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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Chris Paul

Chris Paul says he was angry when 2011 trade to Lakers got vetoed

Chris Paul

The NBA’s veto of the Chris Paul-Los Angeles Lakers trade created a butterfly effect that still influences the balance of power in the league today. Now Paul is offering some insights into what he thought of the whole ordeal at the time.

Appearing this week on the “Knuckleheads” podcast with retired former LA Clippers Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson, Paul said he was angry when the deal got nixed, especially as he had already spoken with Kobe Bryant.

“I was on the phone with my brother and my agent, and all that,” said Paul, per Silver Screen and Roll. “We figuring out a plane to get to New Orleans to get us to LA … Let’s just say my agent clicked over, said hold on, clicked over and then he came back on and he was like, stuttering. And we was hot. We was hot. Me and Kobe had talked, you know what I’m saying? We had talked already and all that. And it was a lot. It was a lot.”

Paul, then with the New Orleans Hornets, would have gone to the Lakers in a three-way trade with a Pau Gasol-based package going to the Houston Rockets and a Lamar Odom-Goran Dragic-based package going back to New Orleans. The Hornets were under league ownership at the time, however, and then-commissioner David Stern vetoed the deal, citing “basketball reasons.”

The LA Clippers then swooped in and acquired Paul instead, immediately igniting their “Lob City” era of playoff contention. The Lakers, meanwhile, underachieved for the rest of Bryant’s career (including an ill-fated trade for Dwight Howard the next year) and have only now retaken their place among the league’s elite. The post-Paul Hornets (later the Pelicans) were bad enough that they were able to draft Anthony Davis No. 1 overall in 2012, and the Rockets used their assets to trade for James Harden later that year instead.

While Paul is now on a surprisingly fun Oklahoma City team and is nearly a decade removed from the Lakers saga, it still looms as one of the greatest what-ifs in NBA history. Even Bryant once lamented the failure of the Paul deal.

Most crucial questions facing Western Conference’s elite

Anthony Davis Lakers

The NBA is gearing up for a return next month, and the expectation is that we will have playoff basketball. As the Western Conference’s elite teams prepare for the return of the season, we take a look at the most critical question that will define each team’s chances at contending for a championship.

(You can find the biggest questions facing the Eastern Conference’s top teams here)

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Here is why Twitter was making Chris Paul NBA snitching hotline jokes

Chris Paul

The NBA is planning to have an anonymous hotline where those in the Orlando “bubble” can report violations of health and safety protocol. In response to the report, people on Twitter began making jokes about Chris Paul, figuring that he would be using the hotline.

Someone also made a D’Angelo Russell joke even though his Minnesota Timberwolves will not be participating in the resumed season.

So why the CP3 jokes? Paul is notorious for being a rules stickler, to the point that he’ll point out even the most minor violations to referees if it helps his team. As for D’Angelo Russell, well, you remember how he got his reputation for being a snitch.

The Next Dance: NBA documentaries that should be made

James harden

Sports fans were able to satisfy their desperate hunger for competition while the NBA remains on hiatus by watching ESPN’s 10-part documentary, “The Last Dance.” Iconic NBA documentaries can function almost as a time machine, guiding the viewer through a notable part of the league’s history, while still providing a similar thrill to the one felt when experiencing games live.

“The Last Dance” was compelling at every turn. It seems fitting that ESPN created arguably the greatest NBA documentary of all time while telling the story of the greatest NBA player of all time. While there may never be a story that parallels Michael Jordan’s ascension to basketball supremacy, the last decade of NBA action has produced a magnitude of engrossing stories. These stories have a profound impact on the current framework of the NBA and may also be worthy of their own documentary one day.

Here are some subjects we would love to see covered in-depth in a future documentary.

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Daryl Morey thinks Rockets beat Warriors in 2018 without Chris Paul injury

Daryl Morey

The Houston Rockets had the Golden State Warriors on the ropes in 2018, and their GM thinks a single twist of fate kept them from finishing the job.

Appearing this week on FS1’s “The Herd,” Daryl Morey referenced Houston’s near-toppling of the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals that year.

“Really just one of the all-time great teams and a hamstring probably kept us from a title,” said Morey.

Morey is referring to then-Rocket Chris Paul, who suffered a hamstring injury at the end of a Game 5 victory to put Houston up 3-2 in the series. Paul missed the remainder of the conference finals, as the Rockets were trounced in Game 6 and then blew a double-digit second-half lead to lose Game 7 at home as well (an affair that saw them infamously miss 27 straight three-point tries).

The shame is that Morey had built almost the perfect team to dethrone the Warriors — a small-ball steamroller with switchable, three-point shooting wings led by dynamic offensive creators like Paul and James Harden and complemented by the interior energy of Clint Capela. The Rockets may have been the better team that year, and Morey sure felt like they should have won.

While Golden State was also without a key piece in Andre Iguodala that series, Houston’s players feel the same way that Morey does. With the Rockets losing to the Warriors in the postseason again in 2019 and having since parted ways with key members of that team like Paul and Capela, that 2018 run might just have been their best crack at a championship.

Several NBA stars want to resume season

Chris Paul

Several NBA stars want to resume the current season, according to a report.

Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes reported on Tuesday that Chris Paul, who is the president of the players’ association, arranged a call with many other top players in the league to discuss the resumption of the season. Haynes says the call included LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.

All players agreed that they wanted to resume the current season when it is safe. The belief is that the superstars all being on the same page will influence the direction of the league.

With the exception of Curry, Durant and Lillard, the players on that call mostly are on championship-contending teams, and therefore would have more incentive to resume the season. Haynes says many players not on playoff contenders feel the season should only resume with playoff teams to minimize the risk of virus exposure.

One issue some players are considering is that the next collective bargaining agreement would be negatively affected if the season were not resumed. That is a concern that was raised by one veteran player.

From Luka Doncic to Chris Paul: Which guards deserve to make All-NBA

Luka Doncic

Little is known about when the NBA will make its highly-anticipated return. With close to three-fourths of the regular season in the books, the leaders for end-of-season awards have distinguished themselves from the pack. All-NBA selections are meant to represent the best players at their respective positions. Quantifying what it means to be the best at one’s position is as divisive of a debate as the Michael Jordan/LeBron James G.O.A.T. argument. Selection as an All-NBA player is about not only putting up impressive statistics, but also embodying winning with play on the court.

Without further ado, here are my selections for the All-NBA guards based on this shortened season’s body of work.

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