So there was a huge trade Wednesday night in the NBA and the Lakers are certainly not very happy about this. The Hornets made a deal to send Chris Paul to the Lakers and the NBA stepped in and said “Nope! Not happening” Dell Demps, who played in the league, 41 year old, is a sharp GM…like what do you do when the NBA steps in like that? Well I guess you start over again and now they got him going to the Clippers. The good news for LA sports fan is that…at least he’s in the Staple Center. Bad news for Laker fans is…he’s with the Clippers. Now, I don’t know if, long-term, he stays because it’s only a 2 year deal. But the bottom line is that it’s a bunch of good players – Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and a first round draft pick…it’s a bunch of good players for a great player. Even though that great player Chris Paul is coming off some knew surgery stuff and there are already some questions with his health…you gotta remember this – and I think sometimes that NBA insiders undervalue what I’m about to say.
Now, who won the trade Wednesday night? Who knows…who care’s! I mean, New Orleans lost a star and LA gained a star….and in the NBA, if I have 2 stars – Blake and Chris Paul and you have none, I win… this is a star driven league. In the history of trades in the NBA…the team who gets the star, sells more tickets, gets more free publicity, get’s more wins and usually wins the title…why? Because stars win in this league. It uses to be that you only needed one or two stars…now you need 3! Now Miami has 3…and they couldn’t even win the title! It tends to be a star driven league. But I always think that we tend to undervalue what stars mean…I’ll give you an example. If I ran a city – and this is never going to happen and all of you are lucky because of that, but one of the first places I would put money in…is in a convention centre. I am very pro-convention centre. Not just because of the square footage in the convention centre…but what it sucks into your city. More hotels, more restaurants, increases airport traffic. Everything gets sucked toward the convention centre –especially if you’re in a reasonably cool city.
It’s the same with stars in the NBA. If you get a star – even if you give up draft picks and all this stuff… if you get a star, it sucks everything else into your team. Shane Battier wants to take a pay cut to play for the Heat…this guy will take a pay cut to play here, Tyson Chandler “I’ll take a pay cut to play with Dirk” or “I’ll take a pay cut to play with Carmelo Anthony” It sucks things in and you don’t really realize it…that cool people want to hang around cool people. Basketball is the one sport; I contend…because you can’t do this in baseball, you can’t do this in football. You can tell how good a basketball player is in seconds, when he plays with other good players. Adam Morrison gets drafted and then you see him in his first practice and you’re like “Okay, we whiffed on that one! That’s not going to work…” Basketball talent jumps off the floor, it jumps out of the TV and it jumps out immediately.
Kobe Bryant wasn’t even good in his first year and you would watch for like 3 minutes and go “holy smokes is this kid a talent!” You could tell a game into Griffin’s career….remember when Bynum and Greg Oden, they were playing…Lakers/Trail Blazers Game 1, this was like 3 years ago. I wrote up a rant (back when I use to post them as facebook comments before this blog) and said that Bynum would have the better career. You could tell from his feet – like he moves his feet better than Oden did and that he’s got better hands. Forget about Oden’s health…Bynum is a longer, better feet big, better hands, he’ll be better! You can do that. Now, it’s hard to draft a guy from college to the pros because the difference in style, talent and tempo is like the Grand Canyon different. But Blake Griffin and Chris Paul…you’re going to find guys now that want to go play for that team because they want to hang out with the cool guys…the wanna go to Los Angeles! Stars want to be with stars in the NBA.
Now the Hornets did well, the Hornets got pieces…but Eric Gordon, like stars in this league aren’t going “I’ve got to play with Eric Gordon! Hey guys, gather around…Eric Gordon is on television” Eric Gordon is a nice player, very good shooter, Chris Kaman and draft picks. I always felt that if I was the GM… I want draft picks, I don’t want B+ players, and I’ll take draft picks because at least with draft picks…you can get a star. But, especially in the NBA, if you can get the stars – Jalen Rose talked about this on ESPN radio Wednesday, that if you’re the Clippers and you’re in the same building with the Lakers…you’ve got to go get the guy, saying “A lot of people are forgetting about the elephant in the room. That’s Los Angeles! You need superstars to fill stadiums in the same building that you share with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers have always been little brother…but now they have a dynamic duo without mention. Also, this increases the chances for Blake Griffin to stay” So many levels at work. Blake Griffin will want to stay, other stars will want to be there. Like, look at all the talent you’re going to have in that building on a nightly basis….that’s a lot! It’s nothing against the Hornets because they’ve got a bunch of players.
Chris Paul, however, makes people better! So if I can get a star player and the star player is a guard – like I was shocked on Wednesday to hear that Orlando passed, where they basically said “we’re taking Dwight Howard off the market. They did that with New Jersey offering 5 first round draft picks….are you kidding me?? You’re certainly not going to do better than me on that. All you have to do is just get 1 out of 5. Portland was involved, Orlando, New Jersey…there was 5 first round draft picks offered by the Nets. I could never, as a GM, ever pass that up… I just couldn’t! The idea…like if Orlando gets rid of Dwight Howard, that’s going to be a great number one pick.