Chris Paul is not coming back to the Los Angeles Clippers. Instead, the Clippers are shipping him off to Houston.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday that the Clippers had signed and immediately traded Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in a stunning move that sets the tone just days before the NBA’s free agency period begins.
It was one last Woj Bomb for Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo! and it’s a huge deal that impacts the Western Conference landscape in a major way. The move was made official on Wednesday afternoon as seven players — Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Sam Dekker, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, and Kyle Wiltjer — and a 2018 first round pick went from Houston to Los Angeles for Paul.
Houston’s interest in Paul emerged last week, and it turns out they were very serious indeed about acquiring the 32-year-old point guard.
But few thought the deal would be as big as this one. Knowing they could lose both Paul and Griffin to other teams, the Clippers did what they could—leveraging goodwill to make it a trade to get some assets in return. And Houston shipping off Beverley here is a huge return for a Clippers team that will look very different this fall.
As Wojnarowski’s own free agency made headlines earlier Wednesday morning, he gave his soon-to-be-former employer one last scoop. And everyone was witness.
The move is a good one for Los Angeles considering they risked getting nothing if Paul walked away from a potential supermax deal and Blake Griffin left in free agency.
Still, it’s shocking to think back on this Clippers team and realize how hard they tried to keep it together and how little came out of it in the end.
Lob City has officially fallen, but they’re not as bad off as many thought they might be without Paul and Blake Griffin.
Meanwhile, James Harden and Chris Paul will have to coexist in Houston. Last season was technically Harden’s first at the point for Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets, but that’s almost certainly going to be different now that Paul is in town. Early speculation on that relationship is not not particularly encouraging.
Paul and the Rockets, however, are a fitting pair in the growing arms race that is the modern NBA. Houston fell just short of the Western Conference Finals last season, something Paul also has done his entire NBA career. To keep pace with Golden State, Houston is taking a calculated risk that Paul is the missing piece to get them there. And the Clippers simply did what they could to not settle right into the league’s basement.