Chris Paul declines Clippers extension offer. It’s just business.

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This was more like the opening gambit of a chess game — it played out exactly to form, with the real moves that matter still to come.

The Clippers have offered Chris Paul a max extension to his deal, a three-year, $60 million offer, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN (multiple sources reported before Friday that offer would be coming).

Paul and his agent turned it down. As they should have, for two good business reasons:

1) If he plays out this season, becomes a free agent and then re-signs with the Clippers he can get a five-year, $105 million contract. It is one of the quirks of the new CBA that it is in the financial interest of players to become free agents and re-sign with the same team rather than to just sign an extension with thier team.

2) This keeps the pressure on management to keep building a winner. The Clippers ended last year as a team on the rise, they reminded me of the Oklahoma City Thunder of a couple years ago — a team with a lot of talent learning how to win on the biggest stages. But they could slide back if owner Donald Sterling went cheap (bringing in Lamar Odom is a sign he is not). This is just smart by CP3, keep leverage over the team to keep building.

The real questions about what Chris Paul will do come a year from now. The Clippers are not going to move him at the deadline unless he asks out, and he’s not going to do that. CP3 will follow the Steve Nash model. But if he feels the Clippers are not committed, next July could be very interesting.

By the way, it’s not finalized yet but Blake Griffin will sign his max extension with the Clips.