December 6, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; against the Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) controls the ball during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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As Chris Paul prepares to hit free agency next summer, we explore why his best alternative to the Los Angeles Clippers could be the New Orleans Pelicans
If you’ve been following the NBA for a good portion of your life, you know that the Hornets have since relocated to Charlotte and the Pelicans have flown into New Orleans. The Hornets also took the pictured color scheme with them and modernized it, leaving the Pelicans rocking the gold, blue, and red.
(I still have mixed feelings about their uniforms, I do like the alternate red jerseys though, but I digress)
As I have mentioned in previous articles, I truly believe the New Orleans Pelicans are headed in the right direction despite their plummet back to the bottom of the Western Conference standings last season after earning a playoff berth the season before. One move that would really help accelerate their limbo-rebuild would be bringing back a familiar face – Chris Paul to the Big Easy.
Now, I know you Lakers fans reading this may cringe a little at young CP3 and what could have been had David Stern not vetoed the trade that would have brought him to the City of Angels. I could spend an entire separate post talking about what could have been.
*makes mental note to write what could be a really good article*
What I want to do is provide a few reasons why Chris Paul should at least consider a zip code change next summer.
You thought the first reason was going to be just Anthony Davis didn’t you?
While AD is obviously a very talented, young piece and the franchise’s cornerstone, he’s not the only young and productive player that currently sits on the New Orleans Pelicans roster.
The Pelicans have made a bunch of savvy signings this offseason. For instance, they signed Lance Stephenson for $100,000. That’s it. Talk about a high-reward, low-risk signing.
In addition to Lance Stephenson, the Pelicans have also signed guys like Solomon Hill, E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway, and drafted Buddy Buckets and Cheick Diallo.
It may take a season or two for the newly-infused on the roster to gel together, but that’s perfect timing for an aging point guard to come in and become a solid leader and locker-room presence in 2017 when his contract is up. Speaking of future free agents.
The list of possible future free agents for the New Orleans Pelicans during the next free agency period according to realGM are: Chris Copeland, Dante Cunningham, Shawn Dawson, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Alonzo Gee, Jrue Holiday, Terrence Jones, Robert Sacre, and Lance Stephenson.
While that may seem like a lot of players, some of these guys may not even make the roster for this upcoming season, and if I’m a free agent in the loaded 2017 class and see an easy opportunity to play a decent amount of minutes alongside AD and Chris Paul I’m having my agent pick up my phone and calling the Pelicans.
Now, with that established, guys that are likely to be on the team next season are guys like E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway, and (I really think he will be) Lance Stephenson. What do those three guys have in common? They’re young and they can be primary or off-ball ball handlers to help alleviate the pressure of CP3’s aging body.
Alvin Gentry, I think, will be around when 2017 rolls around, and the Pelicans upper management has shown they aren’t afraid to take risks (look at the terms of the deal with Solomon Hill if you want to get an idea).
AD is locked up for the future, and Buddy Buckets is their SG of the future. CP3 would be signing up for a younger and similarly efficient version of Griffin in Davis (Davis holds a career 51.8 FG%, Griffin a 52.1%) and a high-volume but highly efficient 3PT shooter in Buddy Buckets like J.J. Redick (Hield shot 39% from 3PT land while hoisting up 894 3-pointers over the course of his collegiate career, and Redick is a career 41.2% shooter from 3PT land).
The bottom line is this: youthful, contributing players will be around for the long haul as CP3’s career dwindles down and he continues to chase hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
I don’t know what it is, but the Los Angeles Clippers just flat out stink in the postseason. They let the Rockets come back from a 3-1 deficit and win the series to advance to get trounced by the eventual champion GSW, but still… there’s just an Eeyore cloud over this organization.
I have great respect for Doc Rivers, and I think the Clips’ Big 3 (Griffin, Jordan, and CP3) is a great one to have and leaps and bounds better than most other teams’; but whatever formula they’ve been trying just doesn’t work. It’s not like they haven’t tried, they just haven’t been able to piece it together, and this core is just obviously mentally and emotionally exhausted.
By moving to the Big Easy, Chris Paul gets to mentally reset and take on a different, lesser role in New Orleans but still remain competitive in a crowded Western Conference. Is it the best spot he could land up in terms of ring chasing? Of course not.
We all know how badly CP3 wants that ring, and if that means teaming up with his pals LeBron, Melo, and Wade, he’ll do it and become the villain. I don’t know if it’s just me, I just don’t see him doing that. I think Paul just wants to move on somewhere else, and what better place than a homecoming?