LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 25: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sets up to make a move to the basket against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during the NBA game at Staples Center on December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Heat defeated the Lakers 96-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kobe Bryant; LeBron James
The Clippers projected to be able to offer Chris Paul a five-year, $201 contract that would have culminated with a $46 million salary in his final season.
Did they offer that much before sending him to the Rockets?
Just as one side is trying to pin all the Clippers’ problems on Doc Rivers and Austin Rivers, the Clippers surely want to spin Paul’s exit to another way – that they shrewdly chose when to part ways rather than that they lost the best player in franchise history due to nepotism.
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
If Paul really wanted that five-year max, he could have pushed harder for it by bringing counter offers to the Clippers in July rather than engineering his way to Houston before free agency even began.
Would the Clippers have eventually relented and offered the five-year max? We can never know for certain.
But it’s pretty clear why the Clippers would want this version out there. Accurate or not, it makes them seem far more on top of things and is less likely to taint them with free agents they covet in 2018.
Unloading Ryan Anderson to sign Paul outright would have helped Houston keep one of their outgoing guards, but the market for the three years and $60 million left on Anderson’s deal was frigid. Not even the Kings wanted him for free. At least two teams would have demanded two Houston first-round picks in exchange for absorbing Anderson, according to several league sources.
The salary filler probably can’t be Trevor Ariza, by the way. Ariza and Paul are close after years together in New Orleans, and playing with Ariza factored at least a little into Paul’s decision, per league sources. The Clippers had tried to trade for him in prior seasons, sources say. Ariza is also still good at a coveted position, and his Bird Rights will be valuable to a capped-out Rockets team next summer.
Anderson would be dangerous as a stretch four in pick-and-pops with Paul and Harden. Even if he’s overpaid, might be better to keep him than surrender more assets to dump him.
Likewise, Ariza is a nice two-way player and can play small-ball four. There’s a use for him on this team.
But beyond them, Houston is left with Eric Gordon and Clint Capela as movable players. Gordon, with a higher salary and less obvious fit with Paul and Harden, would almost certainly be a key cog in a trade for another star. Capela is younger and more valuable, though the Rockets would probably want to keep him as a defensive anchor.
That might not be possible while trading for a third star, though. Houston can’t even guarantee sending out another first-round pick in a trade after sending a protected first-rounder to the Clippers. (The Rockets could agree to convey a first-rounder two years after sending one to L.A., which would is highly likely to convey next year.) Including Capela in a trade might be the only way to assemble a suitable package.
Even then, Houston would be hard-pressed to surpass an offer from the Lakers or Celtics for George. Plus, if Indiana is rebuilding around Myles Turner, Capela is an awkward fit. That trade might require a third team – causing further complications.
Hoping Anthony gets bought out by the Knicks then signs for the mid-level exception is much simpler – though that route returns the lesser third star.
But Daryl Morey just brought Chris Paul to Houston before free agency even began. Now is not the time to underestimate the Rockets general manager.
A couple years ago, Knicks owner James Dolan said there was no scenario Isiah Thomas would return to the Knicks.
But Dolan also said a few months ago he’d keep Phil Jackson for the duration of Jackson’s five-year contract.
With Dolan effectively firing Jackson today, could Thomas become the Knicks’ next president?
The Post also learned Liberty president Isiah Thomas would not be considered for Jackson’s successor.
It’s sad that this needs to be reported. It’s even sadder that, even if this the Knicks’ plans right now, there are no assurances Dolan holds steady.
Dumping Jackson is a reason to celebrate. But as long as Dolan owns the team, it must be a reserved celebration.
At least the Knicks’ next step won’t include Thomas. Probably.
TORONTO (AP) — With rumors swirling about the Knicks chasing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.
Webster, 32 years old assistant the youngest GM in the NBA, replaces Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto in May to become president of the Orlando Magic.
A former staffer at the NBA league office in New York, Webster joined the Raptors in 2013 and was named assistant GM in 2016.
He’ll help decide what to offer All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his contract last month after Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs.
Also Wednesday, Toronto promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager.
The Raptors have posted consecutive 50-win seasons and made four straight playoff appearances.