Commentary

Paul trade too costly for Clippers

CP3 is a game-changer, but budding star Gordon high price to pay

Originally Published: December 15, 2011
By Chris Palmer | ESPN The Magazine
Eric Gordon and Chris PaulAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesLosing Eric Gordon is one of the drawbacks for L.A. in the trade for Chris Paul.

Now that the Chris Paul trade between the New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers is done, it will go down as one of the most absurd dealings in league history.

It included exorbitant demands by the NBA on behalf of the Hornets, a hamstrung GM in Dell Demps and a string of dizzying fits and stops that have frustrated an entire fan base. It has been trying, to say the least. And for a franchise desperate to finally emerge from the doldrums of basketball ineptitude, suffering the bizarre scenarios could well be worth acquiring a player of Paul's genius.

Now that Paul's coming to Clipperland, it could put them on track to play deep into June someday if they fill out the roster with the requisite selfless, moderately paid role players. But there's no guarantee that pairing Paul and Blake Griffin would immediately rocket the Clippers to the top of the Western Conference.

Given the Clippers' woeful history, it's a dream worth chasing. But they'd be chasing that dream at a steep cost. The Hornets receive Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick. At first the Clippers smartly declined that deal, knowing the potential to gut their future was too great, but eventually they relented and took the deal.

Is it really worth it?

Is Paul worth going to all this trouble for, or is the specter of giving up budding star Gordon and a possible No. 1 pick too much to sacrifice? Let's take a closer look.

Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine