Apparently that meeting that Chris Paul had with the Clippers yesterday— it was to tell them that he was going to sign with the Rockets in free agency. This enabled the two teams to work out a trade that was mutually beneficial for all parties. Paul is going to the Rockets after opting into his deal for next season, making him eligible for the super max next summer in free agency. The Rockets obviously get Paul, and at a cheaper rate (for one year, anyway) than they would have otherwise.
And finally, the Clippers get a package in return: Lou Williams, Pat Beverley, Sam Dekker, and a first round pick in 2018. Williams will probably be trade bait, Dekker is a nice young player to add to the Clippers’ burgeoning “core”, and Beverley is a question mark (he has two more years under contract at a great price). Considering who the Clippers are sending out, the package, while nice, is of small consolation.
Lob City is over in Los Angeles, and what this means for the futures of J.J. Redick (even less likely to return?) and Blake Griffin (more likely to return?), the Clippers’ other two big free agents, is yet unknown. More will appear on that front in the coming weeks, I’m sure.
Right now, it is hard to be anything other than stunned. Chris Paul was supposed to be the certainty to return due to his max contract rule that he himself wrote into the CBA, but it didn’t make a difference in the end. The Point God has moved on, and Clippers’ games are going to be almost unrecognizable without him at the helm.
Chris Paul is the definitive point guard of his generation, one of the best of all time, and it will be tough to watch him play in another team’s uniform. Even though he’s going to the Rockets, however, I will remain a fan of Paul, the player who brought the Clippers to unheard of heights of joy and success (and undiscovered depths of sadness, as well). He was the best player I’ve ever seen in a Clippers’ jersey, and we may not see his like again.
There will be a lot more to come on Paul and the aftermath of this trade in the next few days, so stay tuned.