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Chris Paul update: Clippers waiting for league, Lakers trying to get back in

Dec 13, 2011, 9:02 PM EDT

Chris Paul, Quincy Pondexter

The entire Chris Paul saga reminds me of the NBA lockout, just flipped on its head.

In the lockout, the owners and league made wild demands of the players, and since the owners had the leverage they got most of what they wanted (they got the money, which is what mattered most).

With CP3, the league (which owns the Hornets) shot down the trade to the Lakers and is making outrageous demands of the Clippers to get a deal done.

Except, this time the Clippers have the leverage. They walked away from he bargaining table on Monday and while the league has worked to re-engage them the Clippers are sitting around waiting for the league to come back to them with a more reasonable offer.

But in that interim time, the Los Angeles Lakers have tried to jump back into the fray, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

ESPN.com learned Tuesday that a Lakers’ deal for Paul has not yet been ruled out, contingent on the fact that they can recruit at least one other team to supply some of the young pieces that the league is demanding. But the Lakers do still have Gasol as a centerpiece, who could either replace Paul as the Hornets’ franchise player or give New Orleans a top-20 player to be dangled in subsequent deals.

The Clippers are doing this on their own terms and picked up Chauncey Billups off waivers, which gave them even more leverage, as Adrian Wojnarowski reports at Yahoo.com.

Clippers officials and NBA executives representing the Hornets have continued to have conversations, but the tone and substance of the talks has dramatically changed with L.A.’s addition of point guard Chauncey, sources said. The Clippers are selling the NBA on the idea that the market for Paul has shrunk and the league’s demands have to be lowered, too….

“They’re scrambling now,” one official said of the NBA. “But it’s still hard to tell if they really want to trade him, or they’re just determined to keep the asking price in a place where they can hold onto him for the next owner. …These guys in New York had no idea how hard this process would be.”

That’s where we sit Tuesday night. Waiting. The Clippers could go into the season with Billups, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe at point guard — with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and Eric Gordon — and be a likely playoff team in the West. They are not feeling the pressure. The Lakers are trying to find a third team to get some younger pieces, but they are not under great pressure to get a deal done either (they always have Dwight Howard to chase).

In the Clippers case, the league wanted Chris Kaman (an expiring contract) plus Gordon, Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick (to which the Clippers have the rights). The Clippers were not willing to give up all five things before they got Billups. Now rumors of Trevor Ariza coming to the Clippers and Mo Williams going to the Hornets are out there, Stein reports, but all kinds of ideas have been bounced around. That is different than one getting done.

The league might be willing to keep Paul through the sale of the Hornets. As if that would boost the value of the team (nobody is buying that team thinking Paul is staying). Who knows? It’s hard to see what the league is thinking.

So we wait. Because the Clippers have the leverage.

  1. Dan M. - Dec 13, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    So this reminds you of the lockout because the word “leverage” can be used in discussion of both scenarios? It’s definitely not “flipped on its head” – the player in both situations seems to have no leverage.

    • david8726 - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:04 PM

      Wow, people really do read stuff that isn’t even there. That isn’t what he said at all.

      This situation reminds us of the lock out because in both cases it involves the league asking for absolutely everything, being unwilling to compromise.

      The difference, in this case, is that the league doesn’t actually have the leverage.

      • Dan M. - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:43 PM

        Yeah, except that “the league” is on both sides of this one, isn’t it? The lockout was players v owners. This is owners v owners. To compare a trade negotiation between the owners of two teams with a lockout negotiation between the owners and the players is ludicrous. The players are being USED AS LEVERAGE in this deal (see chauncey billups). Bad journalism.

      • david8726 - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:59 PM

        No, “the league” is not on both sides of this issue. The Clippers are not “The league.” They are one franchise with their own goals in mind attempting to negotiate with the league at large ( a group of people with a huge conflict of interest in this).

        This is obviously not a normal negotiation between two teams looking out for the interests of their individual franchises.

        Secondly, no, it’s not ridiculous at all to make that comparison. I don’t see how you cant NOT make the comparison. In both the lockout, and now in this negotiation, David Stern and the other owners he represents are asking for the moon and are not looking to compromise. I don’t see how that isn’t obvious to you.

