Less than a week into the Doc Rivers era, free agent point guard Chris Paul has announced that he will re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN has reported that Paul’s representatives have told teams not to bother pursuing the multi-time all-star when free agency officially begins on at 12:01 AM EST Monday.
It was no secret that Paul’s relationship with former head coach Vinny Del Negro was a reason he was let go, so this move is not surprising as Paul and Rivers have a good relationship already. Paul has stated that he believes Rivers can get the Clippers over the playoff hump, as they have not advanced past the 2nd round in Paul’s 2 seasons with the team.
This means that Paul is now officially crossed off the Houston Rocket’s free agent list; even though he was a long shot to begin with in the first place. Paul was clearly upset at the Clippers when they hinted that he was a reason Del Negro was let go, so him signing elsewhere seemed to be a possibility.
The Rockets will now shift all their focus on their top 2 free agent targets: Dwight Howard and Josh Smith. They are set to meet with Howard on Monday in Los Angeles with a group that includes Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin McHale, James Harden, and Chandler Parsons. Smith will be the no. 2 option, should things start looking bleak with Howard.