May 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) brings the ball up court in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 118-105. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
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.