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Report: Clippers trading Chris Paul to Houston Rockets

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All last season and up through another disappointing end to the Clippers season, Doc Rivers kept saying he wanted to bring this Clippers’ core back — re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin because how often do you get a team this good together?

Jerry West was reportedly not a fan of the “run it back” plan. West won.

The Clippers are trading Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets after CP3 opted into the final year of his contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Los Angeles Clippers have reached agreement on a trade to send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, league sources told The Vertical.

Paul, 32, agreed to opt in to the final year of his $24.2 million contract, clearing the way for the Clippers to execute a trade with the Rockets and bring back assets for Paul, league sources said.

The Rockets will send the Clippers a package that includes guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams, forward Sam Dekker and a 2018 first-round pick (protected Nos. 1-3), league sources told The Vertical.

Paul told the Clippers he planned to sign with the Rockets as a free agent but it would better if they tried to work out a trade, according to Woj. Paul will become a free agent in 2018, but the Rockets will have his bird rights and can re-sign him to a $205 million max deal then.

What this means for the Rockets is if Mike D’Antoni can get Chris Paul and James Harden to play well together — not a sure thing, these are both guys who like to operate best with the ball in their hands, controlling the action — they become the biggest threat to the Warriors in the West. It also is a blow to the Spurs, Nuggets, and other teams that had Paul on their radar.

For the Clippers, it means they will likely let Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick go and start a rebuilding process. Whether Doc Rivers sticks around for that remains to be seen.

Report: Chris Paul met with Clipper officials to talk future of franchise, himself

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Chris Paul is going to talk to a lot of teams this summer, but if you ask people around the league, most seem to think he will re-sign with the Clippers. The ultimate reason is money: As president of the players’ union he helped steer the new CBA negotiations, which included changing the “over 36 rule” — limiting max contracts to players who turn 36 during the time of the deal — into the “over 38 rule.” That meant 32-year-old Paul could sign one more five-year max contract.

Paul also wants to win, and it’s hard to see how the assembled team in Los Angeles — which is certainly a top 5-7 NBA team, maybe a little higher when healthy — picks up a ring. Especially with the Golden State juggernaut not going anywhere.

Paul has started talking to the Clippers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

I doubt that discussion was much about money — the Clippers will offer a five-year max contract. That’s not even up for debate.

The discussion was how to build the Clippers into a contender. Will Blake Griffin, also a free agent, be back and be part of that? What about J.J. Redick? Can the Clippers get the cap space to lure huge free agents in 2018? LeBron James reportedly wants to come to Los Angeles, although whether he wants to be a Clipper is another question. (For the record, I don’t buy the idea LeBron would “never” be a Clipper. While it may be highly unlikely, people I have spoken to around the league closer to LeBron’s thinking say he wants to keep every option open, play out next season, then see where things stand. He would not fully rule out playing with Chris Paul, who could still be in L.A.)

The Clippers have backed themselves into a corner by trading away picks for veterans, and not developing young players into guys who can contribute in the rotation. When was the last time the Clippers had their Patrick McCaw or Dewayne Dedmon? Without those young, affordable players, it becomes hard to put a good roster together and keep it together. It’s part of what Jerry West — with some help from GM Lawrence Frank — need to bring to Doc Rivers’ Clippers.

That’s likely part of the discussion, too.

There’s a lot for the sides to talk about.

Report: Minnesota “intent” on trading Ricky Rubio to get more shooting

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It’s easy to look at the trio of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota now and think “that team will make the playoffs next season and be a contender in a few years.” They have set themselves up for that potential run.

But with those three on the floor, Minnesota needs shooters at the other two spots to provide spacing. Butler may have hit 36.7 percent of his threes last season, but he is far more dangerous as a slasher getting to the rim. Same with Wiggins (who shot 35 percent from three). Obviously, Towns operates around the basket. The defensive strategy against the Timberwolves is not hard to envision: Pack the paint and make them shoot over the top of you. Take away the inside.

Minnesota needs shooters. To get that they are dangling Ricky Rubio, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rubio should have value, and he makes a reasonable $14.3 million next season and $15 million the one after (a fair price for a point guard of his quality). He remains one of the best passers in the league, a guy with amazing court vision. He’s also one of the better defensive point guards in the NBA. He shot the ball well after the All-Star break last season (35.3 percent from three) and was more aggressive getting his shot, but Tom Thibodeau is clearly not sold that’s a permanent change.

Minnesota has some cap space and could chase a player like Patty Mills at the point or Kyle Korver as a free agent to give them shooting, plus try to trade Rubio. They have options, although they don’t have the money to chase the J.J. Redicks of the world.

If you hear of a shooter being available, know that Thibodeau is lurking, trying to land him.

