It's not exactly news in that it's completely expected, but we seem to have reached the point where the other potential suitors for Chris Paul have accepted the fact that he's not going anywhere. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy of course -- if no other teams pursue Paul, then he will of course stay with the Clippers. Which we knew he would all along. It's cyclic, see?
According to Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com (subscription required), the Mavericks, previously one of the teams expected to most aggressively pursue Paul, are taking a different tack and may be looking to trade for Rajon Rondo instead.
Previously, scenario No. 1 was Chris Paul. But Mavs officials tell me they are anticipating an official pronouncement from Paul that he's staying with the Clippers, thus saving potential suitors their time and effort there.
Writing about an official pronouncement from Paul on June 29, when Doc Rivers, Gary Sacks and Andy Roeser are going to be on Paul's doorstep on 12:01 AM EDT on July 1 (that is to say, in about 31 hours as I type this) with a nine-figure contract offer is a little silly; if Paul is going to make a pronouncement before free agency actually starts, he needs to hurry.
Few teams had any advantage over the Clippers in pursuing Paul. None could offer him as much money, none could match the market, none could reasonably offer him a better competitive situation. But Dallas could at least point to the owner and say "Wouldn't you rather play for Mark Cuban than play for Donald Sterling?" If the Mavericks are pushing back from the table, then there really aren't any other suitors.
This is all just an early confirmation of exactly what we fully expect to find out tomorrow night. That Paul is going to sign his Clippers extension and won't even bother to meet with the likes of the Mavericks or the Hawks.
By the way, now's as good a time as any to start setting some expectations about Paul's new contract. One of the big advantages for the Clippers is that Paul can sign for five seasons, a major factor for a 28 year old. He will in all likelihood sign a five year deal, BUT he will also probably have an early termination option somewhere around year three. The Clippers aren't likely to say no -- they've given him all the leverage since his arrival, and it's probably been the smart play. He does not in fact have a ton of leverage in this specific negotiation if other teams back out, but the Clippers have no intention of doing anything to anger him. Paul's a smart businessman, and an opt out just gives him more options -- if he can get it, why wouldn't he? The details of the contract may or may not leak during the moratorium from July 1 to July 10, but set your expectations now for an ETO, probably in 2016 when Doc's contract is done. Don't freak out when it happens -- Paul's a smart guy, and we should fully expect him to make the smart move.