The Los Angeles Clippers were arguably the most embarrassing franchise in the history of professional sports until NBA commissioner David Stern stepped in. Stern paved the way for the team to acquire Chris Paul from the equally floundering New Orleans Hornets.
Unfortunately, despite 56 regular season wins and enough Lob City highlights to impress any seasoned YouTuber, the Clips’ 2012-13 season ended on Friday night. Los Angeles had built a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against Memphis, but proceeded to lose four straight and were sent packing.
Now, after finally enjoying some wins after decades of losing, the team finds itself in a state of flux. Coach Vinny Del Negro’s contract is up, but far more importantly, so is CP3’s.
An unquestioned superstar and one of the very best at what he does, Paul is the facilitator that allows high-fliers such as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to do what they do best: Send home perfectly placed lob passes.
Without him, the team will not fall all the way back into what feels like prehistoric times, but the 2013-14 season may not be nearly as fun for fans as this past year was. Thus, Paul’s wishy-washy comments when asked about his impending free agency should be worrisome.
Chris Paul sounds a lot like Dwight Howard. Not sure where he’s going to sign. “I don’t know how this whole thing’s going to play out.”
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) May 4, 2013
The Dwight Howard comparison might be a bit too harsh, but you get the point LA beat writer Mike Bresnahan is trying to make.
Chris Paul has a great thing going in one of the nation’s biggest markets. If he sticks around, he will have the chance to be forever known as the player who turned a dumpster-fire into a championship-caliber franchise.
But he still may wind up walking through that door — but where would he go?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has gone on record several times as being willing to spend as much money as possible to build a champion. The cap space may be there after Deron Williams chose to re-sign with Brooklyn instead of heading to the Mavs and OJ Mayo will be entering free agency this offseason.
However, most signs are pointing to New York. Jason Kidd is roughly 100 years old, and he played like it against Boston in the playoffs.
Even more importantly, CP3 really wants to be there. At Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony’s wedding in 2010 – while Melo was still with Denver — Paul allegedly said “We’ll form our own Big 3.”
At the time, only Amare Stoudemire was in the Big Apple in terms of star power. Melo is now playing his ball in Madison Square Garden, but very good players such as Kidd, Tyson Chandler and JR Smith are merely pieces.
Paul is more than a piece to a puzzle. He is going to be a crown jewel in the upcoming free agent frenzy.
Could CP3 wind up becoming the crown jewel in a New York “big three”? Only time will tell.