Chris Paul Must Weigh His Options as He Enters Free Agency

Michael DulkaContributor IMay 4, 2013

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 3:  Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers looks to the basket against Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies during Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 3, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers' season came to a disappointing end, and now free agent Chris Paul must decide on his next move. 

Whether he intends on re-signing with the Clippers or not, Paul should at least test the market and see what offers he gets. 

Paul deserves the opportunity to look at what's out there. Closing in 28 years old, Paul needs to find the best team on which to thrive as he enters his prime. He needs to figure out what's the best fit in order to win a title. 

As a team, the Clippers haven't lived up to their potential. Last season, after beating the Grizzles in the first round of the playoffs, they were then swept by the San Antonio Spurs. This season, they showed flashes of that potential and looked like a Finals contender. 

Following the disappointing season, Paul might have better options out there. 

The New York Knicks seemed to be an option for Paul in the past, but unless they are able to get rid of Amar'e Stoudemire, they don't have the cap space. With no likely takers for Stoudemire, the Knicks don't seem like a viable option for Paul. 

With the Los Angeles Lakers' financial situation, they too aren't a strong option anymore.  

Some of the more likely destinations for Paul are the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers—or he could re-sign with the Clippers. 

The Mavericks have a good deal of cap space with Chris Kaman ($8 million) and Elton Brand ($2.1 million) coming off the books. The Rockets also have a lot of space, but they are likely looking at making a run at a big man to pair with James Harden.

If the Pacers can include Danny Granger in a trade, they would have the money to make a deal work. With Paul, the Pacers would have a chance to become the clear-cut second-best team in the Eastern Conference after the Miami Heat

A group of Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Paul George and Paul would have a chance to be very successful. 

The Clippers may still turn out to be the best situation for Paul. They have a solid core of players that generally seem to play well together. The big factor here could be whether or not Vinny Del Negro is retained as head coach. If he's not, the next step in the equation is which head coach is brought in, and if that would affect Paul's decision.

For Paul, this a huge moment in his career. He needs to take time, assess his options and figure out which team gives him the best chance to win a title.