For the second time in five days, New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul has learned he will not be traded to a Los Angeles team. On Thursday, NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed a done-deal three-team trade that would've sent Paul to the Lakers, and on Monday, Paul discovered he would not join Blake Griffin on the rebuilding Los Angeles Clippers.
The proposed trade between the Clippers and the Hornets would've sent the Clippers' shooting guards Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe, center Chris Kaman, and Minnesota's unprotected first-round draft pick in 2012 to New Orleans for the four-time NBA All-Star point guard. Reports say the Clippers organization found the demands were too steep, even though Paul said he would invoke the 2012-13 option in his contract that would guarantee he wore a Clippers uniform for at least two seasons.
Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer, but since trade rumors have begun, the team has been shopping around their elite point guard in hopes of getting a few valuable players in return. If Paul becomes a free agent next year and decides to leave, which is a near-certainty, the Hornets would get nothing.
Last Thursday, Stern nixed a three-team deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the LA Lakers. Forward Pau Gasol would have been traded to the Houston Rockets, and Lamar Odom, along with the Rockets' Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic, would've all been traded to the Hornets. Stern defended his decision, saying it was to maintain the NBA-owned Hornets' franchise value, but later reports indicated that Stern was looking for the Hornets to acquire a younger batch of players.
It was widely believed that the Chris Paul to the Clippers trade would've gone through, especially if Los Angeles was willing to trade three young players in Gordon, Bledsoe and Aminu. However, the stakes were too high, and Chris Paul will now resume training with his team.
Paul wants to play in a bigger market, and if he can't get it this year, there's a great chance he would wait another year until free agency to sign with one of the Los Angeles teams, or possibly one of the New York teams. Both the New York Knicks and soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets would like to add valuable pieces to their rebuilding franchises, and a point guard would be especially helpful for the Knicks, who already have powerful big men in Amar'e Stoudamire, Carmelo Anthony and now former Mavs' center Tyson Chandler.
Chris Paul was also in talks with the Celtics, which would've sent Boston's All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to New Orleans, but that trade too fell through.