Dec 11, 2011, 9:59 AM EST
So now what for Chris Paul?
Small market owners got their wish — David Stern blew up the three-team deal that would have sent Paul to the Lakers and netted the Hornets a nice haul of players, and all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men could not put the deal together again. The Lakers are looking at ways to acquire Dwight Howard (a better fit for them) and not be as greedy to land two superstars.
With the Paul bidding open again, look for the old suitors to come to the front. That means the Boston Celtics and a package centered around Rajon Rondo, and the Golden State Warriors (who would not put Stephen Curry in a proposal.
And don’t forget about the Clippers, said Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Previous discussions stalled when the Clippers refused to include sharpshooter Eric Gordon in the deal, and the leverage New Orleans had to hold out for a better offer is now gone — ironically, killed by the league’s refusal to approve the original deal that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers and the subsequent collapse of the talks to revise the deal. But when a team trying to trade its franchise player is owned by the league, leverage is in the eyes of the beholder. What if commissioner David Stern insists on Gordon, other young pieces or even Minnesota’s unprotected No. 1 pick held by the Clippers be included in the deal?
Of all the trade chips out there, there may be none more valuable than Minnesota’s unprotected first round pick this year heading into the deepest draft in a while. For a rebuilding team — and the Hornets without CP3 are a rebuilding team — that is invaluable. The Clippers last offer also included second-year point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. Gordon may again be the sticking point.
Other teams may try to jump in as well, but the Clippers have a legitimate shot at brining Chris Paul to Los Angeles. And it’s pretty easy to imagine Paul throwing up lobs to Blake Griffin. Real easy.
Just one big problem — would Chris Paul sign an extension with the Clippers? Would he trust the prime of his career to owner Donald Sterling? Would he sign an extension with Golden State? He has said he would not re-sign with Boston, could he be made to change his mind? Teams are not going to take the risk without word from Paul, they are not going to give up all those assets on a hope.
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