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BREAKING NEWS: Paul to the Clippers Agreed to in Principle

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A few moments ago, Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted the following:

ESPN sources: Clippers and NBA-owned Hornets have agreed to Chris Paul deal in principle. Gordon, Kaman, Aminu and Minnesota pick to Hornets

and

ESPN sources say NBA approval to be issued by night's end to seal CP3 and 2 future 2nd-rounders to Clips for Gordon/Kaman/Aminu/Sota first

and

ESPN sources say NBA approval to be issued by night's end to seal CP3 and 2 future 2nd-rounders to Clips for Gordon/Kaman/Aminu/Sota first

After supposedly refusing to include both Gordon and Minnesota's unprotected first round pick in the deal for several days, according to Stein the trade is now agreed to with both of them included. Bledsoe is the piece that has been removed; which makes some sense as the Clippers have certainly been high on Bledsoe.

Let me be clear up front on this: I believe this is a great deal for the Clippers. Chris Paul is 26 and the best point guard in the NBA. You just don't get many chances to acquire superstars in their prime, and when you do you have to make it happen.

The question for me isn't whether the Clippers overpaid in a vacuum: it's whether they paid more than they needed to in order to get the deal done. The Clippers seemingly had all the leverage in this situation, and yet in the end it is LA who blinked (unless you consider retaining Bledsoe and getting a couple of second rounders a major coup).

As my earlier post illustrates, this trade does help the Clippers some as regards the salary cap and the luxury tax. With both Paul and an extended Eric Gordon, the Clippers would have been butting up against the salary cap beginning next season and for the foreseeable future. This way? They've got a little breathing room.

Of course, it's not over until it's over, and this is the third time since last Thursday that a deal for Chris Paul has been more or less announced. The first two never made it to fruition - we'll see if this one does. One thing we can say though - with the haul they're getting, it seems unlikely that it will be the Hornets/NBA backing out of this one.