In a recent interview, Chris Paul was quoted as saying that he preferred being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers over the Los Angeles Lakers. His reasons were that they had better pieces and the chance for winning with the Clippers was legendary.
It is interesting to note that Paul said he preferred the Clippers over the Lakers in this scenario. The Lakers have often had the best players go to their club, for a superstar of Paul’s caliber to prefer the Clippers is rare. Paul is a definitive Superstar, he is a legitimate MVP candidate year in and year out. Although things worked out for both parties, it’s good to hear that Paul may just stay with the Clippers long term. For years, the Clippers have treaded water and have been the laughing stock of the western conference. Now, they seem to finally be headed in the right direction with Paul and Blake Griffin paired up hopefully for the foreseeable future.
It was actually a blessing in disguise that the Paul to Lakers trade was rejected by the league, because the Lakers now have a stronger team than the Paul, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum core they would have been left with. I know the Lakers could have then acquired Dwight Howard for Bynum, but still the core the Lakers have now is infinitely better with Pau Gasol still with the team and Steve Nash joining them. Their team now is more dangerous since all four players seem to fit better together. That’s not to say that the Paul, Kobe, Howard would have been interesting as well. Still, the Lakers like how things played out in the end.
On the flip side, the Clippers are stronger now than they have ever been. The presence of Paul has suddenly made the club a viable destination for free agents. Their core of Griffin, Paul and DeAndre Jordan will probably make both Los Angeles teams as worthy rivals for the next few years. Gone are the days when the Clippers are the laughing stock of Los Angeles. The Clippers are no longer the “little brother” of the Lakers. They can now be as competitive and we could see an interesting Laker-Clipper rivalry in the next few years.
In the end both the Clippers and Lakers benefitted from how things played out. The Clippers faithful can now breathe a sigh of relief as well, as Paul seems genuinely happy to stay with the Clippers and to build a new legacy with the club.