Clippers Trade Chris Paul To Rockets

Reversing his decision to head to the free agent market, Chris Paul has opted into the final year of his contract as part of a trade. The Clippers have sent Paul to the Rockets in exchange for a massive trade package, Houston confirmed today in a press release. The Clippers will receive the following pieces in the deal:Chris Paul vertical

“Since winning back-to-back championships, the pursuit of a third title has remained the ultimate goal for our franchise,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement. “We feel that combining two of the league’s greatest players in James Harden and Chris Paul, operating in Coach [Mike] D’Antoni’s system, gives us a championship caliber team that will compete at the highest level for years to come.”

The move is a bombshell, particularly since Paul had been expected to reach free agency this weekend — a report last week indicated that he had made the decision to opt out of his contract. However, CP3 had yet to formally file the paperwork to exercise that early termination option. Instead, he’ll waive the ETO, which will allow him to play out the final year of his deal and become eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018, unless he signs an extension with Houston before next July. Paul is currently set to earn $24,268,959 in 2017/18.

According to Wojnarowski, the Clippers and Rockets reached an agreement after Paul informed L.A. that he intended to sign with Houston in free agency. From the Clippers’ perspective, the trade with Houston is a way to recoup some value for the star point guard and avoid losing him for nothing. Meanwhile, the Rockets will no longer have to worry about trying to dump a salary or two in order to create enough room for a maximum salary slot for Paul.

The Rockets, who were reported on Tuesday to be a “serious” threat in the Paul sweepstakes, have now secured their man before the free agent period even gets underway. The club’s star-studded backcourt will create an intriguing dynamic, since Harden is coming off an MVP-caliber season in which he served as Houston’s primary ball-handler. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Paul and Harden were “determined” to play together, so the duo is presumably unconcerned about how the ball-handling duties will be shared going forward.

It will be interesting to see if Rockets president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has anything else up his sleeve for the team in July. According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the club is still on the lookout for a third star to complement Paul and Harden. Houston was reportedly involved in Paul George trade talks, though the club surrendered some valuable assets in today’s move, so it’s not clear whether Morey still has enough pieces to interest the Pacers.

With Paul now headed to Houston, the Spurs – who were rumored to be a contender for Paul – will have to look elsewhere if they intend to sign a marquee free agent point guard. Teams around the NBA hoping to re-sign their own star point guards, such as the Pelicans (Jrue Holiday) and Raptors (Kyle Lowry), may also be breathing a little easier, since the Rockets were viewed as a team capable of shaking up the point guard market.

As for the Clippers, it’s not clear yet if today’s deal will be the first domino to fall in a full-fledged rebuilding process for the club, or merely a retooling of the roster. In Beverley and Williams, the Clips will acquire a pair of effective and affordable veteran guards who figure to step into key roles right away. Dekker is more of a wild card, but the 23-year-old big man flashed some upside in a rotational role for the Rockets last season, as did Harrell.

Paul’s departure also figures to be a factor in Blake Griffin‘s impending free agency. Unlike Paul, Griffin has formally exercised his ETO with the Clippers, so he’s on track to become an unrestricted free agent on Saturday. Given the reported tension between Paul and Griffin over the years, it’s possible that the trade of CP3 makes Griffin more likely to re-sign — Sam Amico of (Twitter link) spoke to several league executives who speculated as much.

[RELATED: Clippers confident about re-signing Blake Griffin]

Because the combined salaries of Beverley, Dekker, and Williams – the package reported initially for the Clippers – weren’t enough for the Rockets to land Paul, Houston spent most of the day acquiring players with non-guaranteed salaries from other teams to include in the deal. Liggins and Hilliard will be flipped to the Clippers, but Tim Quarterman, Shawn Long, and Ryan Kelly, who were all traded to Houston earlier today, won’t be part of this transactions — Houston instead included Harrell and Wiltjer.

I explained the math from the Rockets’ perspective earlier today. By structuring the deal as they did, the Rockets will remain over the cap and will have the mid-level exception ($8.4MM) and bi-annual exception ($3.3MM) available to pursue free agents when the new league year begins.

The Clippers waived retiring forward Paul Pierce in order to adhere to the NBA’s offseason roster limit of 20 players.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links) broke news of the trade. Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle and Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times were among those who reported key details along the way.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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81 thoughts on “Clippers Trade Chris Paul To Rockets

  1. acarneglia

    Woj Bomb.
    In a related story now the Rockets will not be able to advance past the the second round.

    • KnicksCavsFan

      Why? Beverly and Williams were great rotation players but the addition of Paul shouldn’t cost them any less wins. Asking politely, please explain your position (said with no shade).

        • KnicksCavsFan

          Your reason why the addition of Paul won’t help them get past the 2nd round.

          However, if it was sarcasm, or a curse as Dretorade inferred, then never mind the explanation.

            • FlaveFlava

              It’s a joke about the curse. That being said, I still don’t think the Rockets are a huge threat to the Warriors. Can’t beat them without defense and defending their pick and rolls.

