The landscape of today’s NBA could have looked a lot different if we saw Chris Paul traded for the Splash Brothers in 2011
There are many “what if” scenarios in the NBA that could have changed the way we see the league as we know it. Tim Duncan was a mere moments from signing with the Orlando Magic. Kobe Bryant could have been traded to Chicago for a bag of beans. James Harden was only a matter of loose change from staying in Oklahoma City.
A recent story in Ethan Strauss’s ‘The Victory Machine’ has entered in the array of potential NBA shakeups: Chris Paul traded to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Yes, the Splash Brothers would be down in the Bayou.
It was no secret that Chris Paul was on his way out of New Orleans in 2011. The all-star point guard was removed from his chance to join Kobe and the Lakers as he was dealt to the LA Clippers instead. In a recent interview on the Uninterrupted podcast, Paul confirmed that he, in fact, was headed to Golden State before he personally intervened and told the Warriors’ front office that he would not re-sign with the team when his contract ran up.
More from Sir Charles In Charge
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: 3 teams best suited to land him in 2021
- Twitter goes bananas over reported return of NBA’s anonymous tip hotline
- What’s next for the Nuggets after losing Jerami Grant in free agency?
- LA Clippers: The search for a true point guard has proven futile
- Miami Heat: Are they pretenders or contenders heading into 2020-21?
Even if he did step in and the Warriors still pulled the trigger on the trade, can you imagine what would happen to the NBA today?
First of all, the juggernaut Warriors would not be a thing. Chris Paul would go and play with the likes of David Lee, Monta Ellis, and Richard Jefferson. At the time, both Curry and Thompson were promising shooters but not too much more. More specifically, Curry was a consistent victim of injuries and could never keep his ankles healthy.
The presence of Chris Paul would have been a great compliment to Ellis’ game as he did not want to play with a point guard who constantly took 3-point shots. Perhaps they would have been good enough for a couple of years and made the playoffs a time or two. It would be hard to argue if anything more would come of this run, because Paul had no intention of re-signing. The Warriors would have been in complete disarray at the exact time their championship run began.
Second, and most importantly, the Curry and Thompson duo would have developed even better than originally thought. If the deal for CP3 was just for the Splash Brothers, then they would have played with an abysmal group on that New Orleans Hornets team in 2011. You could make the case that the team maybe would have won a couple of games, but certainly would have been in lottery contention.
The 2012 NBA draft awarded New Orleans their future big man in Anthony Davis. So now we are talking about Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Davis all reaching the peak of their careers in the next three years.
Some other teams to consider are both Los Angeles teams and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Clippers were a playoff team without Chris Paul since they had Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Eric Gordon. However, the Lob City Clippers would have never existed and perhaps would have been victim of a point guard carousel rather than having a stable presence like Paul for as long as they did.
Speaking of stability, we all know the work that LeBron James has done since he arrived with the Lakers. He has changed the culture of the team from lottery expectations to championship aspirations. However, if the Pelicans were consistent winners with Curry, Thompson, and AD, does Davis want to leave?
If there is no inkling that he would in the first place, then would LeBron want to even go to Los Angeles? There would certainly be no draw for him to play with a young group of guys and if Davis stayed in New Orleans, then James would have been stuck with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram who have both gone on to have their best seasons yet.
Last but not least, you would have to be living under a rock to not know that Kevin Durant fled OKC in order to play with the Warriors. If we let everything play out and we see that the Pelicans are now the juggernaut of the West, does KD go down to New Orleans?
If he does, is he going to be the fourth option? Keep in mind, the Warriors were great in large part because Draymond Green was not really a scorer. It made things easier for the ball to be shared amongst the other three players. If you are the Pelicans coach, is Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, or Kevin Durant going to be your fourth option? Suppose that he decides to stay in Oklahoma City, where would that leave the Thunder out West?
Each action has a reaction and it is clear that if the Warriors and Hornets went ahead with this trade, it would have turned the rest of the NBA world upside down.