A deeper look at Chris Paul’s recent ‘trade me’ tantrum.
by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
I’ve been trying as hard as I could to not be the guy to write a column on Chris Paul and his newfound desire to leave New Orleans; but I couldn’t help it.
I know that it’s newsworthy and all, and people have asked me why this situation isn’t being as hotly discussed and debated as the one that transpired down in Miami a little over two weeks ago. My only answer to that question is this: Nobody really cares about CP3 and what he wants to do or where he wants to go. Especially when he’s already under contract and there’s little to no doubt in anyone’s mind who’s behind this entire situation anyway. It’s sort of makes his trade demands into a joke.
Look, it’s not like I don’t disagree with his decision to want out (even though he did just re-up). It’s not like the Hornets organization has done a whole lot toward building a contender in the Big Easy during his time there. That claim doesn’t hold true in other places, but in New Orleans, it fits. Add that to their recent front office situations and the apparent incompetence of ownership (that might put the team up for sale on Craigslist), it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
So yeah, CP3 has a legitimate gripe about wanting to go elsewhere. The only difference between his situation and one similar is that we at least “know” the team is a mess because it’s been played out publicly in front of us (beforehand, not after) and we can also tell by viewing the product on the floor. So in that regard, CP3 gets a little more sympathy than someone else would. But where it all changes is the manner in which he’s gone about this.
Chris Paul in his five years in the NBA has come to be known as one of the fiercest (and sometimes dirtiest) competitors on the court, and yet, one of the nicest guys off it. So it sort of seems out of character for him to say not too long ago how much he loves and appreciates New Orleans and their fans, and then a short time later turns around and basically tries to strong-arm his way out of town. The way the picture is being painted in the media, he would like to be moved before the start of training camp and he’s compiled a list of places he’d like to go.
The problem with all of this is that Chris Paul has no leverage.
He’s under contract and being paid a ridiculous amount of money for two more seasons (until his player option kicks in) and he’s coming off knee surgery to boot. That’s a tough situation to be in even for an All-Star PG of his caliber. The only thing he can really do at this point is what he’s already done so far. Stand in a corner, pouting, with his arms folded while mean mugging the Hornets front office, hoping that’s convincing enough for them to succumb to his trade demands.
The only thing working in his favor is that the Hornets might just be dumb enough to actually do it.
But where is all of this coming from? How does a person go from being a nice guy to an a-hole seemingly overnight? Well, I guess when you ride with the “4 Horsemen” that kind of stuff happens.
Just hours before LeBron James made the decision to take his talents to South Beach, it was reported that Chris Paul had joined LRMR, the marketing company owned by James and run by his buddy Maverick Carter. This move ended his five-year relationship with Octagon and entered him into a new relationship with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) which also represents LeBron, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and surprise, surprise, those who like the aforementioned players, specialize in “drama,” meaning famous Hollywood actors and actresses.
So the same people who brought you “The Decision” and all the crap that came with it are now behind the “Free CP3” movement.
A writer friend of mine down south who’s very familiar with the Hornets situation had this to say when I asked him about the goings on in the NO. “[Chris Paul] is a follower, especially when it comes to LeBron James. Whenever those two are in the same place, you always see him running behind LeBron wherever he goes. [Paul] is a good kid but the bad thing is he’s a follower, following another follower. It’s like one blind person trying to lead another blind person across I-10. It won’t end well.”
Chris Paul wants what LeBron James has now; a chance to play with another great player or two, all in the name of winning a championship and it looks like the first order of business for LRMR and their new “client” is to make that happen with the only differences being he’s at the mercy of his current team and if they do trade him, the fallout won’t be nearly as bad as the fallout from LeBron’s exodus from Cleveland. So they’ve at least got that going for them.
The people of New Orleans know their team is bad and CP3 isn’t a native son so the sting—pardon the pun—of him leaving won’t be as bad.
But Chris Paul will not escape unscathed.
While people will understand his frustration with the organization, and they will also understand that he wants to compete for a championship, there is still a way to go about things and this isn’t it. He’s certainly going to take a PR hit behind all of this and it goes without saying that the similarities between this and the one in Cleveland are all there. All you have to do is look.
Unfortunately, what I’ve learned over the past two weeks is this: people only see what they want to see.