Report: Chris Paul would play for Clippers, but there are hitches

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Chris Paul is not going to the Lakers, they pulled out of the running for him. He’s not going to get traded to the Knicks, even Paul realizes they don’t have the young assets to make the move (even if some Knicks fans don’t).

If he can’t land there, he wouldn’t mind playing along side Blake Griffin for the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

But it’s not that simple.

To make the deal work the Clippers are likely going to have to throw in Eric Gordon and/or Minnesota’s unprotected first round pick for this draft (to which the Clippers have the rights), along with Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu. Steep price, but not an unfair one.

But the Clippers are not going to pay that price without some assurances from Paul.

The Clippers know Paul is going to want to play out his contract and sign as a free agent even if he doesn’t change teams (under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, if he gets an extension it can only be for four years but if he becomes a free agent then re-signs with the same team he can get five years).

What the Clippers want Paul to do right after the trade is pick up his option year for next season. This would give him one more year guaranteed under his current deal, then he would be a free agent in the summer of 2013.

When presumably the Clippers think they could sign him. This is where Donald Sterling the Clippers owner being a guy nobody likes comes in. Maybe Griffin and Paul can change the complexion of the Clippers on the court, but there is still one problem looming — Sterling. And if you think that what an owner does doesn’t reach into the locker room you underestimate Sterling. Or you don’t remember Sterling heckling Baron Davis while Davis was still a Clipper.

Still, this is a move the Clippers have to make, if they can get Paul to give them that year.