Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mariotti = FAIL

Less Money, Less Problem?

Will the combination of Baron Davis and Elton Brand lead to an NBA championship for the Los Angeles Clippers? Doubtful, considering the tough Western Conference -- not to mention it's the Clippers -- but the fact that Davis was willing to go to L.A. for less than a max deal says something we don't hear too often in sports:

That it really isn't about the money. Davis, who left $18.7 million on the table when he opted out of his contract with Golden State on Monday, will reportedly make $65 million over five years with the Clippers, and he'll team up with Brand. The combination of Brand and Davis, if they stay healthy, could catapult the Clippers from the 23-win team they were this past season to a team that could contend for a playoff spot.

Apparently, guys saw what the Celtics did this season after adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. So rather than follow the money -- which NBA stars always did in free agency in years past -- some veterans might instead choose to follow wins and potential championships.

And I gotta say, I like the move.

The Only Thing

New Orleans signing point guard Chris Paul to a long-term contract isn't just the right thing to do: it's the only thing to do. Considering Paul took a team that was struggling to even find a home and led the Hornets to within a game of the NBA Western Conference Finals speaks volumes to his talent and worth, and New Orleans is smart to lock him up.

If nothing else, the move potentially assures this season wasn't just a flash in the pan for the Hornets, as they'll have their catalyst a few years longer. There are those (myself included) who felt Paul deserved the MVP Award this past season, and there's nothing telling me he won't one day hoist that trophy -- not to mention the NBA title.

But for a city still struggling to find its way following Hurricane Katrina, Paul's signing has to give New Orleans something to cheer about. The fans embraced the Hornets much the same way they embraced the Saints two seasons ago when they made a run at the Super Bowl, so why not reward them by keeping the stars?

Chris Paul staying in New Orleans: a win-win scenario for everyone.

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