The NBA will be providing stocking-stuffers after all this year. After dragging out a 163-day lockout that cut into the season considerably, the league is going to cram in an abbreviated training camp/preseason to provide us with Christmas Day entertainment once again.
Nevermind teams are still trying to fill roster spots, and free agency is a mess. Don't worry about players trying to get ready for a 66-game season in less than a month. Everyone is going to buck up and start the season on Christmas Day, and they're doing it for us. How thoughtful. A Christmas miracle!....
The Lakers were thanking Santa when it looked like Chris Paul was headed to L.A. last week. The team people love to hate just added a superstar point guard, with enough left over to get Dwight Howard from Orlando. Meet the new "Big 3" and say hello to some more Laker titles. Wait just a second.
The NBA's Grinch had other ideas. All the Whos down in Whoville were blindsided when Commissioner Ebenezer Stern called off the trade at the last second, citing "basketball reasons." Paul wouldn't be headed to L.A., or at least not the Lakers.
In an unprecedented move, Stern vetoed the deal, leaving the Lakers high-and-dry. Lamar Odom, part of the package to acquire Paul, felt slighted he was traded and wanted out. Odom has since been traded to the defending-champion Dallas Mavericks.
So instead of arguably the league's top point guard joining Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have lost the Sixth Man of the Year. Instead of an PlayStation3, the Lakers got some socks from Santa. And to top it off, they see their little brother, the Clippers, landed the PlayStation, aka Chris Paul, in a trade Commissioner Grinch deemed worthy.
While no one is going to feel sorry for the Lakers, let's not jump to the conclusion the Clippers have leap-frogged them for the city's best team. The Clippers are much-improved, and certainly will be one of the most exciting teams with Paul lobbing passes to Blake Griffin, but they are still the Clippers. Thirty years of futility isn't washed away with one trade. But it's a start, I guess.
Chris Paul wants you to know he "believes" in the Clippers. Maybe he can turn the Clippers' yearly fruitcake into a fine Christmas ham. We'll begin to find out right after we open our presents this year. The Clippers in contention? That would truly be a Christmas miracle.