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Chris Paul could still land in Los Angeles — with the Clippers

Dec 11, 2011, 9:59 AM EDT

chris-paul-looks-confused Getty Images

So now what for Chris Paul?

Small market owners got their wish — David Stern blew up the three-team deal that would have sent Paul to the Lakers and netted the Hornets a nice haul of players, and all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men could not put the deal together again. The Lakers are looking at ways to acquire Dwight Howard (a better fit for them) and not be as greedy to land two superstars.

With the Paul bidding open again, look for the old suitors to come to the front. That means the Boston Celtics and a package centered around Rajon Rondo, and the Golden State Warriors (who would not put Stephen Curry in a proposal.

And don’t forget about the Clippers, said Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

Previous discussions stalled when the Clippers refused to include sharpshooter Eric Gordon in the deal, and the leverage New Orleans had to hold out for a better offer is now gone — ironically, killed by the league’s refusal to approve the original deal that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers and the subsequent collapse of the talks to revise the deal. But when a team trying to trade its franchise player is owned by the league, leverage is in the eyes of the beholder. What if commissioner David Stern insists on Gordon, other young pieces or even Minnesota’s unprotected No. 1 pick held by the Clippers be included in the deal?

Of all the trade chips out there, there may be none more valuable than Minnesota’s unprotected first round pick this year heading into the deepest draft in a while. For a rebuilding team — and the Hornets without CP3 are a rebuilding team — that is invaluable. The Clippers last offer also included second-year point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. Gordon may again be the sticking point.

Other teams may try to jump in as well, but the Clippers have a legitimate shot at brining Chris Paul to Los Angeles. And it’s pretty easy to imagine Paul throwing up lobs to Blake Griffin. Real easy.

Just one big problem — would Chris Paul sign an extension with the Clippers? Would he trust the prime of his career to owner Donald Sterling? Would he sign an extension with Golden State? He has said he would not re-sign with Boston, could he be made to change his mind? Teams are not going to take the risk without word from Paul, they are not going to give up all those assets on a hope.

  1. leearmon - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Im interested in seeing what the Clippers offer. WIll Stern sign off on a trade that includes Jordan and his $40 million contract, because the Clips will have to match. Or will it just be a poo-poo platter of Aminu, Bledsoe and a 1st round pick? Considering the 3-team deal was going to result in 2 starters, 6th man of the year, back up PG and a 1st rd pick. Its hard understanding the logic in regards to this entire scenario. Such a shame. And people wonder why the NFL is king in this country. In 2 days the NBA has made a joke of itself, while MLB still can’t get itself away from their PED scandals.

  2. jmclarkent - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Though the team has some nice talent (CP, Gordon, Butler, Griffin and Kaman would be a formidable starting 5) and a few great trade pieces, who would want to play for Donald Sterling?

    • metalhead65 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      as long as they get thier money players will play for anybody who signs the check. I want to see chris paul turn down the max deal and the 40 million more he can get by resigning with the clippers because he does not like sterling.

      • chuckj1234 - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:04 PM

        No one likes Sterling. They could get Howard, Paul and Labron, and still not make the playoffs. They are snake bit!!! And it IS sterling the slum lord. I HATE him!!!11

  3. bparmalee - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    As long as the deal from the Clippers includes that Twolves unprotected pick its a win. Thats going to be a top 5 pick in a really deep draft. I dont think they should be holding out for Eric Gordon mainly because they wont be able to resign him anyways when his deal comes up here shortly. At some point the Hornets and the league are just going to have to take what they can get.

  4. 973yenots - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    I’m tired of this soap opra sh.t! Go to the clippers and sign the damn extentsion. I thought this was a man’s game? They make all this damn money and they still find something to cry about! ” I wanna play here or I wanna play there! RICH BASTARDS!!!!!

  5. httr73 - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    If I’m CP3, I simply say I’m not signing an extension with anyone except LA. If you keep me or trade me to anyone but the Lakers, I’ll just play out the year and sign with them next year as a free agent. I would make sure the was very publicly known. By doing so, nobody will trade with the Hornets and David ends up with nothing in return. This would put Stern in a position of having to say he would rather get nothing in return than trade CP 7 months before he becomes a Laker anyway.

  6. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    If Stern allows him to be traded anywhere after nixing the deal with the Lakers he will officially be a bigger joke of a commissioner than Selig and Bettman combined

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    All this talk about the wonderful Minnesota unprotected pick in this year’s draft, wouldn’t it be ironic if they finish just out of the playoffs in this unpredictable 66 game season? Maybe a team as young as the T-Wolves will be better with a shorter season? I personally think it would be great if this is a pick assumed to be in the top 5 and it is like 12th instead.

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