From La-la Land to Lob City ...
On Wednesday night, Chris Paul really, truly was traded — to the Los Angeles Clippers, not the Lakers — in a deal that meets the exacting specifications of persnickety Commissioner David Stern and sets up a doozy of a West Coast rivalry.
Paul was traded by the New Orleans Hornets for guard Eric Gordon, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, center Chris Kaman and a first-round draft choice (from Minnesota, so it’s likely to be a lottery pick). Stern, whose permission was required because the Hornets are owned by the league, signed off on this one.
“I knew we were doing the best thing for New Orleans and that was my job,” said Stern, who nixed a Paul-to-the-Lakers deal last week. “You have to stick with what you think was right. I must confess it wasn’t a lot of fun, but I don’t get paid to have fun.”
So, let the alley-oops to Blake Griffin begin.
“Yeah, it’s going to be lob city,” a giddy Griffin said after being told of the deal (via Fox Sports West).
Clipperfever, meanwhile, is in full flower — with voters in an ESPN poll rating Clippers tickets hotter than Lakers tickets (one of the signs of the apocalypse) and that seismic shift isn’t sitting too well with the Lakers. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Lakers were in a snit, er, voiced their displeasure over the swap, but Kobe Bryant was diplomatic. “It’s good so see them being that aggressive and wanting to make the next step,” he said. “They got Blake, who I think the world of ... and CP, who I like as well, so I think it’s good for L.A. to have two teams that are competitive.”
Admittedly, the thought of Paul feeding Griffin, he of the All-Star slam-dunk over a car, is pretty dizzying and the Lakers’ factor only makes it more delicious. Paul got an official welcome from noted former Laker Magic Johnson, who tweeted: “The Clippers are a serious contender to win the west with @cp3 ... Donald Sterling is doing everything he can to try to win the first championship for the Clippers.”
“The Clippers are going to be nice,” former Laker Shaquille O’Neal told the LA Times. “They've got Chris Paul, Caron Butler, my man Blake Griffin. They've got the potential to do some damage in the playoffs, especially with the shortened 66-game season. I can't wait to watch them play.”