Blog Entry

Clippers still resisting CP3 deal

Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:02 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:02 pm
UPDATED 12:01 p.m. ET

The Clippers were still resisting overtures for a Chris Paul trade Tuesday after the talks were revived for the second time in 24 hours under pressure from the league office to reach a resolution, sources told

Having claimed veteran point guard Chauncey Billups off amnesty waivers as a possible precursor to the deal, the Clippers nonetheless were under no pressure to dive back into the talks. The league office, which is assisting the Hornets in the trade discussions in its role as the de factor owner of the team, already has nixed a trade that would've sent Paul to the Lakers. The Knicks used what few assets and cap maneuverability they had to get free-agent center Tyson Chandler, and Paul has not indicated a willingness to give a long-term commitment as part of a trade to the Golden State Warriors.

"They have no choice" but to make sure Paul is traded to the Clippers, a person on the periphery of the talks said Monday night.

The talks that would never die were revived Monday night, with a twist that was enraging some rival general managers. The Clippers' winning waiver claim on Billups allowed them to include point guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal, which observers believed could push it over the finish line, league sources told

By claiming Billups for about $2 million, the Clippers were able to solve the dilemma of not having another point guard on the roster -- Mo Williams likely slides into the Jason Terry sixth man role, if he isn't included in the trade or waived with amnesty. Thus, L.A. could responsibly include Bledsoe in a blockbuster package for Paul.

The fact that Paul is dictating the terms by limiting the teams he'd agree to stay at least two years with to those that reside in L.A., Clippers GM Neil Olshey has plenty of leverage. So Olshey's resistance to including Bledsoe, sharpshooting guard Eric Gordon and the Timberwolves' unprotected 2012 first-round pick is no longer an issue. The deal, if finally consummated, will be better than what the league was demanding earlier in the day, when the Clippers wisely walked away from the talks.

Nonetheless, the Clippers were signaling to rival teams that they've "moved on" from the Paul saga and already had reached out to Billups in an effort to assure him his status as a leader and intergral part of the team were secure, sources said. Another person tied to the talks said he does not believe the league wants Paul traded out of New Orleans, where prospective owners are being sought to rescue the troubled franchise.

"Seems like a charade to me," the person said.

That set up a fascinating duel of who has the leverage and whether the franchise would be more valuable with or without Paul. In rejecting the three-team trade with the Lakers and Rockets, the league office obviously was saying that the franchise would be better off keeping Paul than trading him for veteran players Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic, plus draft picks. A package from the Clippers including Chris Kaman's expiring $12 million contract, Al-Farouq Aminu, Bledsoe and either Eric Gordon or the Timberwolves' unprotected 2012 first-round pick would seem to allow the Hornets to rebuild with prospects and picks -- which certainly would be preferable to Paul leaving as a free agent after the season with the Hornets getting nothing in return.

Paul's options, however, would be somewhat limited since the major-market teams he prefers are mostly capped out next summer, starting with his preferred destination, the Knicks. Paul would, however, have the option of going to Dallas, or to Brooklyn if Deron Williams opted out and decided to sign with his hometown Mavericks. Both players would have to take one year and about $25 million less than their current teams would be able to offer them under the new collective bargaining agreement.

The Paul negotiations were declared dead earlier Monday, after which Olshey spoke with the Los Angeles media and said, "We felt it was in the best interest of the team to keep this roster intact." But rival executives were circulating this conspiracy theory Monday night: Was it a coincidence that the Clippers were able to get Billups for $2 million when they were negotiating a related trade with the league office, which knew the competing bids?  The salacious banter was perpetuated by the conflict of interest inherent in the NBA's handling of the trade for the Hornets, who were taken over by the league in December 2010. 

A previous deal sending Paul to the Lakers was nixed by the league office in its role as overseer for the Hornets' personnel moves when commissioner David Stern and executives Joel Litvin and Stu Jackson determined that the package of players New Orleans was getting from the Lakers and Rockets wasn't acceptable. While rival GMs saw little problem with a package of Odom, Scola, Martin, Dragic and draft picks, the league wanted younger prospects and draft picks instead -- a package closer to what the Clippers have to offer, which would be more attractive to prospective buyers.

While it was understood that Paul would gladly sign a new five-year, $100 million contract next July with the Lakers if traded there, his commitment to the Clippers would only be for two years. As part of the deal, Paul would not promise to sign a new contract, only that he would not opt out of his current one after the season, sources said. That, and the league's limited options for trade partners, compressed the list of assets the Clippers were willing to give up.

The two-year period would give Paul time to survey the landscape in Clipperland and determine what notoriously penny-pinching owner Donald Sterling would do in two years with an $11 million center (DeAndre Jordan, whose four-year, $43 million offer sheet from Golden State was matched Monday); a 30 percent max player under the new rules in Blake Griffin; a close-to-max player in Gordon, if he stays; and himself. Those are a lot of big bills for the Donald, and Paul would need assurances that the Clippers are going to fully capitalize on their unique position of talent and cap flexibility and stop being second-class citizens to the Lakers at Staples Center.

As for Billups, a proud champion who'd warned teams not to claim him so he could pick his own team as an unrestricted free agent, does it make sense for him to spend perhaps the final year of his career on the Clippers' bench, watching Paul dribble between his legs and throw alley-oop passes to Griffin?

"That is not the league's concern," said a rival executive who is upset about the arrangement.

In finding the Billups solution to getting the Paul deal a chance to be completed, the league also sent a letter to Billups' agent, Andy Miller, warning him that there could be consequences if Billups caused problems for a team that claimed him off waivers, Yahoo Sports reported. Billups was waived with the amnesty provision by the Knicks to create room for a sign-and-trade arrangement that landed free-agent center Tyson Chandler in New York. Billups' $14.2 million salary came off the Knicks' books for cap and tax purposes, and the actual financial obligation to New York is offset by the $2 million that will be paid by the Clippers.

