Chris Paul is ready to sign a long-term extension with the Los Angeles Clippers, sources say, and it’s thanks to the team’s ability to snag coach Doc Rivers after a marathon trade session with the Boston Celtics.
The team had been building its future around Paul, arguably the league’s best point guard, but a signing that once seemed imminent suddenly came into question after the conclusion of the season. A free agent this summer, Paul had yet to re-sign with the Clippers and it seemed in doubt if he would.
The team fired coach Vinny Del Negro after the Clippers lost in the first round, but Paul was reportedly upset that he was getting blame for the coach leaving. Sources said the situation threatened Paul re-signing with the team.
“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” a team source said. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”
Paul’s anger did have some basis. Clippers owner Donald Sterling seemed to hint that Paul was behind Del Negro’s firing when asked about the situation by a reporter.
“I always want to be honest and not say anything that is not true,” Sterling said. “So I’d rather not say anything. But you know, the coach did a really good job. I think he did. And I liked working with him. There are just factors that make life very complicated and very challenging.”
But now it appears that Chris Paul will indeed re-sign for a long-term deal with the addition of coach Doc Rivers. After more than a week of negotiations, the Clippers and Boston Celtics are close to finalizing a deal that brings Rivers to the Clippers in exchange for a 2015 first-round draft pick.
According to CBS, the deal is in place and needs league approval, which insiders say it will gain now that it is not connected to a separate trade for Kevin Garnett.
Sources tell ESPN that Clips believe CP3 will soon notify them that deal w/Doc Rivers’ clinches his … http://t.co/FCETvB8Xj9
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2013
Chris Paul may have a big part in the deal. Sources say he pressured Clippers management when it appeared the deal was off, helping to clinch Doc Rivers coming to Los Angeles.
[Chris Paul image via Creative Commons]