The Clippers tried to trade for CP3, but David Stern told them no. So the Clips backed away from the negotiating table. On Monday night, they claimed Chauncey Billups off waivers. That made a pretty decent Clippers team even stronger and deeper, further reducing the odds that the Clips would pay a king’s ransom for Paul.
Meanwhile, the Hornets are in comically bad shape. Last week, there were six players on their entire roster! Now, their official roster is impressively long, but that’s only because they signed 9 random dudes late last week. Specifically, these dudes (hat tip: Hornets247):
Brian Butch, Justin Dentmon, Jerome Dyson, Moses Ehambe, Carldell Johnson, Trey Johnson, DaJuan Summers, Lance Thomas and Terrico White
Even with the nucleus of Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Marco Belinelli, and Jarrett Jack, this isn’t a legitimate NBA team. And that’s assuming CP3 is a good soldier and actually plays.
Keep in mind that the Hornets play their first game in less than 72 hours! Who’s in charge here?
The Lakers gave away a critical trading chip when they dealt Odom, and they seem focused on acquiring Dwight Howard anyhow. The Clippers can just wait to sign Paul when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.
So who else besides the Clippers might come to Stern’s (and Paul’s) rescue?
Nobody. At least, that’s what Bill Simmons wrote in his column today for Grantland:
[The Clippers] backed away from negotiations last night, and one more time this morning, leaving David Stern sitting at the “CHRIS PAUL FIRE SALE” table by himself. There isn’t a single suitor in sight. Not one.
Wow. Can that really be true? Maybe. But just for fun, here are a few other ideas, most of which have been approved by the ESPN Trade Machine:
- Golden State has the assets, but they have refused to include Stephen Curry in any deal for Paul. Maybe Stern recognizes that he’s lost some leverage and accepts something like Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, David Lee, Klay Thompson, and a couple of draft picks for Paul and Okafor?
- Boston? Before the Lakers and Clippers took center stage, the main contenders for Paul were thought to be the Celtics and the Warriors. Maybe the Celts go back to shopping Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, and some draft picks for Paul?
- Can another small-market team put together a good enough package, and is it willing to do the trade even if Paul would not sign an extension? Maybe David Kahn wants to give it the old college try. (He does love point guards.) How about Paul for Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Michael Beasley, and Anthony Randolph?
- The Knicks! They basically can’t afford to sign a hot dog vendor after they grabbed Tyson Chandler, but think about it: Paul has made it clear that he wants to play for New York AND he wants to play with Chandler. Can the Knicks move Stoudemire (or Carmelo) plus … ugh. The Knicks really are maxed out, and they’ve got very little else on their roster. Maybe some draft picks? Maybe involve a third team?
- Never take your eye off Mark Cuban. Look what he just did to the Lakers.