Los Angeles, California will once again be in the spotlight when the NBA regular season tips off this year. However unlike in previous seasons, the city's historically less heralded NBA team the Clippers will be sharing the limelight right along with the Lakers. On December 14th, the Clippers traded Chis Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon, and a first round draft pick to the New Orleans Hornets for All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
The blockbuster trade instantly gives the Clippers the star player they needed to take their franchise to the next level and gives the NBA a second nationally prominent team in the massive media market that is Los Angeles.
Even before the trade, the Clippers appeared to be headed in the right direction. Thanks to power forward Blake Griffin's Rookie of the Year season, the team saw their attendance numbers jump from an average of 16,344 fans per game to 17,742 fans per game. Gaining league-wide acclaim for his rim-rattling dunks and domineering physicality, Griffin became the first rookie to make the All-Star team in twenty years.
Paul's arrival in Los Angeles will have a dramatic effect for the Clippers that will hopefully extend from the court to the box office. In the matter of a week, LA Clippers tickets skyrocketed from position 15 in overall NBA ticket sales, to position 4 on Vivid Seats' marketplace. While it's unlikely that the Lakers experience any attendance decrease due to the Clippers' good fortune, the "Chris Paul Effect" should keep the Staples Center packed to capacity this season regardless of which NBA team is in town.
Since he entered the league six years ago, Chris Paul has been one of the NBA's most exciting players. The four-time All-Star and Olympic Gold Medal winner led the Hornets to three playoff appearances during his time in New Orleans and led the NBA in assists and steals in multiple seasons.
This month, the Clippers also claimed five-time All-Star guard Chauncey Billups off waivers and signed proven scorer Caron Butler to a three-year deal. While it may take some time for the team gel, the Clippers now have a very impressive starting five in Paul, Griffin, Billups, Butler, and center DeAndre Jordan.
For the better part of the past three decades, the Los Angeles Clippers have toiled in the shadow of the Lakers. The Clippers have only made the playoffs four times since moving to LA from San Diego in 1984, managing a winning record only twice in 27 seasons. However, with the talented twosome of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin wearing Red, Royal Blue, and White, the franchise finally has a real opportunity to compete with the NBA's elite.
The Clippers will play their first home game with Chris Paul on December 30th against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. Purchase your Clippers tickets today to see CP3 in action at the Staples Center!