              • acarneglia

                I said this because Paul has never been pass the second round. I do know stuff so don’t make crap up madmanTX

    • Wow this is amazing. It’s soon as Jerry West comes aboard they suddenly don’t lose Paul for nothing.

      Get a couple rotation guys and a first-round pick. I never thought this would happen Jerry West is truly a legend.

      • Chris

        Lol the Clippers went from having probably the second best starting 5 in the West to possible lottery team and you’re excited?

    • johncena2016

      It sounds like Harden and CP3 wanted to play on the same team, so I’d assume Harden will play SG again

    • yoyo137

      Harden will get to play off-ball more which will probably keep his scoring the same and take away a lot of turnovers due to lower usage rate. I think it overall makes them a lot better.

  2. raz427

    Wow…that’s a game changing type move for Houston. Does Blake come now also? DeAndre might be on his way out too. If I’m the Kings, I go asking for DeAndre.

    • FlaveFlava

      How does DeAndre help the Kings? Seems like it wouldn’t be worth the young assets for a team in their position.

  3. yoyo137

    No freakin way!!! I completely dismissed all the talk about him going to Houston cause I thought it would never happen. Crazy!!

  4. raz427

    Few teams I see asking Clippers about DJ.

    1) Celtics
    2) Knicks
    3) Kings

    All of them have cap and players to deal for DJ.

  5. GritNGrind81

    Wow, the main question I have is can Paul coexist with Harden? For the Clippers, you were never going to get equal value for CP3 so at least they walk away with 3 good players and a pick. Everyone figured they were going to break up the band in LA.

  6. Ralow

    Mike D’Antoni just jizzed in his pants. They are gonna light up the score board even more than they did last year.

  7. D-NBA

    Jerry West is going to build a winner, both teams come out winners. Houston just became the favorites.

    • raz427

      Favorites to reach the WCF and get swept again?

      They do not have enough shooting off their bench. They are still horrible defensively and have bad IQ guys on their team.

      • D-NBA

        Paul is the perfect point guard to take pressure off Harden. Harden is about to average 30.

        • BucSox

          Well he averaged 29 last year so that isn’t much of an improvement. They still aren’t better than Golden State though.

      • D-NBA

        I think they could push them to 6, we’ll see how Morey fills out the rest of the roster.

        • Cubshoops5

          “Houston just became the favorites” to “I think they could push them to 6”
          I think even you realized how crazy that was

  8. acarneglia

    Now the big question is what happens with Blake? No way he goes back to the Clips without CP3. I’m sure Boston, OKC, the Lakers, and others are blowing up his agent right now.

    • raz427

      I think he signs with OKC. He went to college there, he’s from Oklahoma. I think you’ll need to get rid of Adams and Kanter and go after him.

      • acarneglia

        In a perfect world they’d only want to trade one of Kanter or Adams because they’ll need someone to play center. Whoever it is would probably go to Boston who needs help in the frontcourt and have the assets to make a trade work.

        • raz427

          I think C’s make a push for DJ now. He would be perfect with IT and horford.

          • acarneglia

            They could play with Horford at power forward because that’s more of his natural position

          • mcase7187

            He’s making 20+ I don’t see the C’s going after him he’s a one dimensional player he’s not a scorer but believe me I think he’s what they need but not at 20+ there better off try for PG13 and Hayward

        • BucSox

          If I am OKC I am not getting rid of Steven Adams. Kanter can go he is useless defensively.

  9. hyraxwithaflamethrower

    If they want, they’ll be able to have a good PG on the floor at all times, except late in blowouts. Paul will do most of the ball-handling, though. If Harden can live with that and get the ball when CP3 is on the bench or mostly to score, this team just got much better.


    LOL! By the end of the offseason the best clipper will be deandre Jordan. Clippers fans can kiss Blake goodbye. What a trade for the rockets!

    • CursedRangers

      DeAndre Jordan’s social anxiety issues must be kicking in full force right now. Laughing at how he cried his way back to the Clippers during free agency. Now the players that sucked him in are all leaving. Will be fun to watch him next year.

  11. stretch123

    Wow. I feel like the Rockets aren’t done. I think they might get Paul George too.

    • raz427

      That would be huge if they somehow got PG13 as well. I’d be shocked though if they do acquire him.

  12. mightyomighty

    Clippers get back injury prone Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams who will likely get traded at the deadline for cap relief and 1st round draft pick, and Sam Dekker, unproven big man……

    • Philly Fan

      That’s the best they’re going to get. They’re in no position to negotiate since Paul could just opt out and sign with Houston

      • mightyomighty

        No doubt. It seems like Clippers are getting Harrell in this trade as well. Promising center that can back up DeAndre Jordan.

  13. mgalibov

    Their egos may not allow it, but if CP3 agreed to come off the bench so that they both had time to act as ball-dominant players, the Rockets would be lethal. Warriors bench, although excellent, will undoubtedly be their weak spot in the near future – this is where the Rockets would have to strike to challenge them.

  14. beantownmassacre

    Now does this hurt or help Indiana? Any team trying to get pg13 now has an idea what to give. I know they play different position but both are superstars. My guess is Indiana gets more picks(probably 2-3 more) then players, so they can rebuild around a young core

    • BucSox

      The Pacers have a little more leverage because they don’t have to rush to trade him. The Clips had to do this now or he would have just signed with them.

