HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In what has to be the one and only lock of the NBA’s crazy season (also known as free agency), Chris Paul is reportedly forgoing the formal recruiting process and sticking with the Los Angeles Clippers.
This is a move, first reported ESPN’s Chris Brousssard, that was all but cemented the moment the Clippers hired Doc Rivers away from the Boston Celtics and moved him into position as their head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations earlier this week.
One of the top two players on the free agent market this summer, along with Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Paul won’t bother flirting with the other teams that planned to pursue him and will instead end the process before it gets started.
Kudos to Paul for handling his business in this manner. He could have turned his decision-making process into a complete circus and made the rounds, just because he could. But why go through all of that when you know exactly what you want to do? Rivers and Paul together gives the Clippers an ideal nucleus for whatever championship ambitions they have for the foreseeable future.
And his quick commitment this summer sends a message to whoever else the Clippers pursue now and in the future, that Paul is a firm believer in the plan and serious about winning at the highest level with the organization.
What the Clippers do with Pau’s backup, however, remains to be seen. With the Toronto Raptors and others reportedly in hot pursuit of Eric Bledsoe, Rivers and the rest of the Clippers’ brain trust will have to decide if moving him now in a package that allows them to strengthen the roster with perhaps an experienced shooting guard is more beneficial than Bledsoe spending another year backing Paul up before he becomes the object of free agent affection in the summer of 2014.
The most important business, though, appears to be complete with Paul’s camp letting it be known that he intends to stick with the Clippers long-term.