WATERCOOLER CHAT: PAUL TO CLIPPERS, LAKERS HEADED DOWNHILL, GRAHAM TEXT MESSAGES ABOUT JOB

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the major news of the day was centered around none other than Chris Paul.  And finally, Paul was able to get out of New Orleans.  Was he headed to Los Angeles?  Yes.  But… not the Lakers.  For the first time in what seems like forever (and possibly ever), the Los Angeles Clippers brought in a big name star instead of their big brother Lakers.  In fact, with Paul, on paper, you could argue that the Clippers now have a better young nucleus.  They had to ship Eric Gordon to New Orleans, a move they dreaded making, but a team made up of superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, with supporting players like DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler around — they might be even better than the Lakers.  This is a huge move for the Clippers, making a big statement to their fan base that they are finally trying to win.  Those that have stuck with a horrible Clippers franchise for over 20 years might actually have hope that their team could make some noise in the playoffs.

The Lakers, on the other hand, look like they’re headed downhill.  They were forced to trade Lamar Odom to Dallas after he demanded to be sent out of town after being insulted that they would ship him off without talking to him first.  Pau is also feeling slighted for being included in the first Chris Paul trade attempt, Andrew Bynum is injury-prone, and Kobe Bryant, well, he’s getting older.  Plus, Kobe is definitely seething that the Lakers couldn’t finalize the Chris Paul deal.  And, to top it all off with a bitter cherry, it looks like Dwight Howard isn’t going anywhere.  According to the Magic, there was nothing worthwhile on the table that would merit trading Howard.  He’ll stay in Orlando this season, and have to make the most of what’s down there.  They don’t have a shot at a title, but he can continue to dazzle the crowd.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in college football, this time of year is always frustrating for teams.  Even if they’re headed to a bowl game, their coaches don’t always go with them.  And at Pitt, this is exactly the case.  They have a Compass Bowl date with SMU, but it looks like their coach Todd Graham won’t be making the trip.  After just one year as head coach of the Panthers, Graham is bolting for Arizona State — a much cushier job, in better weather, and with a brighter future.  Pitt was set to move to the ACC where they will have a tough time adjusting, and Graham said that the Arizona State job just felt like a better fit.  But… here’s the thing:  Graham told his players about it… via text message.  And that didn’t exactly sit right.  A few players tweeted derisive stuff about Graham saying their coach was a fake and without loyalty, but such is the business of college football. However, Graham may face some karma, as the Sun Devils expect a great season right away.  If he fails, he might be looking for another job very soon.

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