  15. KCelts

    Kind of interesting this happened one day after the report came out saying LeBron would never play for the Clippers..

  16. formerlyz

    Wow….I dismissed every single Houston rumor with CP3, and didn’t read even 1 of them b/c I thought it made no sense….

    So he picks up his option, and Houston gets him without giving up Ariza or Harrell. Good for them, and a cool move by Chris Paul to make sure the Clippers got stuff for him.

    Both teams still need wing help, mostly a defender. I also am curious to see how this works with Harden. If Chris Paul ends up standing in the corner watching Harden dribble, this just makes him a glorified Patrick Beverly for them. So IMO, it’s Harden who has to change his game for them to be successful. You know Chris Paul is going to defend at an elite level, so losing Beverly there won’t hurt you in that regard. There’s 1 ball though. I don’t trust James Harden to be willing to aquieste. We’ll see I guess…and if/when it doesn’t work, CP3 will be a free agent next year with LeBron, Melo, and Wade

    Should be interesting to see what happens with Blake Griffin. If the Clippers can keep him, they need to find a way to move Jamal Crawford, and they need help defensively on the wing, still. But I could also see him leaving. As a Heat fan, I hope it’s not to Miami….but as of now, they theoretically can play Beverly, Rivers, Dekker, Blake, DeAndre. Lou Williams off the bench. Not terrible, as a start. But they’re going to have to figure that stuff I mentioned out

    • KnicksCavsFan

      It’s been reported that Harden was the one who recruited Paul to come to Houston. If that was the case then I’m sure there was a meeting-of-the-minds between the two players.

      • bosox90

        Not a bad haul for a guy they were going to lose anyways. If Beverley has a healthy first half he may be a nice trade piece for a team looking for a pesky defender for the playoffs.

        • formerlyz

          Agreed, although if the clippers maneuver correctly, they might not want to move Beverley at that point. They finally got more athletic, which they desperately needed

      • formerlyz

        Didn’t mean to post that yet….anyway, Houston got Liggins. Which helps them with the defensive wing I mentioned, but now by losing Harrell, they need help at the 4/backup big position, as losing his versatility hurts them a bit there

        • formerlyz

          well if Liggins is going to the Clippers, he’s the defensive wing they needed lol. Houston still needs 1, and losing Harrell too means they need help at the 4/backup big, b/c they’re losing that versatility

    • bosox90

      Nice write-up, spoken like a true hoops fan! I see far too often on here things along the lines of “DOESN’T MATTER THEY WON’T BEAT THE WARRIORS/CAVS.” While it is most often true, it’s nice to dissect and discuss what teams have done/will do in the offseason in an attempt to compete now/build for the future.

      • formerlyz

        Perception can be a frustrating thing. But it’s not a 1 team league, as amazing g as GS is. There could be injuries. There could be a team that puts together a similar skillset and makes it interesting. We don’t know for sure who GS is going to add. It makes no sense for teams to stop playing…and this is the time of year where it becomes about trying to figure out how to make teams better. That’s a lot of fun, as you said.

  17. BucSox

    This is a win for everyone. Clips get assets back for Paul, Rockets preserve cap space by trading for him as opposed to signing him.

  18. Thronson5

    I was completely shocked at first seeing this trade. But looking at it from both sides I think this trade is even for both teams and might even work more in the Clippers favor. It’s not like the Clippers didn’t get good players. They did. They added to their bench so they are deeper and Beverly is one of the best defensive players in the league. Now if they can bring back Blake and or go after someone like George they’d be set. I wonder what their next move is if they can’t bring back Blake.

  19. Clippers are having a great day lebron and pg13 aren’t coming co3 goes to the rockets and Doc will be fired soon. Ha Ha

  20. Z-A

    By the time this is done do the rockets have anyone other the Paul and Harden?

    • formerlyz

      You have to assume that as of now, it will be CP3, Harden, Ariza, Anderson, Capela. Gordon off the bench….they need a defensive wing, a versatile 4, and a backup big, and probably another shooter at the wing position

  21. Bulls4life

    Even thought Rockets got the best player in that deal I think you gotta give credit to the LAC front office. The got a really good return for an aging overrated Paul and they added depth and a 1st round pick.

    PS: Paxon and co you see how and when you should trade a star player??

    • formerlyz

      Overrated? Chris Paul is underrated. He is still a top 6 player in the league right now. I do agree with the rest of the comment though. I guarantee this move was made by Jerry West. No way Doc Rivers has the creativity to get a deal like this done

      • Bulls4life

        Top 6 no way. And I am not saying he is not a very good player. Just that he is not the transcendent player that can carry a franchise to the next level-championship level. He is a ball stopper -very bad for a pg- and he has never shown clutch abilities.

        Jerry West is the best executive ever!!!

        • Thronson5

          Very bad PG? Hmmmm…that’s a interesting comment! Do see his averages for assist per game? Far from a very bad PG!

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