Chris Paul never seemed quite as enamored with the free-agent market as Dwight Howard has, but now that the Los Angeles Clippers have appeased their point guard by bringing in the coach he wanted, it appears as though CP3's return to L.A. is a sure thing.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Paul's representatives have told other teams that it's not even worth their time to ask about him. His mind is already made up.
Sources: Chris Paul's reps telling opposing teams not to bother pursuing him on July 1 bc he'll re-sign with Clippers— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 30, 2013
In addition to the Clippers' acquisition of Doc Rivers—a transaction Paul all but forced the Clippers to complete—L.A. was always the best place for CP3 to end up. Remember, the Clips can pay Paul approximately $30 million more than any other team under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.
All things being equal, it was going to be awfully hard for Paul to turn down that kind of extra cash.
Plus, L.A. has young talent in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, as well as tradeable assets that could be used to improve the team in the short term.
In fact, one of those assets—Eric Bledsoe—has been the subject of a number of rumors recently. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, both the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic have engaged the Clippers in talks about the hyper-athletic point guard.
Raptors join Magic at forefront of list of teams known to be chasing Clippers G Eric Bledsoe via trade. ESPN link: http://t.co/YjZ6e9EuUb— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 29, 2013
Wherever Bledsoe ends up, the consensus seems to be that moving him is the next item on the Clippers' offseason to-do list.
Next order of business for the Clippers after signing CP3 is getting the most out of a Bledsoe trade. Safer to do it now.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 30, 2013
It may not be necessary, but Rivers is apparently more than willing to make a sales pitch to Paul on behalf of his new team. According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, he's even been boning up on his recruiting techniques:
"I'll be on the phone a lot—begging. That's what we do. I call all the college coaches and try and get all the tips on how to recruit. So that's what we'll do. We have a great place and it's a great place to recruit. I can tell you that," Rivers said.
It's nice that Rivers is so willing to pitch in, but let's be serious. He wouldn't have taken the job with the Clippers if he wasn't certain Paul would re-sign.
Apparently, it won't be long until CP3 makes things official.