Well, those questions have been answered, and they are not what Clippers fans were hoping for. On Wednesday, Paul opted in, but was traded to the Houston Rockets.
In return, the Rockets will be sending the Clippers Patrick Beverley, forward Sam Dekker, forward Montrezl Harrell, guard Darrun Hilliard, guard DeAndre Liggins, guard Lou Williams, forward Kyle Wiltjer, a future first-round pick, and cash considerations.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski, Paul and James Harden were "determined to play together."
While not much of a haul, adding Beverley and a young prospect like Dekker is better for the Clippers than losing Paul for nothing in free agency. Now, it will be interesting to see what happens with Blake Griffin, as it seems trading Paul would make it less likely he returns, though we'll have to wait and see what he decides to do.
And yes, this does mean Clippers are focused on retaining Blake Griffin in free agency, per league sources.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 28, 2017
As for the Rockets, this is really nothing to give up for one of the league's best point guards, as Beverley becomes much less useful with Paul in town, Dekker had missed a lot of time due to injury, Williams is a replaceable scoring option of the bench and the first-round pick figures to be in the late 20s.