The Los Angeles Clippers and superstar point guard Chris Paul have reportedly reached an agreement on a new long-term contract that will get finalized once the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement goes into effect.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported Tuesday the sides already "verbally agreed" to the new deal. It's expected to pay Paul, who must first decline his player option for the 2017-18 season, more than $200 million.
The 31-year-old Wake Forest product is making a little over $22.8 million for the 2016-17 campaign, and the option year, which is expected to get terminated, would be worth more than $24.2 million, according to Spotrac. Exact details of the new verbal agreement weren't in the report.
Paul is still sidelined after undergoing thumb surgery in mid-January. The procedure came with a six-to-eight week timetable for a complete recovery.
In early February, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told Rowan Kavner of the team's official website the timeline hasn't changed, even though the guard was making consistent progress.
"If there's ever a silver lining to getting injured, it's nice when you get injured and it's not leg or feet, where you can run and shoot and do all this other stuff, and he's able to do that," he said. "He's shooting, running, doing every drill. He's running offense by himself—I'm sure he scores every time. But he's in the gym every day with our guys."
Paul has been his usually efficient self when healthy. He's averaging 17.5 points, 9.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals through 36 games this season. His 27.31 player efficiency rating ranks sixth overall in the NBA, according to ESPN.com's Hollinger Stats.
The Clippers need him back as quickly as possible with the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder trying to chase them down for the fourth seed in the Western Conference and the first-round home-court advantage that comes with it.
Looking further ahead, locking down Paul for the long haul would bring stability to the organization, which has more contract questions on the horizon. Blake Griffin also holds an early-termination option after this season, and DeAndre Jordan only has one more guaranteed year left, per Spotrac.
Keeping its playmaking point guard in place should ensure Los Angeles remains an attractive option for Griffin, Jordan and any potential free agents or trade targets the front office may chase in order to challenge the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs in the West.