      • Dan M. - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:17 AM

        It’s true that David Stern is making demands in both situations, agreed. But nothing else is similar. The Hornets are owned by the owners, one of which is Donald Sterling, who is the owner of the Clippers. How can an owner v owner negotiation have anything but superficial similarity with the player v owner lockout? It’s a preposterous assertion. You say David Stern is not looking to compromise – true. That’s not what the article says. The article says that this is like the lockout flipped on its head. For that to be true, wouldn’t the players have to be somewhere in the story besides being used as pawns for leverage in negotiation between two owners?

      • denverhoopdreams - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        Dan M. stop while you’re ahead.

  2. concernedcitizen001 - Dec 13, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    The NBA has totally screwed this up from the word go. They would have gotten decent return for Paul in the Lakers trade and now they have demanded so much that they may end up losing him to free agency next year and get nothing in return. Oh well, I’m sure if that happens Dan Gilbert will donate a few players (you know, to keep it competitive and all). Oh wait, Cleveland doesn’t have anybody anyone would want :(

  3. yournuts - Dec 13, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    If you think old man Chauncey Billups is leverage then I have a bridge to sell you. Kurt, get real will you? Old man Billups?

    • cubalakeshow - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:05 PM

      I think what he means is that Chauncey provides some things Clippers really needed like a veteran leader at point guard and one that has proven himself and will actually pass and make the right plays down the stretch unlike the point guards they got right now, They are young but not proven so before the helm was basically Mo and Bled and Gordon but they’re all score first mentality so yeah Chauncey does provide some leverage b/c if he decides to try for them and suck it up they will be a dangerous team and he could help push them over the hump and be a real sleeper to cause some headaches. Of course CP3 is way better lol

    • borderline1988 - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:18 PM

      Billups is leverage. Did you read the article?
      The Clippers have a good young team, with 3 good and serviceable PGs. They have a scoring PG in Williams, an all around PG in Bledsoe, and now a veteran in Billups with playoff experience and good defensive skills.
      The point is, the Clippers are in absolutely no hurry to trade for Paul. They wouldn’t mind entering the season without him, where they have an excellent chance of making the playoffs and gaining valuable experience for their young stars.
      Next year (or during the current year), they’ll have another shot at Paul and have a top pick in a deep draft. They know that NO is getting increasingly desperate, and that they have the most serious offer on the table of any NBA team.

      Why do I feel like I just repeated the article above lol.

    • denverhoopdreams - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      I think you forgot Billups won a championship ring, not because he had South Beach talent around him, but because he had smart players who played like a team, ran through a high basketball IQ PG. Now that he has a veteran he has gained something called value. Honestly, run the offense through him and Griffin would be efficient as all he can be.

  4. nyyankeedave - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Is Chris Paul really worth all this hassle? Will he make the Clippers a legitimate title contender? No. Will he guarantee an odom and gasol-less Lakers another Championship? Hell no. Could he potentially blow out his weak knee during the season and miss significant time? Of course! This guy just has “buyer’s remourse” written all over him. I could be wrong – but I doubt it.

  5. wfon1 - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    So the league (Hornets/David Stern) would allow a trade to the Clippers but wont authorize doing business with the Lakers?

    WTF

  6. david8726 - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    In my opinion, this talk about the Lakers being back in the talks isn’t serious. I think the league has re-engaged the Lakers only to try and put pressure on the Clippers to give into the league’s demands.

    The Clippers are the ones who can make the best offer, and I don’t see that changing unless the Lakers somehow find a third team who is willing to give up a great young player like Gordon, or an unprotected 1st round pick that will be in the top 10.

    In other words, that’s highly unlikely.

    • dirtdog7 - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:28 AM

      Yeah, I feel like the best offers for the Hornets have already been put out there by the Lakers and Clippers. With the trade of Odom, the Lakers can’t offer as much as before. And with the acquisition of Billups, the Clippers won’t offer as much as before.

      The league/Hornets overplayed its hand here. Instead of getting an A deal for Paul, it looks like the league will have to settle for a B deal or worse.

