10 Players the New Orleans Pelicans gave up on way too soon

New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul
New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

1. Chris Paul

Chris Paul is arguably the best player in franchise history. They drafted him fourth overall after their worst season since moving to New Orleans, and he immediately took over as the team’s starting point guard. He was an All-Star in his third season and had the then-Hornets in the second round of the playoffs. CP3 just kept improving, and he was one of the league’s best players by the time he left New Orleans in 2011.

There may be no stranger trade than CP3 leaving the team that drafted him. The NBA bought the Hornets from George Shinn in 2010, and it owned the franchise until Tom Benson purchased the team in 2012. The front office in New Orleans feared Paul would leave when he reached free agency, so the Pelicans traded him after the lockout ended in 2011. They had a deal in place with the Lakers, but NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed it, only to let CP3 be traded to the Clippers just four days later.

Paul went on to be an All-Star eight more times, and he has helped the Clippers, Rockets, and Phoenix Suns make playoff runs since leaving New Orleans. He will go down as one of the best point guards of this generation, and the Pelicans franchise gave up on him at 25 years old.

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