The Chris Paul Trade, One Year Later

It’s obviously a happy anniversary around Clippers HQ. They’re winning, Chris Paul has been everything they hoped for in performance and personality and every indication is he will re-sign as a free agent in July, and every certainty is that he has done exactly as promised in keeping the contract issue from turning into a hazmat spill the way it did for others in previous years. Raise a toast.

Not you, Hornets.

One year later, New Orleans can say it has moved on from the Paul saga, except that it really hasn’t. The future of Eric Gordon, the centerpiece of the return among existing players, is an unknown. The future of Austin Rivers, drafted with the pick acquired from the Clippers, is an unknown as a rookie in a difficult transition. The future of Al-Farouq Aminu is more encouraging than any time in his two-plus seasons as a pro, which is something, but a small portion of the resolution.

There is no real closure from Dec. 14, 2011, with Paul, along with a pair of second-round picks, going to the Clippers for Gordon, Aminu, Chris Kaman and the Timberwolves’ first-round pick that landed at No. 10. Kaman played 47 of the 66 games last season before leaving as a free agent without the Hornets flipping him into anything, but all other books are open.

Gordon: He is young (24 on Christmas), talented (22.3 points per game in 2010-11), versatile on offense (has range, handles well enough for a shooting guard that some thought he could be a point guard as he entered college in 2007)… and far away. Gordon played nine games last season in his inaugural Hornets campaign and has yet to play in 2012-13 because of a knee injury. There is no timetable for his return.

Rivers: The son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers is the first to say the career turn to becoming a full-time point guard is an adjustment. It’s also just beginning, not only because Austin is one-fourth of the way through his rookie season, but because he will eventually, presumably, have to learn to play in the same backcourt as Gordon. For now, the former Duke standout is averaging seven points, 2.9 assists and 1.4 turnovers in 27.6 minutes while shooting 32.5 percent with 11 starts in 20 games.

Aminu: The No. 8 pick in 2010 by the Clippers has gone from 5.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 20 minutes and 40.2 percent his first two seasons to 9.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 29.3 minutes and 47.2 percent. Although the majority of his success is coming very close to the basket, Aminu hitting any shot, after 39.4 percent as a rookie in L.A. and 41.1 last season in New Orleans, is an important. He was once a top prospect, but he’s still just 22 and could have a future yet at small forward.

Given Gordon’s health and Rivers’ inexperience, it will probably be at least one more anniversary and maybe longer, depending on the Gordon recovery, until any solid read on the deal working out for the Hornets. If they get a starting backcourt for eight or 10 years out of it, that’s a pretty good salvage job from a bad situation. But if Gordon is limping through seasons, plural, it obviously becomes a much different outcome.

8 Comments

  1. Benny says:

    Hornets got raped in that deal… we all knew that from day 1

  2. Sosay says:

    yeah so, they bottomed out, got the #1 pick and landed davis. they have a better looking future with him alone, then being a 500 club with lamar odom, luis scola and them. david stern would make a great gm

  3. sixers fan says:

    do not really care about pau

  4. sixers fan says:

    ha i really want to beat the lakers on sunday going to to the game but sad to see no steve nash even though i am a sixers fan it would have been fun to see him play live

  5. Michael says:

    One Year later, The Lakers have no Lamar Odom. Pau Gasol is hurt. They traded 2 First Round Picks to get Steve Nash, who hasn’t played in a regular season game. They had traded for Ramon Sessions, but he left because he thought he was worth more money(not sure if he got it). The voided trade caused tremendous psychological problems for the team during the 2011-12 season. Since Phil Jackson left, they’ve had 2 coaches who couldn’t coach their way out of a paper bag. Hopefully, Mile D’Antoni will resign(as in leave) at the end of the season and the Lakers won’t have to pay him on top of what they have to pay the Mike Brown disaster.

    • Ren says:

      No one cares. This is not an article about the Lakers.

    • dattebayo says:

      You gotta love it, disappointed and disillusioned Laker fans everywhere. They have the best center in the league and as they like to claim “the best shooting guard and regular season MVP” (yeah, I am not buying that). Still they complain like no one’s business.