  7. sippindasyzurp - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    This is a joke already and makes the nba look bush league.. Can you just tell us when he is traded please

  8. prince215 - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    With Billups, this trade would be an excellent trade for the Clippers and a way to save face for David Stern. They could let Paul go saying the deal brings more back, while also taking a strong stance with Billups showing that the League and not the players dictate where they go.

  9. velascochad - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    pls do not trade pau gasol. trade bynum with the 2012 first round pick u got from trading odom. gasol can still do a better job than bynum without the risk of getting serious knee injury.

  10. sparty0n - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    I still think the Clips should go after Howard. Doesnt matter that they matched the offer for D Jordan. They have all the pieces to offer and would be a top-tier team with Howard.

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Why would the Hornets trade Paul to the Lackers when they can get some salary relief and either a young star or a top 5 pick in next year’s draft? This smells of somebody either being desperate to stay in the news, or the league asked the Lackers to get involved behind the scenes to put some pressure on the Clippers.

    The Hornets needs to do the following:

    – Make the deal with the Clippers and take the top-5 pick
    – Stink bad this year and get themselves also in the top-5 of the draft

    A team with salary cap space that has 2 of the top 5 picks is VERY attractive to possible buyers.

    The league needs to stop being greedy both in the trade of Paul and the sale of the Hornets. Make the trade…sell the team. Stop this insanity.

  12. cosanostra71 - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    I can honestly say that this whole ordeal happening right after the lockout has made me completely lose interest in this season. Hopefully something positive starts happening in the NBA soon…

    • b7p19 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:01 AM

      A couple games might help, right?

  13. bparmalee - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Another point is people keep saying that they have to be able to shed Okafor’s contract because its such a “bad deal”. Considering he has been healthy and what everyone else is getting… Emeka is almost a value. He avg 10.3 ppg 9.5 rpg and 1.8 blocks per game. His numbers are better than Tyson Chandlers and he has been more consistent over his career. Okafors contract can not be considered a bad deal… in my opinion.

  14. scarecrowx - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    The writing is on the wall. The NBA did not have leverage to begin with, but acted as if it did by vetoing the Laker trade. Result, Lakers backed out. Clippers signed Billups, so the Clippers can now get by at the point guard position (of course Paul is better than Billups, but if the Clippers were desperate and really going to go after Paul, there was no reason to pick up Billups!) Point is, the market for Paul has shrunk. The NBA really blew it here. The trade veto sent a message that something better than the Laker trade was needed for Paul. No one is willing to make that offer. If a trade is made, New Orleans will end up with something less than the original Laker trade. Or worse yet, they will end up keeping Paul through his contract and get nothing for him when he becomes a free agent. Stern will look like an idiot – but if a trade is made, he will spin it to try and make it look better than the Laker trade even though it won’t be.

    As a Laker fan, unless Gasol shakes last year’s pansy-like play, I am all for the Lakers trying to get something out of him now. I am also fine with a Bynum trade so long as the Lakers get Howard. Bynum is great when healthy, but sometimes a little inconsistent and immature. I am all for trading Bynum and obtaining Howard just to shed the knee issues with Bynum. Would love it if the Lakers could acquire Paul and Howard, but if only one is attainable, prefer Howard to Paul. But Lakers really do need a PG. Fisher is too old and Shannon Browne is gone.

    I am a little worried though, the Lakers essentially dumped Odom (a proven player with all of the intangibles) for unknown and unproven rookies. Unless the Lakers use these picks in a trade to get something worthy of Odom – this was just plain dumb.

    Actually, if the Lakers lose Odom, Bynum, and Gasol and only gain Paul or Howard, then they have lost out in my opinion.

    Kobe has maybe 2-3 years left in him assuming an injury doesn’t claim him first. There is another void to fill. The Lakers need to be in rebuild mode quick. They need 1 or two young elite players with long-term contracts.

  15. handlelikevanexel - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:43 AM

    NBA should show some amnesty for star players stuck in a no win situation. New Orleans franchise is in a dis-array, why penalize the players. Since NO does not have a current owner, the league should do a 2nd draft. Take the lottery teams and spin the balls again and the 8 or 9 teams in lottery in the 2nd draft will take all the players from NO. Then let the franchise start all over again after some new owner buys it. In the next 2 drafts, the first 2 picks will belong to NO, so they will get a chance to rebuild the team.

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