The Chris Paul sweepstakes is indeed under way.
The Los Angeles Clippers point guard, who is not yet technically a free agent but will be, will be near the top of the wish list for several teams this offseason who are looking for ways to catch up with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
There’s now a report about who appear to be the teams most likely to secure the services of the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer.
According to a story by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times about Jerry West joining the Clippers, Paul has plans to meet with the Clippers, along with Western Conference rivals San Antonio, Houston and Denver.
According to HoopsHype, Paul has a player option for one more year with the Clippers at $24.3 million. But given the amount of money will be out there for CP3 from the Clippers and other suitors, it’s a lock that he will decline the option to pursue free agency.
The report says the Clippers have become “nervous” about the expected big push coming from Gregg Popovich and San Antonio, who could team Paul with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge on what would be a formidable roster.
Paul’s decision could come down to several factors, although one thing the Clippers have going for them is money. The team can offer CP3 a contract for $205 million over five years, while other teams can offer $152 million over four years. Given that this will likely be his last contract in mega-dollar territory, it’s something to keep in mind.
CP3 has until June 29 to let the Clippers know about the player option, but here’s a spoiler: He won’t take it.
In fact, as president of the NBA Players Association, Paul was instriumental in working the collective bargaining agreement to ensure the $200 million-plus payday could someday be in the works.
As for the Clippers, Paul’s teammate Blake Griffin is in a similar free agency situation with his own player option for $21.3 million this upcoming season. Griffin is also expected to decline that option and pursue the open market. J.J. Redick is already a free agent, while DeAndre Jordan is under contract for one more season with a player option for 2018-19.
Paul is a 12-year pro and has spent his career with the New Orleans Hornets and Clippers. He has made the All-Star Game nine times and the All-NBA team eight times. Over his career, Paul has averaged 18.7 points and 9.9 assists per game.
But where he might continue his amazing career is a big question mark now.