In the 24 hours since the Chris Paul trade was first announced, it’s changed. As in it’s gotten bigger and more complicated.
At last count, the Clippers are now receiving, sit down, this may take a while, in alphabetical order: Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Lou Williams, and Kyle Wiltjer. That is a ton of people. Oh, and they’re also getting a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick and $661,000 to the Clippers.
But even with that mass of bodies coming back from Houston, there’s no denying that the Clippers didn’t win that deal. And didn’t want that deal. Trading a dollar for a quarter and six nickels isn’t a good deal. And just as with the Jimmy Butler trade, 99 times out of a hundred, if you’re shipping the biggest name, you’re losing that deal. But considering that Paul was leaving otherwise, it wasn’t a total disaster. They got something instead of nothing. So they still lost the deal, they just didn’t get shut out.
What they did get is a major facelift. And a major question answered. The Clips have won 50+ for five straight seasons and never reached the conference finals. Which meant that for the past few summers, the question has been – do you break up the Big Three? Chris Paul answered that question for them by telling them that he was leaving. Took a wrecking ball to Lob City. He broke the team up himself.
And no sooner had the deal been announced then there started to be stories about a falling out between Chris Paul and Doc Rivers. That Paul was bent about what he saw was Doc favoring his son, Austin, and putting him ahead of the team. I don’t know what is or isn’t true in that area, but I do know this – it was time for the team to be broken up. Doc and the front office might not have wanted to break them up, and I get that. Winning 50+ is hard, but they weren’t going to win a title, the chemistry was lousy, it had run its course and it had to happen.
They’d lost 10 straight to the Warriors. That used to be a rivalry and now it’s just a humiliation. Whether they had good chemistry or not, the Clippers had no belief they could beat the Warriors in one game, let alone four times out of seven.
Chris Paul knew that, which is why he picked James Harden over Blake Griffin. And can you blame him? Harden is an MVP candidate. Blake Griffin is, well, Blake Griffin. If you want to win now, I know who I’m rolling with and it’s not the dude who punches assistant equipment managers in the face.
So where do the Clippers go from here? That’s the 175 million dollar question. Do you give a five-year deal to Griffin, a guy who you can count on for big numbers when he’s on the court, but you can’t count on him to be on the court? He’s played 82 games once in his career and that was his rookie year. Well, technically, his second year, because he missed what would’ve been his first year with an injury. And who might already be missing time at the start of next season with a toe injury.
But at the same time, he’s a five-time all-star. And it’s not like the Clips have a history of five-time all-stars walking through their doors. As frustrating as Blake has been and as much as you can say the Clips have underachieved in the playoffs the last few years, it’s still been the best run in team history.
It’s one thing to bust it up, it’s another to drop a bomb on it. And that’s what they’ll have to do if they can’t convince Blake Griffin to stay. And that’s not going to be an easy sell, when you know Miami and Boston might both come calling.
And wouldn’t it be easier for him to try to fight his way out of the east, then to stay in the west and get the Clippers there. Hell, he couldn’t get it done WITH Chris Paul, how is he going to do it without him.
And if Griffin leaves, then you pretty much have to trade DeAndre Jordan.
In short, drop a bomb on the whole thing and start over. Which is still better than the alternative, which is being suck in the middle: gimme an A or gimme an F.
A C gets you nothing… burn it to the ground, start over, and hope that when you wake up and look in the mirror, at that facelift, you don’t react in horror like so many middle aged so-Calers and scream, I look like a bleeping pig!!
That window has slammed shut.. they just had their glory years and have absolutely nothing to show for it… Not even a trip to the conference finals.