With their trade talks for Chris Paul in the dead/alive/dead/alive/possibly-pending stage, the Los Angeles Clippers claimed guard Chauncey Billups off waivers today, then matched the Golden State Warriors’ $43.2 million offer sheet for DeAndre Jordan.
And what about that threat from Billups to retire if something like this happened?
Let’s just say he has $14.2 million reasons to show up in camp — along with a threat from the league office.
From David Aldridge of NBA.com: “The NBA sent an e-mail to teams that threatened discipline against the free agent guard if he refused to report to a team that claimed him in the waiver pool or was disruptive to that team after reporting. According to the e-mail … the league warned Billups and his agent, Andy Miller,on Monday that any statements made concerning not reporting to a team or being disruptive would be viewed as a breach of Billups’ contract, and that the NBA “is reserving all of its rights to take appropriate action against the player for his efforts to undermine the waiver process and the contractual rights of both the waiving team and any claiming team. Please also be advised that the NBA will fully support any team that claims Mr. Billups’ contract in the amnesty/waiver process and that subsequently believes it has grounds for discipline of Mr. Billups for breach of that contract.” Miller, according to several sources, sent a letter to teams over the weekend that reiterated that Billups would be unhappy if anyone claimed him out of the waiver pool (for at least $1.35 million, the minimum for 10-plus year veterans like Billups) after being released by New York on Saturday via the amnesty provision.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported on Twitter that a team executive told him Billups “could be another player to trade.”
Which brings us back to the drama surrounding Paul, whose trade to the Clippers was reported to be alive, then dead, then alive again by the increasingly Twitter-driven national media corps.
Some were reporting the holdup was the Clippers refusal to include Eric Gordon. Others said the Eric in question was point guard Eric Bledsoe, others said there was a reluctance to part with the Timberwolves unprotected No. 1 draft pick if one of the two Erics was included.
From Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com: “There is renewed momentum to push through a trade that would send Chris Paul from the league-owned New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers, according to sources close to the process. After a seemingly imminent trade routing Paul to the Clippers collapsed earlier Monday, sources told ESPN.com that the league officials negotiating on the Hornets’ behalf had aggressively re-engaged the Clippers in talks in hopes of completing a deal as soon as Tuesday. The talks hit an impasse earlier Monday when the Clippers decided that the league’s asking price for the All-Star guard was too high. But Clippers general manager Neil Olshey said Monday that the trade could be revived if some of the parameters change. And a source close to the process told ESPN that league officials also do not see talks with the Clippers as “over.” … The NBA remains “hopeful,” according to the source, that Paul’s fate can resolved “soon.” One source went so far as to say that a deal could be in place by Tuesday, so determined are the league officials running the Hornets to finally bring an end to this saga after NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed a three-team trade Thursday that would have landed Paul with the Los Angeles Lakers. “Everything’s over until it’s reborn again,” Olshey said. “I’m not going to drag this out. New Orleans made a fair offer on their end. We didn’t think it was something we wanted to pursue at this point and we move on. I met with the team and (coach) Vinny (Del Negro) this morning. We love these guys and it took us three years to get in this position. We’ve been waiting on draft picks that are coming to fruition. Our players are developing, our young guys keep getting better, we added a key free agent (Caron Butler). This model is a model for sustainable success and that’s been our goal.”
One prized free agent center is off the market now that Marc Gasol has agreed to a four-year, $58 million deal to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies.
From Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal: “Gasol is expected in town Tuesday to take a physical. He should join his teammates for practice no later than Wednesday. The 7-footer will be paid $12.9 million in the first year of the deal. He’ll receive 7.5-percent raises. Memphis paid Gasol the most he could receive as a free agent. Other teams could only pay Gasol a maximum of $55 million over four years with 4.5-percent increases. Griz officials said they would match any offer sheet Gasol received. There was speculation that the Houston Rockets would make Gasol an offer. But Gasol didn’t sign an offer sheet with any other team. In fact, Gasol originally received a five-year proposal from the Griz but opted to take a shorter deal.”
In other news:
_ J.J. Barea reached a tentative agreement with the Minnesota Timberwolves on a four-year contract. Stein said the deal was for $19 million.
From Aldridge of NBA.com: “The 27-year-old is finalizing details on a four-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, which would further add to that team’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of guards. Barea, who starred in the postseason last spring during the Dallas Mavericks’ run to the NBA title, took more in Minnesota than in New York, which had been talking about a two-year deal, according to the source. … The Timberwolves could be looking for a mentor for their high-profile rookie guard, Ricky Rubio, who finally came over to the NBA after starring in Europe as a teenager. Rubio was taken fifth overall by the Wolves in 2009 but remained in Europe until this summer. The Wolves already have veteran guard Luke Ridnour on the roster as well. The Mavericks, who are intent on keeping cap flexibility next season, only offered Barea a one-year deal, the source said. That left Barea feeling “betrayed” after he’d become a key contributor for Dallas the past few seasons and a major factor last season off the bench in the playoffs for the Mavericks. … Coach Rick Carlisle started Barea during The Finals against the Heat, and the diminutive guard provided a major spark for Dallas en route to its 4-2 series win over Miami.
_ Vince Carter signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks after being waived by the Phoenix Suns.
_ Jason Richardson signed a three-year contract to remain with the Orlando Magic.
_ The Big Baby sign-and-trade got done. Glen Davis goes in Orlando along with Von Wafer for Brandon Bass.
_ The Cavaliers re-signed guard Anthony Parker.
_ Delonte West is signing a one-year deal with Dallas for $1.18 million, according to Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today.