Point guard Chris Paul finally got his wish and was traded to Los Angeles by the New Orleans Hornets. However, he ended up with the Clippers not the Lakers. Paul had hoped to join the Lakers a week earlier, but the NBA rejected the deal that was in place.
They didn’t have a problem with this deal though that saw Paul and a pair of second-round draft picks in 2015 head to the west coast for center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, guard Eric Gordon, and a first-round draft pick. The Hornets are owned by the NBA and therefore had to get approval of the trade from league commissioner David Stern.
Stern said it’s his job to do the best thing for the Hornets and he didn’t call off the original Paul trade to the Lakers due to the opinion of other franchise owners. Of course, rating the players in the trade is up for debate. Paul ends up in LA, but with a different team and the controversy has died down for the time being.
Stern said he’s trying to make the Hornets as competitive as possible, especially since the league is looking for a new owner that wants to keep the team in New Orleans. He said there are a few potential owners on the horizon and he’s optimistic that the franchise has a bright future ahead of it.
The Clippers are glad this trade was approved since they now have a 26-year-old four-time All-Star on their roster. Paul, a six-year veteran, managed to sink 18.7 points on average per game last season along with 9.8 assists. He now teams up with Clippers forward Blake Griffin and that pair could do a lot of damage this season. Griffin had an excellent rookie season last year with a 22.5 points-per-game average to go along with 12.1 rebounds.
Paul doesn’t come cheaply though as he’ll be paid $16.4 million in 2011/12 and $17.8 million the next year, which is his option season. The Hornets received some good players in return. Gordon knows where the basket is as his 22.3 point-per-game average last season proves. However, if he doesn’t sign a contract extension with New Orleans he’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Aminu is 6-foot-9, and sank 5.6 points a game with 3.3 rebounds last year in his rookie season. Kaman’s a 7-footer and former all-star, who managed 12.4 points a game last year along with seven rebounds, but he suffered an ankle injury and only managed to play in 32 games. He’s also in the last season of his current deal and will make $12.2 million in 2011/12.
The Hornets are hoping the club’s fans are happy with the deal since more fans in the seats will make the franchise easier to sell. They didn’t really have a choice other than to trade Paul since he said he wasn’t going to extend his deal with the Hornets and would have been eligible to leave as a free agent. Adding Aminu, Kaman and Gordon to the roster will give New Orleans some added depth and their presence could also help the team attract some good free agents.