the Lakers’ center, Andrew Bynum, may not be as attractive, because the Magic have learned Bynum’s knees are not healthy.
Meanwhile, after crossing the New York Knicks off his wish list, Jamal Crawford chose the Portland Trail Blazers over the Sacramento Kings.
That makes sense, as Sacramento has e-upped Marcus Thornton as their two-guard, whereas in Portland he would eventually be able to compete with Wes Matthews for the starting gig.
Ken Berger of CBSSports said Crawford got a two-year deal worth $10 million, with the second year a player option
From Jason Quick of the Oregonian:” Crawford, the 2010 Sixth Man of the Year with Atlanta, has narrowed his free agent choices to Portland and Sacramento, but he said Wednesday that he is torn between which team offers a better fit for his playing style, which needs a high-volume of shots and freedom to create plays. Crawford said he is interested in a short-term deal – preferably two years with a chance to opt out after one – and Sacramento is believed to have offered $6.5 million a season while Portland has come in at $5 million. “With Sacramento, it’s not just about the money,’’ Crawford said. “They have a lot of young talent, and I’m a big fan of Coach (Paul) Westphal. But with Portland, I feel I can really help in the backcourt by being another creator, another scorer. And I’ve known Nate (McMillan) since I was 16. I’m honestly torn.’’ According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, (Carl) Landry on Wednesday was offered a contract to stay in New Orleans, where he was traded to last February after three-plus seasons in Houston. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, told The Oregonian that the Blazers and Landry were “still talking” and that Landry would make a decision Thursday. If the Blazers were to sign either Crawford or Landry, they would need to have the mid-level exception, which is afforded to teams under the league’s tax threshold. In order to get under the threshold, the Blazers would need to waive Roy and his $15 million salary for this season under the league’s new amnesty clause. Friday is the deadline to use the amnesty provision for this season.”
From John Canzano of the Oregonian: “Sheesh, Jamal Crawford must have wanted a one-hour television special. You know, Jim Gray as host. ESPN shilling commercial spots. All that culminating with the NBA free agent announcing, “I’m taking my talents to Stumptown.” Forgive me, but while we were waiting for Crawford to choose between free-agent offers from Portland and Sacramento, I lost interest. Was the guy waiting for some input and a call back from Ms. Turkoglu or what? Don’t get me wrong. I like the move. Crawford is a nice guy by all accounts. Also, he can create his own shot. He can score. He’s not interested in playing defense, but Crawford takes big shots and can finish quarters and games with the ball in his hands. And Portland could use a player like that. Still, Portland needs more than $10 million worth of improvements to alter the course of the franchise. … The Blazers must realize an era ended this week. Brandon Roy retired. Greg Oden is likely gone after this season. Aldridge is all that’s left of the “Rule of Three” that one-time general manager Kevin Pritchard dreamed about. Someone hit the lights. And as much as I like the idea of renting Crawford for a single season, the thinking at One Center Court has to be much deeper than filling a roster spot with a mid-level exception. Gerald Wallace has an $11 million player option for next season that he will most certainly exercise. Marcus Camby ($9 million) and Raymond Felton ($7.5 million) have expiring contracts. Oden ($9 million) is expiring. Roy ($16 million in 2012-2013) has been destined for a date with amnesty that should happen before Friday’s deadline and remove him from the salary cap. And so Portland is looking at clearing a decent amount of cap space. The pursuit of Crawford tells us the Blazers are interested in getting better right now. Who could be against that? But what would be even more encouraging is a sign from the organization that it has a new plan. That it wants to hire a GM and be a major player in free agency next summer while also letting this band of expiring contracts (maybe, too, with Crawford around) go have fun for this shortened season.”
With Crawford out of the picture, the New York Knicks were battling their crosstown rivals, the Nets, for the services of Shawne Williams. But word came this morning from Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that Williams has chosen the Nets.
The Knicks had their $2.5 million room exception to offer, whereas the Nets are in a complete state of flux after waiting so long for the Howard drama to crest that they lost their opportunity to go after Nene, who has re-signed with Denver.
From Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News: With many holes to fill before a season opener just 11 days away, the Nets are looking to sign Andrei Kirilenko as the starting small forward, a league source told The News. Kirilenko, 30, is one of only two Russians in the NBA and has long been linked to the Nets because of owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who is running in Russia’s presidential election. Kirilenko, who played 10 seasons with the Jazz, is also a former teammate of Williams. … Signing Kirilenko could spell the end for small forward Travis Outlaw , who suffered a broken hand during the lockout and is a candidate for the amnesty clause. The Nets also need a power forward and are looking at re-signing Kris Humphries. … After practice, (coach Avery) Johnson said he had reversed his decision from Tuesday and will likely have to start newly signed Shelden Williams at power forward Saturday in the preseason opener against the Knicks. While he praised Williams, who ended last season as a Knick, for arriving prepared, Johnson admitted it is a tall task to put him in against a frontcourt that includes perennial All-Stars (Carmelo) Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Looking at his personnel, however, Johnson concedes he lacks capable NBA bodies in the frontcourt. “I don’t have a lot of options,” Johnson said.
Only 10 shopping days left until Christmas.
And after today, there won’t be much left on the shelves.