By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets agreed to the first blockbuster deal of the upcoming free agent period. However, while it’s been agreed upon, it’s going to be several days before the deal is official.
Chris Paul, who said he was opting out of his contract, will now opt-back-in to his deal. He informed the Clippers that he would sign with the Rockets in the summer, so instead of getting something for him, they made this deal.
According to reports, Paul and Harden have been meeting in Los Angeles recently to talk about playing together on the same team.
However, instead of giving up players with value, the Rockets pulled off numerous deals for non-guaranteed, minimum-contract players to help with the salary-matching deal. Several players, who they acquired, were involved in this package.
The Rockets included guards Patrick Beverly — who recently requested a trade away from the team — Lou Williams , Darrun Hilliard, and DeAndre Liggins, along with forwards Montrezl Harrell, Sam Dekker and Kyle Wiltjer. The Clippers are also receiving a 2018 first-round draft pick.
“Since winning back-to-back championships, the pursuit of a third title has remained the ultimate goal for our franchise,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said. “We feel that combining two of the league’s greatest players in James Harden and Chris Paul, operating in coach [Mike] D’Antoni’s system, gives us a championship-caliber team that will compete at the highest level for years to come.
“On behalf of the Rockets organization and our fans, I’d also like to thank Sam, Montrezl, Kyle and Lou for helping make this past season a special one. I’d also like to personally express my deepest gratitude to Pat Beverley, who, for the past five seasons, always left everything he had out on the court.”
Initially, it was thought that this is a sign-and-trade deal. It is, but it’s really a one-year experiment for the time-being. If the Rockets like their reward, then they’ll hope to re-sign Paul to a five-year, $200 million deal in the summer of 2018.
Paul will make $24.2 million this season in the final-year of his deal. Apparently, the Rockets are not done, as they would like to add Carmelo Anthony or Paul George to make it a trio in Houston.
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