"I don't want to go 'Ring - CHASING', as I call it, you know. Going to a team that's already pretty established and trying to win a ring with them. I want to stay with the Cavs and build a champion." - LeBron James
Last year at this time about Darren Collison, I wrote this:
Big fan of Collison. He's like Chris Duhon except with a mid range game and the ability to recognise when to shoot. And Chris Duhon with those things added to his game would be a fine player.
Turns out he was even better than that. Duhon's career has been peppered by games in which he plays outrageously well, mired amongst weeks of mediocrity. Those are called, by me at least, "Duhon Games." Collison's rookie season was made up solely of Duhon games. It was a beautiful thing.
But don't be mistaken. Collison's awesome rookie season does not make Chris Paul available for trade. The only way Chris Paul gets traded is if Chris Paul demands it. And if the Hornets succumb to that pressure before they do everything possible to better the team - which includes, but is not limited to, getting value for that Peja Stojakovic expiring - then they should be ashamed. Darren Collison is good, but Chris Paul is an all-time calibre point guard. You don't trade all-time calibre point guards just to move Emeka Okafor.
Indiana is middle of the pack in terms of team points per game, yet they shoot only 43.2 percent as a team, 5th worst in the league. This is due to a lack of creative ability in the half-court offense. In spite of the promising start to his career, Darren Collison has rather tapered off since his trade to Indiana, a very solid player who just doesn’t have the talent level to take a team far as a lead guard. (The new Jarrett Jack, if you will.) George Hill similarly thrives in a bench contributor/spot starter role, but he too doesn’t have the ability to lead an elite half-court offense. And Danny Granger’s shot-creation ability is limited to just taking them. Indiana have a lot going for them, and two good options at every position. Since Collison is struggling to be it, the Pacers could use a calibre half-court point guard.
Matt Barnes & Darren Collison – Los Angeles Clippers
The two are listed together as they were both acquired via the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. On his first substantial multi-year contract, Barnes will earn $3.25 million next year with one further guaranteed year, while Collison gets the remaining $1.9 million.
Collison comes from Dallas where he was somewhat exposed as an average player. Given the opportunity to lead a team, especially down the stretch of games, he couldn’t. Collison added some dynamics to the position, as well as capable scoring, defense and drive-and-kick abilities, but he was asked to prove he could be a full time point guard, and all he proved is that he wasn’t. However, that doesn’t matter on the team that has Chris Paul. In L.A, all Collison needs to do is come in and be the perfectly average player that he is. He will be getting paid less to do this than players in comparable situations who have proven less (Eric Maynor, J.J. Barea, C.J. Watson), and could theoretically fill a Jarrett Jack-like role for a third of the price of Jarrett Jack.
Meanwhile, Barnes finally gets some overdue recognition, and will provide production on both ends in a way that the team’s other wings lack. His athleticism, disruptive defense, sufficient shooting and off-the-ball movement are surely perfect compliments to the Clippers roster, and they come at a very competitive price. Rather than using their MLE to sign one quality bench contributor, then, the Clippers used theirs to sign two. And that just doesn’t happen very often.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.