Clippers Get Paul from Hornets
[Update: The trade is now official.]
Multiple sources have the Los Angeles Clippers getting Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets for a package that include Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and the 2012 Minnesota first-round pick (unprotected). The Clippers are also said to be receiving two second-round picks.
While the league has not announced any official deal, sources say Gordon was notified and was visibly saddened by the news.
Another player named in the deal has indicated that it’s done barring a failed physical or something unexpected (a la the experience the Los Angeles Lakers went through last week).
If the deal indeed goes through as expected, sources were adamant recently that the Clippers would have claimed point guard Chauncey Billups from waivers whether they had acquired Paul or not.
Expect instead for the team to look for trade options for Mo Williams and/or run a small backcourt with Billups/Williams/Paul.
The Clippers, to date, were adamant that they would not send out Gordon in a deal with the Minnesota pick for Paul.
Clearly something changed in the equation, perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers trying to get back into the picture, but the Clippers retain guard Eric Bledsoe who was originally expected to be part of the package.
Of course now the Clippers have four point guards, once the deal becomes official, in Paul, Billups, Williams and Bledsoe.
To that end, expect the team to explore other options. After DeAndre Jordan, the team is also lacking a backup center.
The Clippers would have the option of using their Amnesty clause on Williams, but that does not appear to be likely.
Should Billups attempt not to report to the Clippers (which is not expected to be an issue), he would face suspension by the league that would not just impact the $2 million portion of his salary with the Clippers but the $12.2 million owed by the Knicks.
Yesterday the Clippers called Billups a “transcendent” player and Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said it would almost be considered malpractice if the team did not make a claim.
Olshey had indicated on Tuesday that one of team’s primary goals for summer was a long-term extension with Gordon. He said that now that the dust had settled on the roster (presumptive at the time in retrospect), he and Gordon’s agent Rob Pelinka would talk more extensively.
It would appear Pelinka was asking for more than the Clippers intended to play, which may have led to a reconsideration of their position.
Paul would reportedly opt in to the final year of his contract, keeping him a Clipper for one additional season beyond the current 66-game campaign.
At that point LA would have his Bird Rights and, if all goes to plan, the best offer for Paul to continue his career in Los Angeles.
Kaman, who had lost his starting job to DeAndre Jordan last year when Chris was injured, was hoping to be traded rather than share time with DJ.
Chris is going into the final year on his contract and will be paired with Emeka Okafor in New Orleans.
Aminu is a raw but talented young prospect. Gordon and the Minnesota pick is the true prize for the Hornets.
The Clippers initially acquired the pick from the Wolves via the Marko Jaric/Sam Cassell trade which helped catapult LA to the playoffs in 2006. Since then, protections had kicked in for Minnesota year after year until finally they ran out in 2012.
The Wolves have been one the worst teams in the league the past few years but perhaps with the arrival of Ricky Rubio and Coach Rick Adelman, it may decrease in value.
That likely had something to do with the Hornets’ insistence on Gordon and LA’s relenting. Given that the league initially wanted Bledsoe in the deal as well as other draft considerations, the Clippers gave in . . . but not as far as the league had wanted.
More as it develops . . .