Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE
Recently Chris Paul came out to the media stating that he originally wanted a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, rather than going to the Los Angeles Lakers. He almost did not get his wish, as a trade had been completed with the Lakers, before the commissioner vetoed the trade, as the league did own the New Orleans Hornets at the time. Luckily for the Hornets the trade was vetoed, as without it the team would be completely different.
The original trade would have brought Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin and Luis Scola to the Hornets and despite the fact that all three players are very good, they are all expensive and all towards the end of their prime or past it completely. With that trade the Hornets may have made the playoffs, but they would be stuck in mediocrity for the considerable future with the ceiling of a 7 or 8 seed without a hope of advancing. Despite the fact that the Clippers trade did not bring the immediate help to make the Hornets competitive, it did give the team a pile of assets, which has made the team one of the brightest young squads in the NBA.
Without the trade the team would not have received star shooting guard Eric Gordon, who after signing a new contract should be the team’s leading scorer for the next few years. Without the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first round pick that also came in the deal, the team would not have Austin Rivers, who has star potential and could become the team’s starting point guard, or at the very least a great sixth man. The team also received a large expiring contract in Chris Kaman, who opened up cap room to sign Ryan Anderson. The Hornets also received talented small forward, Al Farouq Aminu, who although raw, has the chance to become an elite defender and a very capable scoring threat.
Finally, if the team had received Scola, Martin and Odom they would have had a much better record and in no way would have had the league’s fourth worst record. If that happened, there is little to no chance they would have had the opportunity to win the lottery, receive the first overall pick and draft potential superstar Anthony Davis, who could become one of the best players in the league. It is safe to say that the team would look very different if the original Chris Paul to the Lakers trade had gone through.
David Stern got a lot of heat around the league for denying the trade and many people said that he overstepped his bounds and overused his power. All of that is a distant memory and now the Hornets are a much better team because of that and without him stepping in and denying the trade, they would not be one of most exciting young teams in the NBA, with one of the league’s top young cores. So now all that the New Orleans Hornets can say is thank you David Stern; you have actually made the team better.