Now one thing the Lakers can do that the Clippers more than likely can’t is get Chris Paul as a free agent. I mean, the Clippers can, but they can’t—it’s complicated. The Clippers can have their fun with Griffin now, but they’ll always be second-best to the 16-time champion Lakers. Like everything else in tinsel-town, the bandwagon is short term. Paul knows this so there’s little incentive for him to sign with the Clippers next year. The Lakers can wait for Paul to become a free agent, but they won’t because of the following:
1) They don’t have the cap room to sign Paul anyways.
2) Derek Fisher will be the starting point guard until he’s 45.
3) Although we can only speculate what offense Mike Brown will run, we can at least suspect that Paul’s style won’t be that great a fit because if it were, you would be hearing about Paul to the Lakers every five seconds instead of Dwight Howard to the Lakers.
As much as Laker fans would love to get Paul under the Staples Center marquee next to Kobe and Gasol or whoever, it doesn’t look like it’ll be their number one priority. The Clippers are a much more enticing choice to the Hornets, who will want to get a core of young guys and maybe some veterans they can take off the books quickly in exchange for Paul.
Consider these trade scenario’s to be in ascending order—as in ascending from most likely to not in your lifetime.
Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Clippers; Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Kaman and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets.
Not only is this deal totally do-able, but it improves the blueprint of both teams. The Hornets will get some youth, older guys who can still play and are only signed to one-year deals, and the Timberwolves unprotected first round pick from next year’s draft. That pick alone could defer the Hornets just enough from trying to include Eric Gordon in a potential trade, a guy the Clippers definitely don’t want to trade.
In exchange for all that, the Clippers get a dream team of Griffin, Gordon and Paul. So they lose DeAndre Jordan, but they’re getting Paul on lock, and considering that he has single-handedly taken the Hornets to the playoffs three-straight years, that pretty much guarantees the Clippers a spot in the playoffs every year until the next CBA gets renewed.
There’s a catch of course. The only way this gets derailed is if the Clippers can’t get the assurance that Paul will sign an extension. Consider this a deal-breaker for any potential trade the Clippers make.
Chris Paul and Emeka Okafur to the Clippers; Andrew Bynum, Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe and Minnesota’s 2012 first round pick to the Hornets; Blake Griffin and Trevor Ariza to the Lakers.
Picture this. Blake Griffin suits up for the Lakers and as he’s introduced, jumps over a Fiat and lands on Jennifer Lopez’s lap. The Lakers get that jolt of athleticism they need, the Hornets get a franchise big man to lure a potential owner, and the Clippers get Chris Paul and will still be far enough under the cap to sign Howard. Would never happen, but that was fun right? No, okay moving on.
Next Page: The Highly Unlikely Mega-Trade