One of the first auditory memories I have about the Chris Paul trade and this new era of Clippers is D.J. Foster consoling distraught fans about letting Eric Gordon go in the deal. Sure, the premier point guard in the league is always a deal you make if it’s available, but the Clippers were supposed to navigate their rise to elite status with a Paul-Gordon tandem in the backcourt; playmaking and shot-creating dynamism married to two sub-28 year old athletes. The backcourt was supposed to carry the load and Blake Griffin would get the opportunity to build off his stellar rookie campaign without the burden of a team on him.
But E.J. was gone and there was a considerable amount of ambivalence in Clipper Nation. Hindsight is 20-20 and no one regrets the deal now, but I remember what helped me swallow that bitter pill in December 2011: “…watch Chris Paul play; everything’s gonna go away. I promise.“