How quickly we forget.
Chris Paul is going to stay in Los Angeles, right? That’s what all the rumblings say. He lives in L.A. His family likes it there. He won’t be able to find a roster better suited for him. That’s all part of the logic going into the conventional wisdom that Paul is all but signed to a long-term deal with the Clippers.
It makes sense. All of that information is true. Paul does like Los Angeles. So does his family. And is he really going to find a better running mate than Blake Griffin?
But historical patterns are patterns for a reason. They don’t happen just once and decision makers have to learn from the past. So before the Clippers trade away Eric Bledsoe for an offensive-minded small forward or a big man than can create better spacing, let’s remember Elton Brand.
Brand was a Clipper for seven years. He was the heartbeat of the franchise, someone who the Clippers were willing to overpay because he was worth it to them. He would team up with Baron Davis and the Clips would be a force in the West.
How hilarious does that idea sound now? That was the dream for Clipper fans then, but like most Clipper dreams, it stayed a fantasy.
After so much hope (and a reported handshake deal to stay in L.A.), Brand bolted for Philadelphia, leaving the Clippers with a future that included a malcontent Davis and a string of 50-loss seasons.
Brand isn’t a bad guy. Neither is Paul. In fact, Paul is the polar opposite of that. He’s a wonderful teammate and one of the smarter players and people in the NBA. But he’s also a human being and human beings change their minds (see: Elton Brand). And because of that, the Clippers absolutely can’t trade away their one safety net: Eric Bledsoe.