So it looks like Chris Paul night be headed to Los Angeles, Donald Sterling and David Stern permitting.
The Los Angeles Clippers emerged early today as the leading contender to acquire CP3 in a trade, and if the reports out there are accurate, they are trying to get him without surrendering either of their two best players, Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon.
It would be a deal that by anyone’s measure would be inferior to what the Hornets would have gotten from the Lakers and Rockets in the three-team trade that was quashed twice by Stern.
But with the threat of litigation looming if a deal is not consummated today, this might be the best the Hornets can do.
From Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times: The Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets were working vigorously Sunday night to consummate a blockbuster deal that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers‘ cross-town rivals, said two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak on the matter. The deal hasn’t been completed, but both sides were in the closing stages of the negotiations. The Clippers would send the Hornets center Chris Kaman, backup second-year guard Eric Bledsoe, second-year forwardAl-Farouq Aminu and the No. 1 draft pick they got from the Minnesota Timberwolves that is unprotected in the 2012 draft, considered to be one of the best in recent years. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the NBA have to sign off on the deal. … Bledsoe just turned 22, but he will be out until late January recovering from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Aminu is 21 and Kaman is 29, but he’s also in the final year of a contract that pays him $12.7 million, which makes him appealing. The Clippers are aware that Paul, who will earn $16 million this season, can opt out of his contract this summer that pays him $17 million for the 2012-13 season.
The Clippers would love for Paul to sign an extension with them so they don’t have him for just one season. If he doesn’t agree to the extension, they hope he will pick up his option for next season.
From Sam Amick of SI.com: “Paul is known to be open to joining the Clippers long-term, but the supporting cast was likely taken into consideration when engaging in discussions with a franchise that has been a laughingstock for so long. While reigning Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin is the centerpiece of the team’s new core, Eric Gordon — whom the Clippers did not want to give up when the two teams talked last week, according to the L.A. Times – and restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan and are also key components. And that’s where it gets interesting: Jordan signed a four-year, $43 million offer sheet from Golden State on Sunday, according to this agent, Greg Lawrence. After seeing center Tyson Chandler sign with New York this week, the Warriors went after Jordan, banking on his athleticism and potential to improve upon his seven points and seven rebounds per game last season. In order to free salary-cap room for the Jordan offer, the Warriors used their amnesty clause on veteran guard Charlie Bell and rescinded a qualifying offer to guard/forward Reggie Williams. Sources had confirmed that the Clippers gave Jordan a five-year, $40 million offer recently, and they will now have three days to match the Warriors’ offer. One source close to the Paul situation predicted the Clippers would match, noting that Jordan is a vital piece to their young core. The Hornets seemed focused solely on the Clippers after the second trade attempt with the Lakers fell through. Sources said Golden State had not re-engaged in the discussions for Paul in any meaningful way. Boston was also among the teams pushing hard for Paul, but one of the principles of a Celtics proposal — forward Jeff Green — was signed to a one-year, $9 million deal on Saturday and cannot be traded by Boston for six months.
To catch up on the res of what is going on around the NBA, please read Chris Bernucca’s news roundup from last night.