Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Clippers land Chris Paul from Hornets
From ESPN.com news services:
The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to a deal with the league-owned New Orleans Hornets to acquire guard Chris Paul.
The Clippers will send guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets for Paul. The Clippers will also receive two future second-round picks.
The deal required the approval of NBA commissioner David Stern, but is expected to be approved Wednesday night, sources said.
The move puts an end to a tortured week in which the Hornets' season sat in limbo while the NBA took a public relations beating over everything from potential conflicts of interest, to stunting the Hornets' pursuit of free agents, to disrespecting the New Orleans fan base.
The Hornets at last have a measure of certainty about the roster they'll have when the regular season begins in less than two weeks.
Paul, already a star with international appeal, gets to play in one of the NBA's biggest markets, even if his new team plays in the shadow of the Lakers. That's the club Paul was almost traded to last week, only to have Stern nix the deal and unleash a torrent of bad publicity on his league just as it was trying to generate good will following a nearly five-month labor dispute that has already caused a shortening of the season.
"I didn't know it was going to happen. I was told yesterday that it wasn't going to be done," Kaman told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "Everybody thought it was nixed, that it was dead. Then I guess something came back up today.
"I don't know what to expect, I don't know what to anticipate. I'm just going to try to move forward and play basketball like I'm capable of doing."
The 26-year-old Paul, a four-time All-Star, averaged 18.7 points and 9.8 assists last season, his sixth in the NBA. His move to the Clippers means he'll now be able to make alley-oop lobs to a young star famous for dunking over a car. That would be forward Blake Griffin, who averaged 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds last season, his first as a pro.
The Hornets, meanwhile, get a prolific young shooting guard in Gordon, who turns 23 on Christmas Day and averaged 22.3 points last season. The 6-foot-9 Aminu is a second-year pro who averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds as a rookie.
Gordon found the deal "disappointing."
"People in the organization were telling me I was going to probably stay here, stick around," he said. "But you don't know who to trust or follow, give you a lead on anything. I'm just going to take it for how it is. It is kind of tough to swallow, but I'm just a basketball player. I'm not going to have any hard feelings about it."
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