chris paul & pau gasol

(Chris Paul scores on Pau Gasol in LA Clippers' 114-95 victory over LA Lakers on 12-19-11)

*The NBA’s week-long nightmare is over. Chris Paul was finally, mercifully sent from New Orleans to the Los Angeles Clippers, after a long, embarrassing back-and-forth. There was the aborted deal that would have sent Paul to the other L.A. team, the Lakers, followed by a few days of will-they-or-won’t-they with the Clippers. It was like a bad romantic comedy, with the best point guard in the world at its center.

Now that it’s over, though, we’re left with one absolute fact: boy, this will be fun.  It’s going to be an absolute blast to see Paul with the Clippers, the perennial also-rans of basketball. Hell, they’re the perennial also-rans of American professional sport. There’s no franchise more synonymous with pure ineptitude than the Clippers, who have packed a millennium’s worth of bad luck, bad injuries and bad management into a scant forty years of life (check out this column for a good summary).

RELATED: Clippers Beat Lakers 114-95 in Pre-Season Opener

Suddenly, they’re more than watchable. They’re captivating. The world’s greatest point guard teamed with the league’s most athletic freak in Blake Griffin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdmNu816Qvs&feature=fvst)? It’s going to be awesomely entertaining, above-the-rim basketball, filled with enough monster dunks, no-look-passes and alley-oops to fill Sportscenter‘s top-ten list for a generation.

Even better, it creates a crosstown rivalry with the Lakers, a team in transition with a new coach and an aging legend on creaky knees. It’ll be captivating theater every time the two meet. Kobe vs. Blake and CP3 – just what the NBA needs after this messy offseason.