So in case you’ve been living under a rock, or backpacking and trying to find yourself, a lot has happened today in the NBA. Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets, and Phil Jackson was let go from the Knicks.
Now this NBA off-season, which has lasted barely two weeks, has had more drama than Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl, any other fans out there, no? ok.
Now this Rockets trade does mean certain things, both for H Town and the Clippers.
First of all, lets start with happy news, and if you’re a Rockets fan, today was a wonderfully happy day. This is a team that fell to the Spurs in six games, during the second round of this years playoffs. Even without Paul, this Rockets team very well could’ve defeated San Antonio. What Paul brings to the table, is his competiveness, along with his 18 points and 9 assists per game he averaged during this past season. James Harden averaged 28.5 points per game this year, and the next closest in that category was Eric Gordon with 12.9. Chris Paul walks into Houston, and immediately becomes the team’s leading passer and second leading scorer. Without Paul, Houston still managed 55 wins and a third seed in the competitive Western Conference, and with this addition, I firmly believe that the Rockets will jump ahead of their rivals in San Antonio and grab that second seed. Though lets be honest, nobody is beating Golden State, its just not going to happen. Houston gave up a 2018 first round pick, as well as Sam Dekker, Lou Williams and Patrick Beverly, but honestly, once the trade was made done, fans of the Rockets couldn’t even tell you who those players were. In 2017, Houston produced the second best offense in the league, and that was with Harden leading both in scoring and passing. Now just think about the effect that Paul will have, the man who is tenth on the all time assists list.
Now for the sad news, and that is the Clippers. This is a franchise that has always been a little depressing. In the early 2000’s, it was a franchise that had no hope, and played the red headed step child to the Lakers. Then, when they acquired Paul and drafted Blake Griffin, they became a legitimate threat in the Western Conference, or so we thought. In the Paul and Griffin era, the team never reached the finals, and most recently got knocked out in the first round by the Jazz, in a seventh game at home. With Paul gone, the team’s future depends entirely on what Blake Griffin does, who is a free agent come Saturday. Though they weren’t left completely bare after the trade this morning, it sure does feel like it. If the team re-signs Griffin, the group of players they inherited from Houston could allow LA to develop young talent, and take advantage of next year’s draft and free agency period. Now, what Clippers fans are dreading, is to see Griffin sign somewhere else, and if that happens, this next season will be a long one, and they will again become the second team in the town, behind the Lakers.
Finally, we go to the Big Apple, to the toxic situation that is the New York Knicks. This morning, the team parted ways with their team president, legendary coach Phil Jackson. While Jackson was pure magic as a head coach, winning 11 titles with Chicago and the Lakers, his three year tenure with the Knicks was depressing and extremely disappointing for New York fans. In his three seasons as GM, the Knicks went 80-166, in comparison, Jackson’s 95-96 Bulls team went 72-10. In an off-season that has the basketball world on its heels, the timing of departing for Jackson was surprising, just 72 hours before the start of free agency. While his record as team’s president is a clear indicator that a change needed to be made, Jackson’s recent feuds with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis gave the Knicks no choice but to move on, as Jackson was preparing on moving one, or both players to make way for his triangle offense. Jackson walked into Madison Square Garden, with hopes to capture the franchise’s rich history, but instead he stunk up Manhattan even more, with the icing on the cake coming when Porzingis skipped out on his exit meeting with Jackson back in April. With Jackson’s departure, the Knicks suddenly have a brighter future than they did 24 hours ago, with a promising coach in Jeff Hornacek now allowed to run his fast paced offense that brought the Phoenix Suns success.