The Los Angeles Clippers will trade point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, as first reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Paul was set to become a free agent, and reportedly informed teams he would sign with the Rockets. He then chose to opt in on the final year of his contract (worth $24 million) so that the Clippers could trade him to Houston, in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and L.A.’s minorly protected 2018 first round pick, according to Wojnarowski.
The Rockets made separate deals on Wednesday to acquire Ryan Kelly from the Hawks, DeAndre Liggins from the Mavericks, Tim Quarterman from the Trail Blazers and Darrun Hilliard from the Pistons. According to Wojnarowski, Liggins and Hilliard were then included in the deal with the Clippers. The trade allowed the Rockets to make the money work to where they could access the mid-level exception in free agency by moving over the salary cap.
Paul reduced his trade bonus by around $3 million to make the deal work, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical.
The deal leaves the Clippers’ future further up in the air, with Blake Griffin set to become a free agent. J.J. Redick will also be a free agent, and DeAndre Jordan’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors.
Paul, 32, is a nine-time All-Star and considered one of the best point guards in the league. He will pair with Harden to give Houston one of the league’s top backcourts.
Paul averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists and five rebounds last season. The Clippers acquired him in 2011 days after a trade originally sending him to the Lakers was vetoed. In his six seasons with the Clippers, L.A. went a combined 313–163 (including five straight 50-win seasons after the first was shortened by the 2011 lockout), but never made it past the Western Conference semifinals.