Rumor: Clippers would like to get in Paul George conversation

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Doc Rivers has said he wants to bring everyone back this summer — free agents Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick — but we also know that’s not likely. Steve Ballmer may have 10,000 lifetimes worth of money, but is he willing to have one of the highest payroll/luxury tax bills in the league to run the same group back again?

What if they could land Paul George to fit with some/all of that core?

It’s a crazy longshot — the Clippers don’t have the assets to get in the conversation seriously — but they would like to, reports Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. The Clippers wanted in the George conversation back at the trade deadline (when the Pacers were not serious about dealing him).

Among them, league sources told Sporting News, are the Clippers, who have three significant free agents — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick — and are desperate to add a player who could change their perennial postseason disappointment. The Clippers have expressed interest in George.

Any team trading for George would be gambling that it could persuade him to stay in free agency, and not bolt for the Lakers in 2018. That limits the teams Indiana can deal with to a handful of contenders or teams willing to take a risk. The Clippers have slipped in their status as contenders, but they’re not risk-averse and can get George to Los Angeles, if not with the Lakers. The Clippers could work out a three-team trade to accommodate a guy like Redick or Griffin.

Would Jerry West sign off on this? Depends on the deal. It’s obvious why the Clippers want in the George dance. If they can pair George with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, that might be a team that could reach the Conference Finals. Maybe. But for a Clippers team who sees a small window to be a threat, they might as well go for it. And maybe George likes playing with CP3 enough to re-sign with the team next summer.

But why would the Pacers do it? They reportedly want a couple first round picks and a young rotation player in the deal (they’re not going to get that much, but that’s what they are asking for). The Clippers don’t have a first-round pick they can trade until 2021 (their 2017 goes to Toronto, 2019 to Boston, and teams can’t trade their lone first rounder in consecutive years). Also, even if you could get Griffin to agree to a sign-and-trade with a Pacers team set to rebuild — and good luck with that — Indy would just have to flip him in another deal, because he’s not part of anyone’s rebuilding plans. The Clippers don’t have much else on the roster to offer — Austin Rivers at $11.8 million, or 37-year-old Jamal Crawford — that will interest anyone.

It’s going to be a very interesting summer for the Clippers, it feels like the West hiring was the first domino in a few changes coming to the franchise. They still may want to win now, and George would help with that, but they aren’t going to get him, the Pacers will have better offers.

Report: Jerry West leaving Warriors to take on role as consultant with Clippers

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There is a significant power shift coming to the Los Angeles Clippers, and they have stolen a Laker icon to make it happen.

Jerry West is leaving his role of six years as a consultant with the Golden State Warriors — part of the brain trust that built them into a juggernaut — to take on a similar role, although possibly with more power, with the Clippers.

Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated broke the news.

Jerry West is leaving the Golden State Warriors to take a similar job with the Los Angeles Clippers, SI.com has learned. West, who turned 79 as the NBA Finals began, made his decision over the last couple of weeks.

Known as the architect of two Laker championship teams as a general manager (Showtime in the decade of the 80s and the Kobe-Shaq threepeaters at the beginning of the century), West was not in a decision-making capacity with the Warriors. But he was a respected voice on personnel matters as Golden State turned from a laughingstock to a model franchise.

Other reports have also confirmed this move, including from the principles involved.

There was talk of West trying to return to the Lakers, but with the new Magic Johnson/Rob Pelinka power structure, there was no fit. So he talked to the other L.A. team.

For the Warriors, this is a loss. When he arrived at the behest of a then new ownership group, he brought an air of credibility to what had been a long-woeful organization. He was a respected voice in a Golden State front office that encourages debate and different viewpoints. West was known to have been a big proponent of keeping Klay Thompson and not trading him for Kevin Love.

For the Clippers, this is a massive win — not only do they steal a Laker legend, but he again brings an instant air of respectability and credibility.

While West is a consultant and Doc Rivers is still the president and the guy with the hammer on trades, and the two will say they can work together, make no mistake this is the start of a power shift in the organization. Doc Rivers has made his moves, and the Clippers have been a top five-to-seven NBA team for a few years, but due to injuries and bad matchups they have never gotten out of the second round of the playoffs. Now with the Warriors poised to be dominant for years, with the Spurs still being the Spurs, and having been passed in the standings by teams such as Houston and Utah, the Clippers have some hard decisions to make this summer.

They want Chris Paul back, but does he want to return? And if he does, but decides to play the free agent game and talk to the Spurs and Heat and other suitors, can the Clippers wait for him? Do they re-sign Blake Griffin at the max? Can they get J.J. Redick back? The sense around the league is that Steve Ballmer may be rich, but he doesn’t want a massive luxury tax bill next year to run this same roster back. Do they let Griffin walk and try to swing a trade for Carmelo Anthony, and would that really make them better?

West is going to have a big say in all of this, and in other moves going forward. That may be bad news for Doc Rivers the GM, but it’s good news for the Clippers.