NBA.com staff reports
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When we last left the Chris Paul-to-wherever saga, one team had been officially ruled out: the L.A. Lakers. Per our man David Aldridge early Sunday morning, the Lakers stunningly got out of the CP3 sweepstakes and instead made a move that shook up their championship core: dealing Lamar Odom to the defending-champion (and, as of last season’s playoffs, Lakers-ousting) Mavericks. (It wasn’t a deal that exactly excited Kobe Bryant about the 2011-12 campaign, that’s for sure.)
Per D.A., the Celtics and Clippers were possibly next in line after Paul, but no one knew for sure. Then, we wake up Monday morning as a fresh week of free agency-palooza begins and read that L.A.’s ‘other’ squad has been working frantically to get the four-time All-Star Paul into the red, white and blue of Clipperland. According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the framework for a (new) Paul-to-L.A. (Clippers) deal may be close:
The Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets were working vigorously Sunday night to consummate a blockbuster deal that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers’ cross-town rivals, said two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak on the matter.
The deal hasn’t been completed, but both sides were in the closing stages of the negotiations.
The Clippers would send the Hornets center Chris Kaman, backup second-year guard Eric Bledsoe, second-year forward Al-Farouq Aminu and the No. 1 draft pick they got from the Minnesota Timberwolves that is unprotected in the 2012 draft, considered to be one of the best in recent years.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the NBA have to sign off on the deal.
A package from the Lakers for Paul was turned down by the league.
The NBA will probably review the Clippers deal Monday.
The Clippers were in the running for Paul last week, but talks stalled because the Clips balked whenever rising shooting guard Eric Gordon was included in any deal for Paul. Paul wanted to be on a team that, if it acquired him, had enough talent to contend in the future. According to SI.com’s Sam Amick, one player in this proposed deal may already be looking for real estate in New Orleans:
Two sources told SI.com early Sunday that the Clippers and Hornets had re-engaged in discussions, and a source close to Clippers second-year guard Eric Bledsoe said late Sunday night that he was under the impression a deal had been agreed upon and that he would likely be traded to the Hornets.
When reached by phone late Sunday and asked if an agreement in principle had been reached, Clippers president Andy Roeser declined comment to SI.com.
In another wrinkle to the story, ESPN.com’s tandem of Chris Broussard and Marc Stein report that the deal was sent to the league office on Sunday with a hitch regarding Bledsoe’s role in it:
The New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers submitted a multiplayer blockbuster deal to the NBA on Sunday that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles, a source with knowledge of the discussions said Monday.
But the trade as presented has one hitch: The league, which owns the Hornets, wanted Eric Bledsoe, while the Clippers want to keep their point guard, the source said.
The deal would be done if the league hadn’t asked for Bledsoe, according to the source.
The trade as submitted would cost the Clippers guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman and forward Al-Farouq Aminu. It would also include Minnesota’s first-round draft pick in 2012.
The Los Angeles Times, citing two sources familiar with the discussions, reported late Sunday the deal included Bledsoe, but the source told ESPN that is not so.
While the Clips are trying to hammer this deal out (whatever it looks like) and get Paul to L.A., they have another issue to address — center DeAndre Jordan‘s reported four-year, $42.7 million offer sheet with the Warriors, which they have three days to decide to match. Amick explains what the Clippers’ next moves might look like:
After seeing center Tyson Chandlersign with New York this week, the Warriors went after Jordan, banking on his athleticism and potential to improve upon his seven points and seven rebounds per game last season.
In order to free salary-cap room for the Jordan offer, the Warriors used their amnesty clause on veteran guard Charlie Bell and rescinded a qualifying offer to guard/forward Reggie Williams. Sources had confirmed that the Clippers gave Jordan a five-year, $40 million offer recently, and they will now have three days to match the Warriors’ offer.
One source close to the Paul situation predicted the Clippers would match, noting that Jordan is a vital piece to their young core.
The Hornets seemed focused solely on the Clippers after the second trade attempt with the Lakers fell through. Sources said Golden State had not re-engaged in the discussions for Paul in any meaningful way. Boston was also among the teams pushing hard for Paul, but one of the principles of a Celtics proposal — forward Jeff Green — was signed to a one-year, $9 million deal on Saturday and cannot be traded by Boston for six months.
As we’ve all seen the last few days, these trade talks for CP3 can go any which way. We’ll be interested to see how this one ends up. Yet with CP3 on the Clippers’ radar and All-Star center Dwight Howard on the Nets’, times may soon be a-changing for two of the NBA’s struggling franchises.
As our own John Schuhmann points out, the Clippers (.362) and Nets (.418) are the two worst franchises of the 23 that have been around since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. Now, the best center in the league and (arguably) the best point guard want to be traded to them.