In a cruel double-whammy, Billups would become a pawn in delivering a superstar to a major market for the secod time in 10 months if the Paul-to-Clippers deal went down. In February, Billups was a necessary piece that facilitated the trade of Carmelo Anthony from Denver to the Knicks in another saga in which a star player threatened to bolt as a free agent if he wasn't traded to the team of his choice.

"I'm tired of being viewed as the good guy," Billups told Yahoo Saturday. "After a while, you just kind of get taken advantage of in these situations."

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:45 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

 Stern and the NBA don't want the Lakers to get any more good players??... Wow, are we talking about the same Laker team who had the highest payroll in the NBA for years? They have outspent the competition yearly, now you want everyone to feel sorry for the Lakers? The NBA wants the Hornets to get the best return they can (obviously... they own the Hornets), and the deal with the Clippers gives them exactly that. They get some really good young players, and also a high pick in the draft. Your beef should be with the NBA for owning the Hornets in the first place. This situation has conflict of interest written all over it. 

 So, while I agree that this whole debacle is ridiculous, it's not because it involves the Lakers. And if you are actually convinced that the team with the highest payroll in the NBA (on a yearly basis) is being blackballed by the league you need to seek help. 

Since: Jun 9, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:31 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

<span style="color: black; font-family: arial; font-size: x-small;">David Stern is a joke, unprofesional and he is corrupt. He is getting paid by the other NBA owners not to give the Lakers anything. And now it looks like he won't give the LA Clippers anything. Think of any conspiraccy theory you can think of, but it's obviously happening. 

The Hornets had great players coming to them from the Lakers and Houston and David "Corrupt" Stern doesn't want LA to win any more championships. 

Maybe Michael Jordan doesn't want Kobe to get that 6th ring. Who knows. Maybe he's one of the owners breaking David Stern off some $$. 

David Stern is the next Tim Donaghy. Maybe even better because he wont get caught and he's covering his tracks, and no one is doing anything about it.

I love the NBA. But this is The DSL.  The David Stern League

Since: Sep 23, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:01 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

It is unfortunate a veteran player like Billup's has to uproot his life once again only to be used as a pawn for the current mess that is now the NBA. It would seem only fair that in these circumstances a player could be rewarded financially- my idea is simple- with his amnesty "waive" the Knicks now get cap relief but THEY ALSO GET THE TWO MILLION DOLLAR DISCOUNT WHICH WILL BE PAID BY THE CLIPPERS AS THEIR WINNING BID- I believe the league should consider NOT GIVING A TEAM RELIEF but giving the player the additional two million dollars in this scenario-the Knicks would still get their cap relief but NOT a discount for doing so.

Since: Dec 4, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:50 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

Billups should go to the Spurs. The CP3 deal should just have been approved.

Since: Aug 24, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:26 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

Clippers are getting completely hosed if they include Gordon in the trade. A 22 year old sg that can average 25 ppg plus a top 10 maybe even top 5 pick in the deepest draft in 10 years plus Bledsoe and Aminu and Kaman;s 12 million expiring contract. What a joke to even consider this trade.

Since: Jul 11, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:19 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

The Clippers always manage to make things funny.  Think about this:

If they amnesty Mo Williams, it means they would have traded the number one overall pick in the draft for the ability to use the amnesty clause on a guy.  But wait, what's even better is that they are using the amnesty clause on a guy who they traded for (Williams) to get rid of a guy they could have kept and amnestied anyway (Baron Davis).  And this trade happened in a season where everyone knew an amnesty clause was coming in the next CBA.  If the Clips had just stayed their hand, they would have had:

C  Jordan
F  Griffin
F  Aminu
G  Irving
G  Gordon

with Bledsoe on the bench and Minnesota's #1 pick in the upcoming draft.  That pick will almost certainly be in the top six, which could yield a player like Harrison Barnes or any of the other studs in next year's draft.  Plus they would have a boatload of cap room to sign all their players to extensions when the time comes.

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:23 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

Clips. Need to keep Gordon , he is going to be great with griffin. , they need to walk away since Paul is going to sign for 2 years . If they trade Gordon don't give up their number 1 pick from Minnesota this year it will be a top 5 pick at the very least ...

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:59 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

For the first time in the history of major league sport (excluding WWF and other non- credible organizations), interference by the central office will have influenced the outcome of who will be crowned champion. If the Heat win, a factor will be that the league selectively blocked other franchises who legally and fairly tried to make enough moves to compete. If Dallas wins, there will always be the question " how big an impact the Lamar trade had on the outcome", since it was part of the fallout from the league's move to block a fair and reasonable trade. If Houston or the Lakers don't win, the question will always be "how much better would those teams be if they were allowed to complete a reasonable trade?" Whoever does win, a question that can be asked is how would the result have been different if the league had approved a reasonable schedule instead of 7 games in 9 nights and back to back to backs? Lets see what star gets injured in a state of exhaustion on night 3 of 3 games. And let's watch Stern and his cronies shrug- not admitting their decision making led to the blown knee or ankle.

So like major scandals in the past, there should be an asterik beside the team that wins. Up there with steroids and betting scandals, we now should have the scandal of 2011/ 2012, when the power shift in the league was controlled and manipulated by Dan Gilbert and Howard Stern. Oh his name is not Howard? Sorry I made a mistaken. At least I will admit it.

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:56 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

Clippers are giving up a lot

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:45 am

Billups claim could pave way for CP3 deal

Berger's coverage of the past 6 months of soap opera could not have been any better. Great job!

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