The reaction of Clips Nation to the trade that brought a four time All Star and three time All NBA selection to the Los Angeles Clippers has been surprisingly mixed. Many citizens are less than jubilant. That's OK. You become attached to the players on a team and it's disquieting when suddenly they're gone. Besides, it's more than a little strange to think that the team we were rooting for two seasons ago is now scattered to the four winds, except for DeAndre Jordan and a draft pick named Blake Griffin who didn't even play that season. Come on, Neil Olshey, bring back Craig Smith so we'll have another familiar face on the team. Maybe we need to bring in MBFGC to get in touch with Clipper history a bit.
The other side of that coin is that now many of us have a new NBA team to root for: the New Orleans Hornets. Now, the old-timers here know that the Suns have always been my mistress team. I was a huge fan when I lived in Phoenix in the late 80s, and it hasn't hurt that Steve Nash has been there in recent years. But Nash is nearing retirement, and could very well be ending his career elsewhere. Not to mention that the Suns are in serious decline right now. So it's not a bad time for me personally to be looking for a new team.
The Hornets don't figure to be good this season - but I'll certainly be following them with great interest, cheering for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu. It's funny - I'd love for Kyrie Irving to be a bust, and for the Timberwolves (another candidate for second favorite team this season) to do well, just to dull the sting of everything the Clippers have given up in recent trades. But I can't possibly find it in me to root against the actual players I've watched grow up as Clippers. Nothing would make me happier than for Gordon to have an All Star season, for Kaman to return to All Star form and for Farouq to have a break out year.
Unfortunately, small market New Orleans isn't on TV a whole lot this season (one of the myriad reasons that a player like Chris Paul might want to relocate to a different city). So far I've resisted buying League Pass - I already watch 82 Clipper games, and have access to 82 more Lakers games and a zillion other games on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA-TV - it's just excessive to pay for League Pass on top of all that. Besides - I like being married and hope to remain that way. But now I've got a team I actually want to see out there in the boondocks.
The good news for us LA-based Hornets fans is that we can still see at least a dozen games this season. Of course there are the three they play against the Clippers, and the three against the Lakers (although listening to Bill Macdonald and Stu Lance is going to be brutal). They have one game each on ESPN and TNT, so we're up to eight. They have seven more games on NBA-TV as well, but as it happens three of those are against the Lakers or the Clippers, so that only adds four more to our total. We won't have to wait long to catch the former Clippers on TV - New Orleans is on NBA-TV twice between Christmas and New Years.
Maybe I'll get lucky and I'll catch them a couple more times, on WGN against the Bulls or on YES against the Nets. I know I have access to those channels but I'm not sure how many games they show. (And FSM-forbid, I may not be able to watch that YES game in HD!) I guess a dozen or so New Orleans games will have to suffice.
Or maybe I'll break down and get League Pass. Go Hornets! (Oh, and while we're at it, Go T-Wolves!)