Every single Los Angeles Clippers fan can rest a lot easier today thanks to Chris Paul.
And they did not even have to wait one full day into free agency to get their man — or in this case, keep their man. According to a number of published reports, Paul has verbally agreed to a five-year contract extension worth a reported $107.3 million with the Clippers according to Paul’s agent, Leon Rose.
Paul even took to Twitter to help break the news himself:
I'M IN!!! #CLIPPERNATION
— Chris Paul (@CP3) July 1, 2013
There really was not much doubt about Paul staying in Los Angeles as the all-star point guard intended all along. The recent hiring of Doc Rivers as head coach and senior VP of basketball operations only helped to strengthen Paul’s decision.
Paul always intended to stay with the Clippers, sources said, and that sentiment was only strengthened when the team tabbed Doc Rivers as head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations earlier this week. The good news with Paul re-committing so early in the free agency process is that management can now focus on the rest of the open market this summer.
With Rivers at the helm, Paul running the show, Blake Griffin locked up from last summer with a five-year deal, and the Clippers coming off a franchise best 56-26 season, Los Angeles does not just belong to the Lakers anymore. Instead, the Clippers look way more enticing. Expect Paul to be a serious pitchman this summer in the free agency frenzy.
Doc Rivers is doing is part already.
Rivers reached out to unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo to make his pitch on the Clippers. With the Clippers' payroll ballooning over the salary cap after inking Paul, they can only offer Mayo the midlevel exception ($5.1 million annually for up to four years, maximum). A sign-and-trade is another option, particularly with Eric Bledsoe on the table for the Clippers. Right now, the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic are taking an interest in Bledsoe.
So while one point guard for the Clippers is sticking around for the next five years, the other one could be heading for an exit in LA.
Now with Chris Paul saying, "I'm in", the question now is, who will he help bring in?