Trade requests and expiring contracts have been major stories in the NBA in recent years, from 2010's Decision to 2011's Melo-drama to 2012's Dwightmare. However, Chris Paul isn't expecting his contract situation to turn into a distraction, as Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes. Paul will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but it sounds as if he's leaning toward remaining with the Clippers long-term.
"At the end of the season, I'll evaluate everything. But it's no secret. Everybody knows I love it here," Paul said. "I love our team, I love everything that's going on."
Paul, of course, was at the middle of a controversial off-court story last December when a trade that would have sent him to the Lakers was shot down by David Stern, leading to the Clippers trade. He hasn't forgotten that situation, but strongly indicated that he isn't expecting history to repeat itself in Los Angeles.
"I sort of went through one of those the year before last in New Orleans," Paul said. "Been there, done that. For me, I don't pay much attention to it. I wouldn't even have thought about that today until you asked me the question. I think that says a lot about our team, about everything that's going on around here. We don't focus on that."
Although the Knicks were viewed at one point as a strong potential suitor for Paul in free agency, New York has committed over $77MM in 2013/14 team salary. Since the CBA won't allow teams over the tax threshold to complete sign-and-trade deals starting next summer, the Knicks likely won't have a way to even make a run at Paul.
As I explained earlier this summer, Paul's contract options suggest that his most likely outcome is re-signing with the Clippers next summer as a free agent. If he were to sign an in-season extension with the club, he could only earn up to about $60MM, whereas he could sign for $107MM+ next July. A maximum-salary contract with another team would be worth up to about $80MM.