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When Superstars Go To Cali… Part II

Is there something to learn about trades to California that makes the Betts trade stop hurting

When Superstars Go To Cali… Part II

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

And we’re back!

If you missed Part I of this emotional mess of an exercise, take a spin through here.

As a reminder, I’m distraught over the Red Sox trading Mookie Betts and so I looked at six trades involving superstars in their primes heading to a California team.

The point? I wanted to see the history of these moves and determine if I need to wear a blindfold during Dodgers highlights for the next 10 years.

In Part I, we looked at Gretzky to the Kings, Moss to the Raiders and Howard to the Lakers, and the results were pretty okay! I still wish we had Mookie, but these deals at least made it seem like we are not headed for a catastrophe from a Sox fan perspective.

Will it continue? Let’s find out…

Chris Paul to the LA Clippers


Paul before the trade (6 Seasons):

  • Rookie of the Year
  • 4 All Star Selections
  • 2 All NBA Teams
  • 3 All Defensive Teams
  • 3 Playoff appearances

Paul after the trade (8+ Seasons):

  • 6 All Star Selections
  • 5 All NBA Teams
  • 6 All Defensive Teams
  • 8 Playoff appearances (1 CF appearance)

New Orleans’ return:

  • Al-Farouq Aminu – 3 seasons, 2.4 VORP
  • Eric Gordon – 5 seasons, 1.7 VORP
  • Chris Kaman – 1 season, 0.2 VORP
  • 2012 1st round pick Austin Rivers (10th) – 3 seasons, -2.2 VORP

New Orleans after the trade:

  • 11-12 – Miss playoffs (but win lottery, Anthony Davis)
  • 12-13 – Miss playoffs
  • 13-14 – Miss playoffs (become Pelicans)
  • 14-15 – Swept in 1st round (GSW)
  • 15-16 – Miss playoffs

Just to clarify, this is the Chris Paul to LA trade that actually happened, not the other one. Chris Paul was really good before this trade and was really good after it. He’s also still really good. He had more playoff success after leaving New Orleans and probably would have made it to the Finals if he didn’t get hurt in 2018 vs. Golden State.

You could argue trading Paul let the Hornets stink enough to get the #1 pick and select Anthony Davis, but I am not gonna give that any credit here. Also, how did that work out?

With that in mind, the two big pieces of this deal (Gordon/Rivers) are huge disappointments, made even worse by Gordon (and to a lesser extent Rivers) becoming successful on their next teams.

If this is what we’re looking at with Betts and the Sox then I might finally try to learn the rules to cricket.

Marshall Faulk to the LA Rams (who were visiting St. Louis at the time)


Faulk before the trade (5 Seasons):

  • Rookie of the Year
  • 3 Pro Bowl Selections
  • 2 Playoff appearances

Faulk after the trade (7 Seasons):

  • 4 Pro Bowl Selections
  • 3 All Pro Selections
  • 1 MVP
  • 3 Offensive Player of the Year Awards
  • Super Bowl Champion
  • 5 Playoff appearances (2 SB appearances)

Indianapolis’ return:

  • Mike Peterson (LB) – 57 games, 54 starts, 467 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, 2 FR, 7 INT
  • Brad Scioli (DL) – 80 games, 27 starts, 134 tackles, 15 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR

Indianapolis after the trade:

  • 1999 – Lose Divisional Round (TEN)
  • 2000 – Lose in WC (MIA)
  • 2001 – Miss playoffs
  • 2002 – Lose in WC (NYJ)
  • 2003 – Lose in AFCCG (NE)

Marshall Faulk was very solid for the Colts. Marshall Faulk was a beast for the Rams, plain and simple. He was a main component for an offense so good it got a historical nickname (Greatest Show on Turf). Also, he won a Super Bowl and played in another (losing to the greatest coach and quarterback ever). He had a fantastic post-Colts career.

Indy gets 4 seasons of a starting LB and 6 seasons of a situational D-lineman. There’s value there, but not enough in my opinion for what they lost. Also from a team performance perspective, while they are successful, they are always coming up a bit short (usually to the greatest coach and quarterback ever).

It is important to note when the Colts made this trade they had the #4 pick in the draft and had confidence they were going to be able to pick Edgerrin James (who they did) or Ricky Williams.

This type of parachute is not going to be there for the Red Sox and this kind of seems to be the most likely situation. A really good player continues to be really good for a good team/organization who enjoys postseason success with their new player (and maybe win a championship), and even though your team does well, you still feel like this trade didn’t work out for you.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the LA Lakers


Abdul-Jabbar before the trade (6 Seasons):

  • 6 All Star Selections
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Finals MVP (71)
  • 3 MVP
  • 5 All NBA Teams
  • 4 All Defensive Teams
  • 1971 NBA Champion
  • 5 playoff appearances (2 Finals, 1 WCF finals)

Abdul-Jabbar after the trade (14 Seasons):

  • 13 All Star Selections
  • Finals MVP (85)
  • 3 MVP
  • 10 All NBA Teams
  • 7 All Defensive Teams
  • 80/82/85/87/88 NBA Champion
  • 14 Playoff appearances (8 Finals, 2 WCFs)

Milwaukee’s return:

  • Junior Bridgeman – 9 seasons, 6.7 VORP
  • Dave Meyers – 4 seasons, 3.1 VORP
  • Elmore Smith – 2 seasons, 2.3 VORP
  • Brian Winters – 7 seasons, 7.3 VORP, 2 All Star Selections

Milwaukee after the trade:

  • 75-76 – Lose in 1st round (DET)
  • 76-77 – Miss the playoffs
  • 77-78 – Lose in 2nd round (DEN)
  • 78-79 – Miss the playoffs
  • 79-80 – Lose in 2nd round (SEA)

This one kind of feels like masochism on my part, but let’s push through. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a top 5 NBA player of all-time and an absolute freak in terms of longevity. He was a really good Buck, he was a phenomenal Laker.

He led the Bucks to 2 Finals and won one championship. He went to the Finals 8 times with the Lakers and won five rings.

The players the Bucks got are all okay, with Winters making 2 All Star teams. But in looking at the performance of the team for the five years after the trade it seems like they were in that NBA No Man’s Land where the team isn’t a contender, but not bad enough to be in play for a top pick/franchise savior. They also have not been to the Finals since this trade.

What’s it like thinking about how this could look for the Betts deal? You know at the end of “The Departed” when Damon and DiCaprio are going down in the elevator and Damon says, “Just fucking kill me.” Yeah, that’s about where I am at with this one.

The takeaway?

In summary, it seems like we’re looking at a bit of a coin flip here of how it’s going to play out for Betts and for Red Sox fans. We could see Mookie’s peak was actually here in Boston a few years ago, his teams never win anything, and the Sox return to title contention.


Mookie Betts could continue a trajectory of being one of the best players ever, his teams win multiple titles and the Sox become the Milwaukee Bucks. And to be clear, a Bucks version where they just traded Giannis.

What’s the ideal outcome?

The Los Angeles Dodgers do not win the 2020 World Series. Mookie Betts has a long career that continues to be Hall of Fame-caliber. And he signs with the Boston Red Sox next winter.

But just in case, I ordered some crystals on Amazon.

Terry is from Massachusetts and is a passionate fan of the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. He also will admit he only pays attention to Syracuse basketball when they're good. If there's a Twitter trade rumor even remotely associated with one of his teams, he's likely fallen for it. Finally, he believes 100% that if the Celtics had beaten the Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals they would have swept the Thunder in the Finals.

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