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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Did Hornets make the right CP3 deal?

ESPN.com and the TrueHoop Network

After wading through one league-vetoed trade, Chris Paul is finally headed to Los Angeles. Only, instead of forum blue and gold, he'll be suiting up in blue and red for that "other" L.A. squad.

Are the once-butt-of-every-joke Clippers now serious contenders? Did the Hornets get enough in return? Our five-man team has the answers to all of your pressing CP3 questions.


1. Fact or Fiction: The Clippers won this trade.



D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Fact. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Look at it this way: Chris Kaman was gone. Eric Gordon wasn't a lock for a contract extension. Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick could always end up being another Adam Morrison. It's a 400-foot homerun instead of a 500-footer because they were seemingly negotiating against themselves, but the Clippers got the league's best point guard. That's a win.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets 24/7: Fact. I wouldn't say the Hornets lost by any means. It's just that if you add Chris Paul, you're a winner in my book.

Tom Haberstroh, ESPN.com: Is it a copout to say it's a mutually beneficial trade? Clippers net a top-5 player who instantly transforms DeAndre Jordan into an offensive force and Blake Griffin into an MVP candidate. And they can flip assets for a 2. If only New Orleans could include knees in the package ...

David Thorpe, ESPN.com: Fact, for obvious reasons. The only caveat is just as obvious, so we need to check back in two years to see if they are going to keep Paul.

Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com: Fact, in the short term. They just traded for a potential Hall of Famer in his prime and paired him with a dynamic big man. But they gave up valuable assets without getting a long-term commitment from Paul. That's a risk. We'll have a better verdict in 2013.


2. Fact or Fiction: The Hornets got a good deal.



D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Fact. It's hard to "win" when you're trading a star like Paul, but the Hornets did extremely well for themselves. Gordon is the real prize in all of this. He scores more points per game (22.3) than his age (22) and has shown flashes of becoming a lockdown defender. With Gordon and the Minnesota pick, the Hornets can start fresh.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets 24/7: Fact. Even with Eric Bledsoe not included, the Hornets traded a sure-fire goner for a young star to build around, a former lottery pick and potential starter, a great trade piece, and a probable lottery pick in what's expected to be a great draft.

Tom Haberstroh, ESPN.com: They made out beautifully. Eric Gordon is a fantastic, budding No. 2 option and they have, at worst, two lottery picks, so Anthony Davis and Jared Sullinger are possibly on the way. Great haul -- for basketball reasons.

David Thorpe, ESPN.com: Possibly fact. But only possibly. Al-Farouq Aminu started off well as a rookie but finished horribly, and he's still a man without a position in his own mind (he thinks he's a 3; I don't). Kaman is likely going to be moved, so we need to see who that turns out to be. And the Minny pick could easily be outside the top 10. So Gordon is great, but if he's the only man standing in two-plus years, then this deal isn't so good.

Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com: Fact. They got a guard who has the potential to be an All-Star, they got a first-round draft pick that they could potentially turn into a star, got a prospect wing player and legitimate center who they can keep or flip in another trade. You never get equal value when trading a superstar but this was a reasonable haul.


3. Fact or Fiction: This package was better than the Lakers'.

Note: In the reported three-way trade, New Orleans would have ended up with Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick.


D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Fact, but not for "basketball reasons." The best thing for the Hornets as an organization was always to rebuild. Take it from someone who follows the Clippers -- you can sell potential. Cutting salary, acquiring draft picks and pulling down a young stud player was the right decision to make long-term, even if it won't equate to winning right away.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets 24/7: Fact. The Lakers deal meant the Hornets would spend the next five years in non-contending, non-lottery obscurity. It wasn't a bad haul per se, but the path to greatness that the Clippers deal offers is infinitely more appealing.

Tom Haberstroh, ESPN.com: Fact. Hornets are looking for the long play. I love Kevin Martin but when he is labeled as The Young Guy in a deal, that's a problem.

David Thorpe, ESPN.com: Fiction, though it depends to some degree on perspective. The first deal delivered far more for the next two seasons, while this deal can possibly be better in the next four.

Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com: Fact. The Lakers deal would've made the Hornets better this season and a contender for the playoffs. But that deal had limited potential. By working with the Clippers, the Hornets have a chance to be the where the Clippers are now in 2-3 seasons. With the Lakers deal, they might have been where the Rockets were last season.


4. Fact or Fiction: David Stern made the right move.


ALT HERE

D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Fact. Call this "The Decision," Round 2. Stern did the right thing for New Orleans in holding out for a better offer, but the execution of it all and public relations management was unbelievably shoddy. Sort of ironic, isn't it?

Joe Gerrity, Hornets 24/7: That's a fact-bomb if I've ever seen one. I have defended David Stern, and nothing could have validated that stance more than a trade like this coming to fruition so soon after.

Tom Haberstroh, ESPN.com: Fact. It's a Pyrrhic victory though. Yes, he negotiated a great deal, but at what cost?

David Thorpe, ESPN.com: Fact, because we have to consider what new ownership will be looking for. And we have to believe that Stern knows what new ownership will want.

Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com: Fact. It was unpopular and, depending on whom you talk to, maybe in violation of antitrust laws. But the Hornets got a better deal. Owners have to make hard and sometimes unpopular decisions. Stern made one.


5. Fact or Fiction: The Clippers are now a contender.



D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Fact. Although they're probably not done making moves, the Clippers currently have five former All-Stars on their roster (Paul, Billups, Williams, Butler, Griffin). This is the best team Paul has ever played with by a large margin. All of the sudden, the Clippers are a title contender. Pinch me.

Joe Gerrity, Hornets 24/7: Fiction. Paul, Griffin and Jordan will likely be wooing veterans willing to take a pay cut to win a title for years to come, but they won't be able to add enough pieces this season to really be considered top-flight contenders.

Tom Haberstroh, ESPN.com: Fact. Have the Mavericks not taught us anything? The contender club can go eight deep.

David Thorpe, ESPN.com: Fiction, now. Fact later, unless they bungle this. The trade deadline and next summer will make for very interesting drama in L.A.

Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com: Fact. They have two All-Stars and a some trade assets they can use to acquire another piece or two. They're not favorites, but any team starting two All-Stars has a chance.