Skip Bayless: Chris Paul Is No Superstar

This discussion, from ESPN2’s First Take was an outgrowth of the April 17th broadcast of ESPN Films’ The Bad Boys, presented as part of the 30-For-30 series. What preceded this was a discussion, moderated by Cari Champion, between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith comparing NBA players of today to those of yesteryear.

When Smith mentioned that Chris Paul was a superstar, the fireworks began.

A strong opinion in two parts.
Part 1: Audio Only
Part 2: Audio/Video

Melo for Griffin? Take Two Aspirin And Call Me In The Morning

OK. OK. Some of my “patients” have been calling me.
So, Dr. Mike is here.

Check social media sites and you’ll find Knick and Clipper fans battling over the latest rumor of a Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin trade. Never lacking an opinion, here’s mine.

This is the silliest trade rumor that has been floating around for more than two weeks and it started in the New York Knicks organization that is desperate to solve the problem that is Carmelo Anthony.

Relying on a years old declaration that CP3 (a/k/a Chris Paul) and Melo want to “team up” a la the Heatles, someone in the Knicks organization planted the seed that the Knicks and the Clippers were talking a trade between the two teams with Carmelo going to the Clippers and Griffin going to the Knicks. Where they made their first mistake was adding in that the Knicks, pie-eyed dreamers that they are, also wanted a first-round draft pick in addition to Griffin for Melo. That, in and of itself, is ridiculous.

Their second mistake is that Blake Griffin is still an improving player and box office for the Los Angeles Clippers. Griffin has gotten better with each successive season. Once again this season, Griffin is averaging a double-double.

Mistake #3: People who think all Blake does is dunk obviously don’t watch the Clippers on a regular basis. Blake is a decent ball-handler and the mid-range shot and perimeter shot that people have been wanting him to develop HAS been developing and used on a regular basis this season. People love to compare Griffin to Kevin Love and compare their production. What is never mentioned in those comparisons is Love is two years senior in league experience despite only being six months apart in age. Don’t people think those two years count for anything?

Mistake #4: As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, Chris Paul, while playing well, is not playing to the same level as he’s played in prior seasons. People who only look at stats and don’t look at games won’t necessarily realize that. However, situationally, Paul’s shooting from the field and from the free throw line has been poorer than previously.

Mistake #5: The popular perception among NBA reporters is that Clippers’ owner Donald T. Sterling embarrassed Doc Rivers in second-guessing Rivers on trading away Eric Bledsoe. A la David Stern, Sterling was prepared to veto the Bledsoe trade but was talked out of it. Bledsoe was a favored player of Sterling’s and a popular player with Clippers’ fans. Bledsoe’s subsequent production doesn’t exactly make Sterling look like an idiot.

Griffin is another of Sterling’s favorites, more popular with Sterling than CP3, and in my opinion, would not be easily convinced to sign-off on a trade for Anthony who is not popular with Clipper fans and who, like Paul, has not proved himself capable of winning anything and certainly has little or no upside.

When you add in the recent shoulder injury to Chris Paul that should keep him out, at least, until the All-Star hiatus, all of this signals…


While I’m at it, let me point out that Paul has a tendency to rush himself back into the lineup post-injury; so that’s another thing to look for as we monitor this situation going forward.

I was asked if I thought this was a ploy by the Knicks organization to solve their Melo problem.

Of course it is. Melo announced to his team and his fan base at the beginning of the season that he was looking forward to free agency.

What does that signal to the fans, who’ve been suffering for forty [40] years?
What does that signal to management, who spent $1Billion [with a B] dollars renovating its arena to compete with Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets? A Management who performs like The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. (Remember Allan Houston?)

People keep viewing the Clippers in the same fashion as those days when Sterling and Elgin Baylor used to run things and Sterling just made money. These aren’t those Clippers. They have basketball people running the operation and Sterling is still making money AND his team is popular.

And so it goes.

Ciao for now!

Bledsoe for Starting PG

My name is Mike Murray and I approved this message.

I love Chris Paul and, of course, I’d like him to re-sign. However, I’m not willing to have Chauncey Billups on board for another two years. I think Chauncey is a cool dude, but his play doesn’t warrant two more years. He’s played 42 out of 148 games since signing with the Clippers. Compare that to Eric Bledsoe who, while also injured, played 116 of 148.

Assuming Vinny Del Negro doesn’t return, Bledsoe should blossom under a new coach. If CP3 were willing to play alongside Bledsoe (instead of Billups), I wouldn’t have a problem. However, CP3 seems hell-bent on getting rid of Bledsoe and playing alongside Billups.

One only has to look at the Brooklyn Nets and ask themselves is it worth $21 million annually to have a diva PG. Veterans are OK and necessary. However, veterans need to produce and not be hanging around to provide comfort and solace to a veteran PG.

Paul’s post-series press conference and exit interview were understandable in one respect. However, he is not beyond responsibility for how the season turned out. If he wants to go somewhere else where he thinks he can “win”, then he should go ahead and go there. I’m pretty proficient with travel arrangements; I can help him out.

I know almost everyone will disagree, but I need to see more from Paul before I’ll feel comfortable about his continued presence.

And so it goes.

Ciao for now!

Intra-City Blues

NEW YORK ( — I’ve spent a good part of the day bouncing around between sports radio in New York and sports radio in Los Angeles listening to the fussing and feuding of sports fans of intra-city rivalries in both cities.

In New York, the dismal performance of both NFL teams have set up a do-or-die NFL contest this coming Saturday, Christmas Eve, at MetLife Stadium. For fans of the New York Jets and the New York Giants, one will get a good Christmas present; the other will get a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the machinations of the National Basketball Association have placed Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler in the locker room of the Los Angeles Clippers, Lamar Odom in Dallas and the fans of the Los Angeles Lakers in a schizophrenic funk.

It’s just the latest example of how sometimes we take our sports just a little too fanatically.

The most hilarious comments of the day have come out of L.A. where I’ve been listening to Laker fans on ESPN Los Angeles (KSPN 710) going positively hysterical because Clipper fans are boasting that they have the better team in town. LakerNation has been pulling out all the stops talking about 16 years of championships and the championship banners and so on. While all of that is true, the vast majority of the Clippers’ players haven’t been around to witness any of that. In other words, it’s history. As Chris Paul alluded to last Friday, this current brand of Clippers is looking to make its own history.

You have to start somewhere.

In New York, both local football teams were dismal on Sunday and now both are fighting for their playoff lives. The reality, though, is despite whomever wins on Saturday, probably neither team will go very far in the playoffs, if they even qualify.

However, that won’t stop the fans of the Giants or the fans of the Jets warring over which is the better football team this Saturday and beyond. Just like whatever happens in tonight’s preseason contest in Staples Center won’t stop fans of the Lakers or fans of the Clippers from having the same discussion.

To quote a comedian of some note…

…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And so it goes.